The Winds of War

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So this blog has been kind of miserable lately. Bitter, cranky and angry. I guess that accurately reflects the feelings of its owner, especially after putting my back out at a bad time, right as Darcy is about to leave for two weeks. I’ve been sick of being stoic and enduring. I have lost readers for the first time since the blog began, and I totally get it: I would much rather be on Pinterest pinning happy photos of pretty stuff than reading this grouchiness. If you are still here, thank you.

So if you’re still here, I’d like to discuss something: The Winds of War miniseries! Netflix recommended I watch it, so I did. It was kind of the Downton Abbey of its day, and the production values are quite stupendous. When the characters talk about going to Siena to watch the Palio, THEY ACTUALLY GO TO SIENA AND WATCH THE PALIO. There’s no pretending that some faux CGI Italian villa in Vancouver is Italy. London is actually London, Berlin is Berlin, etc. This adds a level of authenticity that does help speed along the drama. Which can move a little slowly.

From IMDB:

Herman Wouk’s script ran 962 pages and contained 1785 scenes. It was shot in 267 locations, in six countries and on two continents, and took 34 months to film and 12 more to edit. There were about 50,000 costumes, and Robert Mitchum alone had 112 changes. When the cameras stopped, producer/director Dan Curtis had one million feet (185 hours) of film, which he cut down to 81000 feet. That was about 15 hours of air time (minus commercials).

I’ve always been somewhat fascinated by the time between the Wars: I love movies like the Indiana Jones series, The Mummy (not great cinema, but fun), The English Patient. This miniseries involves mostly Americans caught up in the big events (like the invasion of Warsaw) and involves a real sense of dread: the main female character is Jewish, stuck in Nazi-controlled Europe and is constantly having scary passport problems and run-ins with sinister Gestapo agents. We know many people are moving towards death: either in a concentration camp or on a battlefield. The actors are pretty effective, so I cared a lot about their fates. I kept running down to Darcy and saying: “They still can’t get out of Europe!”

I read the book when I was 14, and until now I didn’t realize what an effect it had on me. I didn’t want to live in London for more than five years (now I see the influence of Aaron Jastrow’s dilemma on that particular desire), I worry all the time about my passport and IDs being current, and my registration and all of that stuff. Now I feel the same way about the kids’ official documents. I don’t take being our being American for granted at all. I take our citizenship very seriously.

The Winds of War obviously puts my minor problems into perspective. Something else that does? Eden Riley’s series about her trip to Niger. Highly recommended.

Bad quality promo of The Winds of War.

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5 Comments

Filed under Fear

5 responses to “The Winds of War

  1. For a lot of us our blogs are a reflection of who we are and what we’re feeling when we’re writing them. Sometimes that may be angry and bitter. I know that it can be hard to read, but at least for me part of what I’ve found so helpful in putting my posts out there is that it challenges me to be honest to both readers and myself. So thank you for sharing your journey in all its ups and downs.

    And thanks for the netflix recommendation. I’ve added it to my queue.

  2. I’m fascinated. Not by the Winds of War, although I’d undoubtedly enjoy that as well, but by the effects on your psychology. So you’re actually frightened to live in Europe? I find that so interesting, because I feel kind of the opposite. Having my passport up to date makes me feel better because it gives me some hope of getting OUT of the USA if that should become necessary. Despite being born here, I find the USA a little scary. I’ve lived in four countries and never felt at all like I would be safer back in the US. More comfortable, yes, but not more secure. think it’s the guns. So interesting to hear about such a different perception.

  3. Hubby and I have discussed moving to his home country, and I have a time limit on that, too. I think it’s partly a safety issue (although I have never felt unsafe when I’ve visited) and partly because it’s so far from my family, who would never be able to visit. We have had passport issues in the past. Nothing that kept us from getting where we wanted to go, but I definitely understand wanting to keep on top of those things!

  4. I LOVED the Winds of War! I remember watching it (inappropriately) as a child and when I was in college, I picked up my mother’s copy and devoured it. I couldn’t finish the sequel though. It wasn’t as good. I remember feeling so frightened for Byron and Natalie being trapped in Europe. As Americans we often feel invincible, and their story taught me to question that.

    As for your recent blog tone, I get that readers may not want to read the downer posts, but it’s your blog and your life. I like blogs that show the warts as well as the rosy parts. Blog on!

  5. L Papet

    Nice to read a blog about Winds of War. I too read the book as a teenager (before entering the US Naval Academy) and have reread both the orginal and sequel (War and Remembrance) since. Movie is truly amazing… as the statistics you provide attests. Made at a time when the TV mini-series was king… those days are long gone, which is a shame since an epic novel (like WOW and WAR) both require this sort of treatment to be done right.
    So… thanks for your comments and I do hope that this miniseries and book will become the sort of classic that helps teach our children and grandchildren about the era and War that dominated the period.

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