Are Movies and Pop Media as Whole really responsible popular for myths about European weapon styles especially swords? Old movies seem to refute it!

EvaWolves

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Last week I watched the very old movie Fire Over England starring the **GODDESS** Vivien Leigh (in fact it was her first major role). The movie takes place during the naval wars between England and Spain. During a ship battle early in the film, a Spanish battleship boards into an English one and a chaotic melee occurs where sailors from both sides are using their swords. I was surprised to see kicks, punches, and wrestling shown on screen and even people shoved off the both into the water.

Later in the movie the protagonist is sent on a secret mission as a spy to Spain as a pretending doublecrosser committing treason but his true allegiance was discovered. While he's being escorted to the palace's prison, out of nowhere he throws a double backfist that hits the palace guards briefly fazed as he begins to flee. He finds a rapier and fends off some soldiers with speed that surprised me (to the level of modern action movie). But what surprised me the most more than anything was the English spy finds a dagger and than fights with dual wielding. He does basic moves like using the dagger to aid in disarming an enemy's rapier and other stuff. I was so mindblown at how some HEMA techniques were shown.


Couple of days ago I watched the 1952 Ivanhoe, the one with one of my fav actresses of all time Elizabeth Taylor. Well I'll just link the castle fight scene which absolutely flabbergasted me because I was not expecting to see anything like it at all.


And thats just one scene. The whole movie is full of stuff that shows varying degree of accurate weapons use like joust scenes and so on.

I also watched the Lester Three Musketers last night, and well I'll just share Youtube vid.


The absolute best part? Yes this scene is intentionally supposed to be comedic and the musketeers are just playing around with the Cardinal's grunts because they really were just having a game! Yet stuff like kneeing, kicking, elbowing, use of cloak and sword as an offense and defense combination, dual wielding, and so much more are used. Just wait till you get to the serious stuff later in the movie and esp n the sequel The Four Musketeers if you chose to watch the whole thing...........

I also rewatched The Lion In the Winter for the first time for five years. After the opening overture, the first scene shows Peter O'Toole as King Henry teaching his youngest how to use a sword. His son manages to overpower him and knock O'Toole to the ground but just as he's throwing the finishing blow........... O'Toole does a scissor legs that knocks his son to the ground! The scene ends with O'Toole praising his son's improvement with a sword. It was followed by a scene shortly afterwards where Anthony Hopkins wins a duel in a jousting match and than goes to a bunch of spearmen marching in solid formation on the beach only to be ambushed by heavy cavalry. They fend off the first charge but out of nowhere another cavalry appears and hits the spearwall from behind which was completely unprotected and the battle is decided. Later on is a fight between knights involving wrestling and it ends by a knife hitting the open weak point of the neck and one knight dying.



But this all reminds me of a question I seen back in 2009 at yahoo answers. The poster was stating his excitement that HEMA was finally being given proper treatment and movies are portraying accurate swordsmanship starting from Kingdom of Heaven and so on to 300 all the way up to the year that question was posted. He was asking if other martial artists are appreciate that movie makers are finally showing accurate fencing and other European sword styles.

However one poster responded that this stuff is nothing new and has been around since as early as the era Talkies began to dominate Hollywood just as The Great Depression was coming out, even pointing out even Silent films do have authentic displays of HEMA from time to time.

Indeed just like the Yahoo Answers poster, cinema and to a much lesser extent TV gets bashed for creating popular myths on European warfare such as battles being fought without organized formation, and being disorganized brawls, European knights in heavy armor being clumsy rigid and slow as they swing their swords with brute strength, European sword systems being simplistic and lacking in complex precise parries and attacks as well as lacking any unarmed moves such as punches and kicks, and so much more.................

But just from four movies, I have to wonder just how much is Hollywood responsible for promoting the myth of undeveloped sword systems and martial arts in Europe and creating the Asian superiority myth?

I mean Fire Over England was released in 1937........ Yet the simple fact disarms are featured as well as knife and rapier dual wielding is shown onscreen already makes doubt the perception that movies created the notion of undeveloped fighting systems in Europe and other myths! And don't even get me commented on Ivanhoe and Michael York's Musketeer movie!

I mean scissor legs to successfully take out an enemy who's gonna bash your face while your knocked on the ground with his sword? In a 1960s movie taking place in Medieval France? As well as distracting a formation squareblock of spearmen armed with shield in a wall of pokey objects and metal rectangles with a cavalry charge so you can hit their unprotected flanks with another surprise cavalry attack from an unseen angle?!!!!!!

If anything I'm really confused about how various HEMA online communities and even regular martial arts forums like this one complain all the time about lack of accurate European swordsmanship in mass media esp cinema? Its all been done before-I forgot to add one more example where in n old movie about 50s Hannibal, slaves were wrestling during a feast and out of nowhere one of them starts throwing a Spartan kick to the abdomen................ 50 years before 300 showed Leonidas kicking down the Persian diplomat down the well thus coining the term "Spartan Kick".......... And while we are at it, Hannibal fights a duel and while knocked to the ground he does a BJJ move where he moves his foot against the enemies ankle, does initiating a sweep that knocks his opponent to the ground and he wins despite being knocked on his back...........

