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"Dambusters" to be remade...

This is where you can discuss your homework, family, just about anything, make strange sounds and otherwise discuss things which are really not related to the Lancer-series. Yes that means you can discuss other games.

Post Mon Sep 24, 2007 2:16 pm

"Dambusters" to be remade...

slightly old news now, but no-one's mentioned it on TLR afaik.

The iconic British war film, The Dambusters, is to be remade by Peter Jackson of LOTR fame. Jackson has promised that he'll try to remain as close to the spirit of the original as possible, building full-size Avro Lancaster replicas (quite a prospect in itself, because Lancasters are big) and even filming the ground scenes around RAF Scampton, home to 617 Squadron. There is still a Lancaster flying, part of the RAF Memorial Flight, but with modern cgi it probably won't be needed.

There were rumours of another Dambusters remake, because Mel Gibson held the rights, but gave them up to Jackson. I have a fair degree of confidence that Jackson will do a good job, and he'd better, because the Dambusters story (and the 1954 film) are very close to our collective hearts her in Britannia, and no-one wants to see another galling U-571 or Pearl Harbour, in both of which historical accuracy was thrown to the four winds. U-571 particularly so as there weren't any Americans involved in that operation whatsoever.

I doubt that the wonderful Eric Coates score will be used though, and to pre-empt the politically-correct brigade, Wg Cdr Guy Gibson's dog has been renamed as "Trigger" <boo!> Once again we see fact giving way to convenience, regardless of context. However it may possibly be enlightening to see a deeper portrayal of Gibson's character, for despite the excellent stiff upper lip portrayal of the raid's commander by that wonderful British actor Richard Todd, he was apparently not a very nice man at all. But then I doubt that Victoria Crosses are handed out to very nice men, as a rule.

I dread to think what a Mel Gibson version might have been like - probably brave lantern-jawed Americans in B-17s bombing some vaguely European rent-a-nasties led by a sneering Alan Rickman. Stephen Fry is writing the script of the Jackson production, which does fill me with confidence that there will be no undue American influences. It will be quite heartening to have a modern production of a famous WWII story in which the British role is accurately portrayed and we aren't relegated to being picturesque board and lodging for flippin' Yanks.

anyhoo, some linkies..


Post Mon Sep 24, 2007 2:25 pm

More interested hearing Stephen Fry writing the script than anything else out of that lot.

Could be interesting, had heard nowt about it - so cheers

Post Tue Sep 25, 2007 1:26 am

the scuttlebutt has been around for a couple of years now, but I must confess that I only heard of it myself a few weeks ago, thanks to The Register. I was rather horrified when I first read it, because The Dambusters is not a film that one readily accepts as a candidate for a modern remake, due to its' aforementioned iconic status and firm cultural anchoring in the immediate post-War era.

I do hope Jackson takes for his inspiration the classic style of big-budget war films, such as The Longest Day or A Bridge Too Far, rather than the mawkish sentimentality that ruined Saving Private Ryan or the ethnocentric marring of A Band Of Brothers (ok a series rather than a film but modern examples are a bit thin on the ground.) The Dambusters story should not be a manipulative tearj erker about innocent young men sent to be mangled by enemy guns, but an heroic tale of British pluck, derring-do and ingenuity, because that's how it was perceived by the British public at the time in 1943 and continues to be considered today.

Lancasters in action again - without a doubt the finest bomber of the War, and arguably the best ever built. Fast, incredibly tough, and capable of carrying a huge bomb-load quite out of proportion to it's own weight, thanks to the four wonderful Rolls-Royce Merlin engines, the "Lanc" was highly versatile, served in all theatres in a variety of roles, and carried all sorts of weird and wonderful experimental weapons and equipment. It would have been quite capable of carrying the atomic bomb if required. The B-17 by comparison, although quite as fast and with a higher service ceiling, carried a piddly bomb load by comparison; the B-24 couldn't match it's speed, and the B-29 was vastly larger to carry a similar load - although to be fair, the B-29 was expected to operate over much longer ranges.

As a young Mullah one of my neighbours was an ex-Avro engineer who'd worked with Roy Chadwick on the advanced Manchester-based design which eventually became the Lancaster - fascinating chap, even had some of the original drawings, proper old fashioned "blueprints" too. Hard to believe in retrospect that the Air Ministry originally pooh-poohed the Lancaster, making Chadwick do most of the work in his spare time! Quite how we'd have mounted a mass-bombing campaign against Germany with Halifaxes and Stirlings as our main bombers I'm not at all sure.

As a testimony to the basic airworthiness of the design, Lancaster derivatives remained flying in military and civilian roles for decades afater the War - the last Avro Shackleton being retired from service in 1992. Ah, for a return to those days when everything British was best and we led the world with innovative designs, and such names as A.V. Roe, Handley-Page, de Havilland, Shorts, Fairey, Blackburn, Hawker, Vickers-Supermarine, Armstrong-Whitley. It almost makes me weep to see what we've been reduced to - co-operative ventures with foreigners where we get to supply the stuffing for the seat cushions and the co-pilot's wristwatch strap.

Bah, I've put myself in such a bad mood now that I'm off to BBC "Have Your Say" to moan about hoodies and the lack of policemen on the beat...

..but a little bit of Dambusters goodness for children who've never seen it (or presumably even heard of it, kids today eh? tsk tsk tsk...)

Edited by - Tawakalna on 9/25/2007 3:53:30 AM

Post Tue Sep 25, 2007 3:16 am

From what I understand, there were quite a few things that weren't taken seriously or believed to be econimical by the Gov during the war, and the reason we did so well was because people weren't dissuaded, but continued to work on their ideas until they could physically prove their worth.

