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BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews

Desert Dancer 19 Nov 03 - 02:52 PM
GUEST,MMario 19 Nov 03 - 03:04 PM
Amos 19 Nov 03 - 03:07 PM
Alaska Mike 19 Nov 03 - 03:19 PM
MAG 19 Nov 03 - 03:20 PM
GUEST,Nancy King at work 19 Nov 03 - 03:38 PM
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Dani 19 Nov 03 - 04:28 PM
EBarnacle 19 Nov 03 - 06:35 PM
Lonesome EJ 19 Nov 03 - 08:44 PM
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EBarnacle 20 Nov 03 - 02:32 AM
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Subject: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 02:52 PM

Well, I can't believe five days have passed since the movie opened and nobody else has posted, so I guess I'll have to start it off.

The boys (hubby and 8-year-old son) and I had a fine time at the movie. I'm the one who's read the books, the others just keep hearing about them. I went in expecting to be reasonably entertained but to be disappointed with the Doctor's portrayal (given some others' previews and reviews), and I was pleasantly surprised. I'd say it was a good time all-round.

The only really bad review I've seen was in the Sunday 11/16 New York Times, by a reader who had lots of quibbles about emphasis on the wrong details and the historical improbability of the alternative plot that was devised for the movie. (The Times had a good review from someone else on Friday, as it happens.) I think that guy went in with expectations way to high. I went in assuming that the movie could never do justice to the depth of the books (they're just WAY too dense with detail), and came out feeling that they'd given it a good gloss, given the inherent limitations of the movie form.

So... what say you all?

~ Becky in Tucson

For future searchers purposes:
Master and Commander - the Far Side of the World
Patrick O'Brian


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 03:04 PM

I'm about 1/2 way through my first O'Brian book - 'The Yellow Admiral' - and enjoying it. I expect I may get around to the movie in 2006 or so....


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Amos
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 03:07 PM

I am anticipating it with high enthusiasm, just for the FX.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Alaska Mike
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 03:19 PM

I saw the movie Saturday and was very pleased with it. Good action, good special effects and a decent plot line. The acting was believable and period costumes seemed authentic. All in all, a very enjoyable afternoon at the flicks.

Mike


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: MAG
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 03:20 PM

Peter WEir said on NPR that the movie was not intended to glorify war. It is a well-made, brilliantly cted movie -- which proceeds to glorify the English navy.

And we know what the Irish thought of Lord Nelson, after he dissed his birthplace.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST,Nancy King at work
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 03:38 PM

MMario --

If you like the one you're reading now, go back and start at the beginning of the series with "Master and Commander" and read 'em in order. They really do build on one another. I listened to them all on tape, in order, and have now started back at the beginning reading the books. Great!

Cheers, Nancy

P.S. From what I hear, the movie has not much to do with the plots of the books, so you might as well go and see it now! I plan to see it this weekend.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 04:17 PM

Oh, yes, MMario, definitely read them in order.

In one review of the movie on public radio there was a complaint that, like watching an episode of Star Trek, you are never in doubt that the good guys will win. (Actually, the parallels between the Star Trek series and Aubrey/Maturin would make an interesting analysis...) In contrast, what you find in the books is that, though you know Aubrey and Maturin will survive, you're never sure if "the barky" (ship) will, or wether they'll ever reach their intended destination, or accomplish what they set out to do, or even if so, whether the folks back home will appreciate it the way they should or throw them in jail instead. Many times the plot twist is in the last pages, sometimes it's at the beginning of the next book... definitely keeps you hooked.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Dani
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 04:28 PM

I loved it. Have been trying to talk my husband into reading them, and after seeing it, he just might!

Some of my favorite lines were in there, dialogue that I had thoroughly enjoyed in Master and Commander.

What I thought was especially terrific was the portrayal of the friendship between two such different men. That's a favorite part of the stories, to me, and it really came across in the film.

Jack Aubrey seemed about as difficult to pigeon-hole as he is in the stories: a good, ambitious, flawed, interesting, well-meaning, sensitive man.

Dani


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: EBarnacle
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 06:35 PM

One quibble: As a Master and Commander, Aubrey would not have been entitled to 2 epaulettes. The sequence was: Master and Commander, 1 epaulette, left shoulder; Captain of less than 3 years seniority, 1 epaulette, right shoulder; Captain of more than 3 years seniority 2 epaulettes.

Besides which, a master and commander would not have been appointed to command a frigate, which was designated as a rated vessel (6th rate). Those were for captains. In the event of a really successful action, the first lieutenant of the vessels involved might have been elevated directly to Captain. This was considered a mark of approval of the captain's behavior.

