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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo watched a couple of WWII movies this week that I thought well worth a mention.

The first, which ran on TCM, was “Battleground” (1949), about the 101st Airborne pinned down at Bastogne.  I knew I’d seen it before, because I remembered Ricardo Montalban being in it.  However, having watched the “Band of Brothers” series multiple times since then, I’ve a sneaking suspicion that Tom Hanks and his screenwriters have seen it too, as there is much which seems to reappear in the BoB treatment of the siege.  A solid flick.

The second, which I got from Netflix, was “The Train” (1964).  Burt Lancaster is a French railwayman who, along with his Resistance pals, seeks to thwart a Nazi plot to steal a load of French Master paintings and ship them out of Paris by rail just before the Allies move in.  (Funnily, the first paintings shown being fingered by the Krauts were by Gauguin.  My reaction was, “Hey, take ’em.”) I had not seen this film before (although one sequence in which a British Spitfire tries to catch and destroy a locomotive before it can get to a tunnel and hide seems oddly familiar), and had no real expectations one way or the other.  Well, my friends, setting aside the fact that Lancaster didn’t even bother trying to adopt a French accent but instead grunted his lines in good ol’ ‘Murican, I found this film to be terrific.  It’s chock-a-block with intrigue, suspense, and action.  The Nazis are suitably villainous, the French pragmatic, cynical, but patriotic.  The special effects are quite good.  And there’s not a single ounce of superfluous fat in the screenplay.  (Oh, and I read that Lancaster does all his own stunts.)  Highly recommended.

Speaking of Netflix and old movies, I assume you all saw the recent article about the academic who argues Dick Van Dyke’s soot-covered chimney-sweep mug in “Mary Poppins” is somehow raaaaaacist?  It’s complete horse hockey, of course, and I doubt even the academic xerself believes it, but this is a perfect example of the cultural Marxist assault on the Western canon: Make an assertion, however ridiculous or outrageous, and stick to it through force of will until your target crumbles.  I’ve read elsewhere that Netflix itself will succumb (perhaps even willingly) to this assault and destroy its library of DVD classics, leaving its clients with no choice but streaming of politically correct modern claptrap.

In the last year or two, Ol’ Robbo has started collecting DVD copies of movies that have come under the censorial gaze of the modern Committee of Public Safety, including such classicks as “Gone With The Wind”, “Blazing Saddles”, and “Animal House”.  It is arguable that films like these contain material that is antithetical to the current Neo-Jacobin sensibilities (to which Ol’ Robbo would reply, “Fine. Don’t watch them, then.”).  But to attack something as innocent as “Mary Poppins” on completely bogus grounds? That’s escalating the liquidation to an alarming extent.  And I doubt if my wallet is large enough to provide sanctuary for all that many refugees from this kind of purge.

(Nonetheless yes, I’m already preparing a secret hidey-hole in which to store my collection for when the Ogpu come round looking for it. Ssssshhhhh!!!!!)


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February 2019