The main power behind cracking codes, indeed, a major part of winning the war because of cracked codes had a similiar story behind it.

Post Tue Sep 25, 2007 5:30 am

"So much of it was still secret," said Jackson. "They weren't even allowed to show the bomb itself and had to create a fictionalised bomb."

You mean that round bouncing ping pong ball thingy isn't what the bombs looked like?

Post Tue Sep 25, 2007 5:59 am

<harumph> there were two types of "bouncing bomb" - the spherical model that you allude to was known as "Highball" and was designed to attack heavily-defended enemy surface vessels, such as the Tirpitz which was indeed eventually crippled by a Barnes-Wallis' designed weapon, the Tallboy 12,000lb penetration bomb, but not any of the bouncing bombs. "Highball" bombs being much smaller were carried by that superlative fighter/bomber, the de Havilland Mosquito, also known as the "Wooden Wonder." <ah, de Havilland...> and were intended for use in the Pacific, but the war ended before they could be used, afaik. The heavy losses of the Dambusters' raid caused the Air Ministry to cancel the Upkeep project.

The bouncing bomb used in the Operation Chastiseraid on the Ruhr dams was codenamed "Upkeep" and was essentially a very large barrel full of high-explosives. I seen about four of the surviving unused ones, and stood next to one once, and it was huge! The films and documentaries don't really give you any idea of the scale of the thing. Strictly speaking, it's not a "bomb" at all, rather a mine crossed with a depth-charge. Incredible thing.

Because of Britain's 30-Year rule on official secrets, the 1954 film had to invent a bomb while keeping to the established principles of the bomb and the history of the raid. So no, it didn't actually look like that. Also kept secret were the analogue computers used to design the thing, and the actual specialised bombsights used; the 1954 films portrays a Heath Robinson style affair with a couple of wooden sticks and some pegs, but this was a complete fiction.

Further to Chips' observation, there were quite a few wartime ideas apart from the bouncing bomb that originally fell foul of Govt. disapproval or were passed over altogether. Before the War, both the Spitfire project and radar were only saved by privately-funded intervention until the Govt. saw the advanatages in these projects, and you may recall the famous "Cockleshell Heroes" raid on German shipping in Bordeaux, by Royal Marines in canoes? Dismissed by the authorities until Lord Mountbatten personally backed the plan. Whittle's jet engine project similarly was almost completely overlooked until the Air Ministry realised that the Germans were well-advanced on their own jet fighter plans, spurring development of what was to eventually become the Gloster Meteor, but too late for it to have any service of significance. Even the atomic project only gained impetus because the Allies believed that the Germans were way ahead of them in nuclear technology - in fact, the Germans had largely abandoned atomic research in favour of rockets and jets (largely because Werner Heisenberg got his calculations wrong, making an atomic bomb apparently unfeasible.)

Edited by - Tawakalna on 9/25/2007 7:48:07 AM

Post Tue Sep 25, 2007 3:20 pm

Best peice of news i've heard all week, Peter Jackson rarely puts a foot wrong so I have every faith in his direction.

One of the unused bombs is at Duxford museum. I've got a picture floating around of it when I was there in 99. If I can find it i'll scan it and upload it for y'all. As Taw said, it's like a big barrell, about twice - three times the size of a 44 gallon drum. It kinda looks like a giant rusty tin of baked beans.

EDIT: Either that or I could just find one in google images

Edited by - mustang on 9/25/2007 5:16:14 PM

Post Tue Sep 25, 2007 4:54 pm

That looks like a depth Charge.

Post Tue Sep 25, 2007 5:11 pm

nope, you can see the swivel/roller bearing points and a hole for a crank to spin the drum up - although it could easily be a depth charge too

p.s. braveheart was pretty horrible, but at least it had spurting splashing oozing wounds and lots of dismemberment. saving private ryan's steven spielberg apparently believes that Germans are full of dust. u571 is not even worth mention, imo

Post Tue Sep 25, 2007 8:47 pm

@Taw- For the Tirpitz you're forgetting the previous heroic (although not so successful) "X-Boat" mini-submarine raid (great book out on that somewhere) that was quite a tale.

Post Tue Sep 25, 2007 8:55 pm

I remember watching "Dambusters" when I was very young somewhere in my preteens. I loved it.
I also remember watching documentaries on the History Channel about them and that brought back memories.
I look forward to seeing what will be done with this "remake"...especially if it keeps the story accurate.

Particularly, I prefer watching historically accurate films. They can be much more intense and meaningful since they depict actual events.

Edited by - Rankor on 9/25/2007 10:00:21 PM

Post Tue Sep 25, 2007 11:26 pm

I most certainly have not forgotten the X-craft! In fact i wrote a story for our local rag about them when I was 9, frakkin' ace it was. The history of the German surface fleet has always fascinated me.

I liked "Cockleshell Heroes" and "In Which We Serve" the best, and "The Wooden Horse" but that was because I always wondered how the Germans failed to catch Leo Genn when all they had to do was follow the smell of his pipe, walking around Nazi Germany puffing away.

Edited by - Tawakalna on 9/27/2007 6:09:57 AM

Post Thu Sep 27, 2007 3:43 pm

ah, the de havilland mosquito. a plane truly dear to my heart.

when i was 7 or 8 i BUILT a wooden model of one with my friend and his dad (who was an authority on all things British {Ex-Colonial i reckon})

Edited by - Aod2 on 9/27/2007 4:49:02 PM

Post Fri Sep 28, 2007 2:42 am

wouldn't a wooden model of a Mosquito have been a miniature Mosquito, seeing as the original was made of wood?

Post Fri Sep 28, 2007 8:01 am

yes, but mine didn't have engines. (or canons, for that matter)

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