There is a new Faces of ALI profile coming soon! Watch this space 🙂
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.
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.