Thursday, May 4, 2017

May the 4th Origins: The Dam Busters (1955)

Before Rogue One, there was Squadron 617!  Today's Film is The Dam Busters, a 1955 Film that inspired Star Wars.  On the plus side, George Lucas.  Mind you, he hired the Special Effects Photographer to be his Cinematographer, so he'd goddamn better!  The Film tells the real-life tale of British ingenuity that helped take out the Nazis.  That Schindler guy may have rescued some people from the Death Camps, but how many Dams did he blow up?  Zero, that's how many!  All kidding aside, the Film has a number of people in big and small roles that are kind of neat.  Michael Redgrave is our Lead, while Robert Shaw and Patrick McGoohan have small Roles to play.  It also features a Dog with an *interesting* name, but I'll get to that later.  This Film has a 100% Score on Rotten Tomatoes, but you're still waiting for my take on it.  To find out how good this Film is, read on...
An Engineer has a crazy idea for taking out Germany's Dams (necessary for manufacturing FYI)- skipping bombs like a rock on the Lake.
He goes through a lot of manufactured tension to get the resources he needs.  Can he Math his way to victory?
He continues to 'network' his way to get resources during the War.  This apparently didn't happen, but, you know, Movies.
They assemble a Team of Pilots to work on the mostly-secret project.

This is basically the ending part of the original Star Wars Film...if 90+ minutes of it were just about them planning the attack.
As planning and preparation continues, our Hero's dog is killed randomly.  This is from real-life, so no complaints about the random melodrama.

The name of the Dog: N!@@#-r.  No, really.
Cue Star Wars Briefing Scene Comparison.  Also giant maps.
They finally get the bombs to work, so the mission can begin...after lots of character moments.

Fun fact: this footage is blurred (see the awkward black effect), since the bomb designs were still in use in 1955.
The climax of the Film is very, very similar to Star Wars, but not so close that it is directly shot-for-shot.

Mind you, there are certain shot-for-shot comparisons online...but they are not 100%.
In true British fashion, the Film ends AFTER the victorious bombing with about five minutes of 'Well, people died.  Let's be serious.'  The End.
Dam good.  I can immediately go to Hell, I know.  Seriously though, the Film is good.  If you only know recent Films, this one may be too slow for you.  Yes, they do spend 90 minutes building up to the big Scene.  In defense of the Film, the Acting is good, the Writing is good and the Direction is also good.  They manage to slip little bits of humor, drama and suspense throughout.  They play fast and loose with bits of history, but, you know, Movies.  If I'm being honest, some of the Effects are a bit dated, but, you know, 62 years ago.  Star Wars comparisons aside, this is a really good Movie.  If you include the Star Wars comparisons, of course, it is an even bigger part of Pop Culture.  It is good, so go see it.  It passed the British Board of Film Censors, in spite of that Dog being named ABRUPT END OF REVIEW.
Next up, I celebrate Cinco De Maya with a Vampire Film.  Sadly, they don't kill a French Vampire in it...or do they?  Stay tuned...

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