Directors who make films of famous people and events in living memory need to be ultra-careful, otherwise some smart alec will enjoy pointing out their goofs.
I was surfing the internet to find who did the astonishing make–up which turned Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour into the spitting image of the double-chinned, irascible
Winston Churchill, when I came across a list of “faults” in the
One was as petty as Churchill’s secretary, Lily James, not holding down the “shift” key on her typewriter before a capital letter, others were examples of historical inaccuracies. Among them was a scene in which Churchill arrived at Buckingham Palace where the Union Flag was flying when it should have been the Royal Standard.
I was pleased to read that a scene in the Tube, in which Londoners tell Churchill they’re ready to fight the Nazis, did take place and had not been dreamt up by director Joe Wright and screen writer Anthony McCarten to show Churchill in a kinder light.
The feisty British Prime Minister was alienating Parliament for refusing to consider peace terms because he believed Hitler would not respect them.
However, his resolve waivered when he heard that the British army was likely to be wiped out at Dunkirk.
Then he took the advice of King George VI to “talk to the people” and the fighting spirit he encountered among commuters on the Tube re-ignited his courage.
Sharp-eyed critics pointed out that the scene was filmed inside a 1959 Tube Stock carriage which never ran between St James’s Park and Westminster as these stations were on the District Line. Someone also noted that Churchill’s conversation with the public lasted five minutes while the train journey takes less than two… but did concede that during wartime, it might have lasted longer.
One intentional anachronism was that Churchill’s “never surrender” speech was given to Parliament at the end of May, 1940 when it was June 4, 1940, after the success of the Dunkirk evacuation.
Darkest Hour ends before the evacuation begins.
That remarkable rescue of 300 000 fighting men was central to last year’s movie Dunkirk, while Gary Oldman’s 2018 Oscar-win- ning performance was for his masterful portrayal of Churchill’s early days as Prime Minister as Nazi Germany swept across West- ern Europe threatening to defeat Britain.
Zero Day Zero
I don’t care a fig how rude politicians are about the decision of the DA to cancel Day Zero, I am delighted that it is not going to happen. Yet we Capetonians still have to carry on with our water-saving habits which are rapidly becoming ingrained in our behaviour.
I was amused to hear about a local couple who finally reached the point when they could, “at the flick of a switch”, turn off their City council supply and run their entire house on underground water.
The wife admits “she went mad”. She rushed around collecting every towel, sheet, curtain and bits of clothing, finding enough to fill three loads of washing. She took long showers, washed her hair with multiple rinses, flushed the loos just for the fun of it and literally splashed out in a big way.
Her husband did his water-wasting bit too, cleaning his car, watering the garden and generally making hay at their independence.
That lasted until Monday morning. Then guess what? Out came their buckets of water to flush the loo and a return to the regime of showering for 90 seconds…
Unpleasant but essential
Probably nobody envisaged that the introduction of fibre optics would lead to the depth of mining of verges that is leaving some homeowners with a sandy waste at their gates where once there had been green, or even drought-stricken brown grass, waiting for the rains to recover.
The teams of workers are making an effort with rakes and brushes
to restore the excavated areas and hats off to them.
But where there were no grass sods that could be lifted out and replaced, it’s not been possible to turn back the clock.
The verges have been left like a stretch of white beach sand in the middle of suburbia and will remain like that until we’ve had enough rain before replanting can even be considered.
Like all unpleasant things, people will get over it. Just think how we moaned when the electricity was switched off while we were in the middle of cooking.
Nowadays we look at the collection of candlesticks and paraffin lamps on top of our kitchen cupboards and wonder what on earth made us put them there.
Three too many stops
In one week Tokai’s Lismore Avenue, a long road leading off Tokai Road and ending at the Cycle Path with its Bridge to Nowhere, has been burdened with three three-way stops all within 400m of each other. It has left residents puzzled about why they were thought necessary as Tokai has many streets where motorists are expected to yield.
Is the example of Lismore Avenue going to be replicated all over the show so that we can’t drive more than 400 metres without a three-way stop?
One of the three could be considered helpful, but three are definitely overkill.
“Life is fraught with possibilities to keep your mouth shut” – Winston Churchill.