We don't even have to leave it to cinema-in Charmed Cole Turner (a European demon 100 years old) spars with Phobee and he uses European longswod while Phoebe uses a Jian. Cole does HEMA attacks and then follows his blocked and missed sword swings with a Spartan kick. In the Soulcalibur games, various styles are shown from across the world and there is a German knight Siegfried who uses techniques literally taken out from Kampfringen manuals. There are just too many examples I can think off before the 2000s.

So I'd have to ask where John Clements and other famed people in HEMA who always make complaints get this perception.. Accurate American Civil War saber dueling was shown as early as the decade of Gone With the Wind, budget European movies (esp French and Italian) starring Jean Sorel and other European actors during the Silver Age have shown soldiers moving in plate armor without much difficulty, and accurate rapier and similar swords predate cinema and is a standard part of Shakespearean theater (and still is taught today in the UK for duels on Stage in Romeo and Juliet, etc). Why does Hollywood and mass entertainment get the bash considering Excalibur accurately shows just how protective plate armor is and the old Errol Flynn Robin Hood moves shows Robin and Sheriff fighting at extremely fast speed at the level of typical Kung Fu and Samurai movies?




It really makes me question the blame the movie and TV industry gets? Why did this scapegoating come to be?
 

jobo

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Last week I watched the very old movie Fire Over England starring the **GODDESS** Vivien Leigh (in fact it was her first major role). The movie takes place during the naval wars between England and Spain. During a ship battle early in the film, a Spanish battleship boards into an English one and a chaotic melee occurs where sailors from both sides are using their swords. I was surprised to see kicks, punches, and wrestling shown on screen and even people shoved off the both into the water.

Later in the movie the protagonist is sent on a secret mission as a spy to Spain as a pretending doublecrosser committing treason but his true allegiance was discovered. While he's being escorted to the palace's prison, out of nowhere he throws a double backfist that hits the palace guards briefly fazed as he begins to flee. He finds a rapier and fends off some soldiers with speed that surprised me (to the level of modern action movie). But what surprised me the most more than anything was the English spy finds a dagger and than fights with dual wielding. He does basic moves like using the dagger to aid in disarming an enemy's rapier and other stuff. I was so mindblown at how some HEMA techniques were shown.


Couple of days ago I watched the 1952 Ivanhoe, the one with one of my fav actresses of all time Elizabeth Taylor. Well I'll just link the castle fight scene which absolutely flabbergasted me because I was not expecting to see anything like it at all.


And thats just one scene. The whole movie is full of stuff that shows varying degree of accurate weapons use like joust scenes and so on.

I also watched the Lester Three Musketers last night, and well I'll just share Youtube vid.


The absolute best part? Yes this scene is intentionally supposed to be comedic and the musketeers are just playing around with the Cardinal's grunts because they really were just having a game! Yet stuff like kneeing, kicking, elbowing, use of cloak and sword as an offense and defense combination, dual wielding, and so much more are used. Just wait till you get to the serious stuff later in the movie and esp n the sequel The Four Musketeers if you chose to watch the whole thing...........

I also rewatched The Lion In the Winter for the first time for five years. After the opening overture, the first scene shows Peter O'Toole as King Henry teaching his youngest how to use a sword. His son manages to overpower him and knock O'Toole to the ground but just as he's throwing the finishing blow........... O'Toole does a scissor legs that knocks his son to the ground! The scene ends with O'Toole praising his son's improvement with a sword. It was followed by a scene shortly afterwards where Anthony Hopkins wins a duel in a jousting match and than goes to a bunch of spearmen marching in solid formation on the beach only to be ambushed by heavy cavalry. They fend off the first charge but out of nowhere another cavalry appears and hits the spearwall from behind which was completely unprotected and the battle is decided. Later on is a fight between knights involving wrestling and it ends by a knife hitting the open weak point of the neck and one knight dying.



But this all reminds me of a question I seen back in 2009 at yahoo answers. The poster was stating his excitement that HEMA was finally being given proper treatment and movies are portraying accurate swordsmanship starting from Kingdom of Heaven and so on to 300 all the way up to the year that question was posted. He was asking if other martial artists are appreciate that movie makers are finally showing accurate fencing and other European sword styles.

However one poster responded that this stuff is nothing new and has been around since as early as the era Talkies began to dominate Hollywood just as The Great Depression was coming out, even pointing out even Silent films do have authentic displays of HEMA from time to time.

Indeed just like the Yahoo Answers poster, cinema and to a much lesser extent TV gets bashed for creating popular myths on European warfare such as battles being fought without organized formation, and being disorganized brawls, European knights in heavy armor being clumsy rigid and slow as they swing their swords with brute strength, European sword systems being simplistic and lacking in complex precise parries and attacks as well as lacking any unarmed moves such as punches and kicks, and so much more.................

But just from four movies, I have to wonder just how much is Hollywood responsible for promoting the myth of undeveloped sword systems and martial arts in Europe and creating the Asian superiority myth?

