Yanks

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by jamesicus, Jun 13, 2005.

  1. jamesicus

    jamesicus Senior Member

    YANKS the film:

    Along with "Hope and Glory" this is my favorite WW2 British Home Front film. The dramatic episodes in the film are often typically romanticized and sometimes a little far fetched -- but that is the case with most movie fare. Overall I think it is an excellent film and the acting across the board is of very high quality.

    This film resonates for me -- the daughter of one of our neighbors on Rossetti avenue in Burnley had a very similar romance with an American GI (and ended up marrying him) -- We (my mother and father and I) went to the wedding. I was born and grew up in Lancashire during WW2 (the setting for this film) -- Richard Gere's character is from Tucson, Arizona (where I now live).

    There are numerous authentic touches or redeeming features in this film:

    *Gere's character is a Mess Sgt (cook) not the usual combat infantryman!

    *In the Cinema scenes there is an authentic Concert Organ and audience sing-along (we typically sang the same songs as in the movie) --- I've got sixpence, jolly, jolly, sixpence -- I've got sixpence to last me all my life -- I've got tuppance to spend and tuppance to lend and tuppance to send home to my wife! .......... The stars at night, are big and bright -- deep in the heart of Texas .......... Run rabbit, run rabbit, run, run, run (Run Adolph, run Adolph, run, run, run) .......... There' ll always be an England, and England shall be free ..........

    Smoking cigarettes in cinemas was permitted and prevalent in those days.

    The poster for the film "Song of the Islands" starring Jackie Oakie in the lobby -- I remember seeing that film.

    *Fish & Chip shop scene: ordering "fish and chips two times" "fish and chips four times" -- wrapping them up and eating them out of old newspapers.

    *Walking in the blackout scenes: realistically very dark -- use of subdued flashlights.

    *Older men wearing woolen flat caps.

    *Stalwart Lancasire housewives nicely depicted.

    *Concert in the church -- very popular in the war years -- profusion of bicycles laying on their sides on the entry pathway (we used to do that).

    *Pub scenes: well done and most authentic for those days -- nice depiction of Publican -- prominence of dart game -- bitterness and frustration of British father toward American servicemen due to the death of his son in action.

    *Railway station scenes -- authentic looking and sounding -- correct maroon LMS 3rd class 57 ft. railway carriages.

    *Scenes showing the moors -- nice sweeping views -- typical moorland reservoir -- stone walls -- sheep (my wife, Beverly -- who was born and grew up in Ohio -- was amazed by the vast numbers of sheep on the Lancashire moors during her first visit).

    *The double-decker bus: subdued blackout lighting -- two bell ring signals to start, one to stop.

    *Grocers shop: authentic use of ration books -- queuing up for oranges.

    *Lancashire dialect: fairly authentic -- especially by supporting actors who are mostly suitably "broad" -- phonetic examples: "all reet, lad", "doin champion", "riding two 'orses with one arse", "pretty soon tha'll be coughing thi guts up wit rest on us", "bugger off t' weer thi bloody come from", "what the bloody 'ells goin on", "ey up".

    *Diamond pattern bomb blast tape on windows.

    *School kids wearing uniforms -- caps and blazers for boys -- sashed skirts and brimmed hats for girls.

    *Young child in street eating a "jam butty".

    *Great Big Band music (and jitterbugging) in dance hall scenes: "I'll be seeing you", "aye, aye, aye, aye, aye, I like you very much" (Carmen Miranda),"String of pearls"", "Argentina", "Elmers tune", "Tuxedo junction", "Don't sit under the apple tree" -- and at wedding celebration: "Hands, knees and bumpsy daisy", "Hokey pokey" (you put your left foot out .....) -- women dancing with each other.

    *Racial confrontation/incident at dance hall: black soldiers dancing with white girls -- I only witnessed one such incident (although there were others) but it involved West Indies servicemen instead of black GIs.

    *The Yank build-up for D-Day -- the proliferation of vehicles and supplies -- GIs throwing candy and gum to local kids.

    Authenticity shortcomings and problems:

    *No air raid sirens -- although air raids were pretty well over by late 1943 in Lancashire, siren alerts were still fairly common.

    *Bobbies not carrying gas masks and tin hats -- most Policemen carried them througout the war. Example:

    [​IMG]

    *GIs embarking trains for D-Day deployment do not have correct helmet identification markings. Example:

    [​IMG]

    *I thought ending the film with "I'll be seeing you" was a nice touch but I wish they would have used a Vera Lynn recording instead of Anne Shelton.

    All in all, IMO, an excellent and authentic movie.

    I think if you see this movie and "Hope & Glory" you will have an accurate understanding of what life on the British home front was like in WW2.
     
  2. jamesicus

    jamesicus Senior Member

    My hometown of Burnley had a pre-war population of close to 100,000 and the only people of color living there were the Martindales -- Mr. Martindale, his wife, two sons and two daughters who were from the West Indies.

    "Manny" Martindale was the Professional for Burnley CC -- a test cricket fast bowler. It so happened that the Martindale family lived three doors away from my Pickering grandparents on Creswick avenue and I used to play with the boys at their house -- and also in informal (unorganized) cricket matches. The oldest boy, Fred, was one year younger than me and we attended the same school . The youngest, Colin, was two years younger than me -- they were both excellent cricketers.

    I think the same very small number of people of color existed in the great majority of Lancashire Industrial towns before the War. One other nearby notable citizen of the West Indies was Mr. Learie Constantine, the internationally famous all-rounder cricket professional for Nelson, the town adjacent to Burnley. Mr. Constantine was not only the premier player in the pre-war Lancashire Cricket League, he was also a respected advocate for civil rights for minorities in general and a tireless worker in making sure West Indies servicemen in WW2 Britain were well received and cared for.
     
  3. jamesicus

    jamesicus Senior Member

    Afterthought:

    I wrote:

    ..... Lancashire dialect: fairly authentic -- especially by supporting actors who are mostly suitably "broad" .....

    Of course, the "non-Lanky" actors couldn't be expected to mouth the true rich "broad Lanky" dialect and idioms -- neither could the Lancashire born actors, for then the vast majority of the audience wouldn't be able to understand some of the dialog. My Ohio born wife, Beverly, still has a hard time understanding my family and friends when we visit Burnley -- especially when they slip into "old broad Lanky" after a few drinks in the Pub!
     

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