I mean Fire Over England was released in 1937........ Yet the simple fact disarms are featured as well as knife and rapier dual wielding is shown onscreen already makes doubt the perception that movies created the notion of undeveloped fighting systems in Europe and other myths! And don't even get me commented on Ivanhoe and Michael York's Musketeer movie!

I mean scissor legs to successfully take out an enemy who's gonna bash your face while your knocked on the ground with his sword? In a 1960s movie taking place in Medieval France? As well as distracting a formation squareblock of spearmen armed with shield in a wall of pokey objects and metal rectangles with a cavalry charge so you can hit their unprotected flanks with another surprise cavalry attack from an unseen angle?!!!!!!

If anything I'm really confused about how various HEMA online communities and even regular martial arts forums like this one complain all the time about lack of accurate European swordsmanship in mass media esp cinema? Its all been done before-I forgot to add one more example where in n old movie about 50s Hannibal, slaves were wrestling during a feast and out of nowhere one of them starts throwing a Spartan kick to the abdomen................ 50 years before 300 showed Leonidas kicking down the Persian diplomat down the well thus coining the term "Spartan Kick".......... And while we are at it, Hannibal fights a duel and while knocked to the ground he does a BJJ move where he moves his foot against the enemies ankle, does initiating a sweep that knocks his opponent to the ground and he wins despite being knocked on his back...........

We don't even have to leave it to cinema-in Charmed Cole Turner (a European demon 100 years old) spars with Phobee and he uses European longswod while Phoebe uses a Jian. Cole does HEMA attacks and then follows his blocked and missed sword swings with a Spartan kick. In the Soulcalibur games, various styles are shown from across the world and there is a German knight Siegfried who uses techniques literally taken out from Kampfringen manuals. There are just too many examples I can think off before the 2000s.

So I'd have to ask where John Clements and other famed people in HEMA who always make complaints get this perception.. Accurate American Civil War saber dueling was shown as early as the decade of Gone With the Wind, budget European movies (esp French and Italian) starring Jean Sorel and other European actors during the Silver Age have shown soldiers moving in plate armor without much difficulty, and accurate rapier and similar swords predate cinema and is a standard part of Shakespearean theater (and still is taught today in the UK for duels on Stage in Romeo and Juliet, etc). Why does Hollywood and mass entertainment get the bash considering Excalibur accurately shows just how protective plate armor is and the old Errol Flynn Robin Hood moves shows Robin and Sheriff fighting at extremely fast speed at the level of typical Kung Fu and Samurai movies?




It really makes me question the blame the movie and TV industry gets? Why did this scapegoating come to be?
Hollywood is responsible for just about everyone's complete misunderstanding of history
 
OP
E

EvaWolves

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no, would i have a different view if i had
It proves what Hollywood isn't responsible for bad European swordsmanship and f anything Hollywood has been advocating accurate fencing( or at least portrayals of using European swords that is not clumsy and slow but full of finesse and skilled attacks and defenses).
 

Buka

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Eva, Id love to discuss anything to do with movies or Martial Arts with you, but it would have to be in shorter chunks.

But the fact that you mentioned Vivian Leigh and Lizzie Taylor in the same post would have made my mom adore you, if she were still alive today.

As for the realism in films..if thats what the main point of your post is, in any era it would primarily depend on The Studio first, the budget second, the Director third, the Second Unit people next, and who they had for technical Advisor in the filming of fight scenes or battle scenes. And then - how well they could train the actors to do what was needed and still keep it fairly safe.

Unless a film is a documentary, realism isnt as important as we, the audience, may want it to be. But todays audience is far, far more sophisticated/knowledged than the audiences of fifty years ago.
 

lklawson

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So I'd have to ask where John Clements and other famed people in HEMA who always make complaints get this perception.
Do they? I mean, the seems to come up from time to time, but I don't seem to recall it being a common complaint. There are a lot of folks who speak wistfully about the fencing in such classics as the 1940 Tyrone Power "The Mark of Zoro." Though many are quick to point out inaccuracies, such as my English friend "Oz" who was complaining about a Sir Laurence Olivier scene where he, as "knight," was being winched onto his horse (it wasn't Olivier's fault, it was Sam Clements). He also, quite rightly, complained about a great deal of misinformation in the official British exhibits that he visits.

I think, perhaps, there was a problem stemming from the 60's and 80's where the new hottness in Hollywood was Asian martial arts, particularly "Kung Fu" and "Ninjitsu," but if you remember the era, you remember everything from Chuck Norris flicks through "Black Belt Jones." The Shaw Brothers movies were playing on nazi-repeat late-night theater cable channels on the weekends and "American Ninja" was a smoke'n hot property in the '85. Even Barney Fife on 1964's "The Andy Griffith Show" practiced Judo. Heck, we were even treated to such classics as <cough> "Gymkata."

To many, this heavy emphasis on Asian martial arts, which I believe was born out of WWII, elevated Asian martial arts at the expense of European martial arts. And so, yes, there were some real stinkers showing piss-poor Western martial traditions. But there continued to be good ones too.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

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