In the first book of the series, Jack Aubrey, an unemployed Lieutenant, is appointed Master and Commander of the Sloop Sophie. The next book has him rated Captain. Especially in foreign stations, appointment as master and commander was a sign of preferment and generally resulted in elevation to captain within a year or two.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 08:44 PM

I've always enjoyed an adventure yarn, especially one that takes place on the high seas. This is even better than that, with well crafted characters, grit, and excellent action sequences. It's the kind of movie that should show up action-drivel like the latest Matrix movie for what it is. I sincerely hope for more in this series, especially if they can get Crowe to re-enlist.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Naemanson
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 09:03 PM

Was the Surprise the frigate in the film? Remember that they had to take special action in the books to rate her as a frigate and give her to Aubrey as a captain. If I remember right he was happy to get her because of financial or marital troubles at home.

It will be a while till I can see the movie. I am in Oz for then next ten days. I hope it's still playing in Guam when I get home.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: artbrooks
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 09:50 PM

Jenn and I saw it last week and were very pleased. We have both read all of the books two or three times, and were satisfied with the treatment the movie gives them. She identifies more with Stephen Matcherin, the studious Irish revolutionary, who would have been a Communist if they had been invented yet, while I am more the Jack Aubrey fan...you know, the portly guy who enjoys his port?

For those who are purists, this movie is not a direct adaptation of the first book (or maybe only loosely). It has elements from at least 3 or 4...it's subtitled "The Far Side of the World" (#10), and owes at least as much to that one, by which time he is certainly a Post Captain.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: EBarnacle
Date: 20 Nov 03 - 02:32 AM

So why the title "Master and Commander?"

The original deal was that the former owners of Rose would get her back for a nominal price after the movie. They disliked the effects the modifications had on her sailing qualities so much that the deal might not happen. At present, she is being reserved for a possible sequel. [See the current WoodenBoat Magazine for more on this.]


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: greg stephens
Date: 20 Nov 03 - 02:52 AM

I know the film has been criticised as being a bit Hollywoodised...history is a fluid concept. But how about a previous post in this thread, which draws attention to what the Irish thought of Lord Nelson for "dissing his birthplace"? What's that about exactly?


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Nerd
Date: 20 Nov 03 - 02:53 AM

Yes, I thought it was odd that they should title it "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" as though there would be a whole "Master and Commander" series. Since he has the rank of Master and Commander for only two of the books, and then toward the end of the second is rated Post Captain, a rank he maintains until book 20 (barring the occasional temporary commodore's rating), it would be more logical to call them "Post Captain" and set the films during that phase of his career. I can only assume that "Master and Commander" sounded more marketable.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST,Strick
Date: 20 Nov 03 - 04:16 PM

I found it interesting to read "who" they cast as the French ship, the Acheron, for the movie - the USS Constitution, "Old Ironsides". Seems they laser scanned it to build a slightly modified scale model.

Cool.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: MartinRyan
Date: 20 Nov 03 - 04:32 PM

I suspect the "dissing" reference was to Wellington - who WAS born in Ireland. He is said to have remarked to the effect that being born in a stable didn't necessarily mean one was a horse! For my part, I've always given him the benefit of the doubt and assumed he was being blasphemous rather than anti-Irish!

Regards
p.s. Looking forward to seeing the film...


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Charley Noble
Date: 20 Nov 03 - 04:37 PM

I've enjoyed all the books, several times over. O'Brian was truly a master writer, and never let a plot get in the way of character interaction. But it will be some time before I get a chance to see this film, being on the far side of the world and upside down!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble in OZ


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST,Kim C no cookie
Date: 20 Nov 03 - 05:31 PM

I am goin to see this TONIGHT and I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!

I haven't read any of the books, though I've wanted to. My friend Howard, who is himself a brilliant novelist, said he found Master and Commander to be a little dry, owing to its propensity toward nautical terminology. Someone who wasn't familiar with such might get lost. I'd probably just skip the boring parts anyhow. :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: MAG
Date: 20 Nov 03 - 07:32 PM

O you are right, MartinRyan, and I apologize to one and all for shooting from the hip.

What Welling ton said, the way I heard it, was more like "Born in a sty ..."


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Nov 03 - 07:52 PM

Kim -- yes, the nautical lore and jargon does seem a bit overwhelming at first, but do persevere -- pretty soon you get caught up in the characters and their relationships and in the suspense of what will happen next, and the setting becomes more familiar.

Dani, I'm glad to hear the relationship between Aubrey and Maturin comes across in the film. One of the taped books had an interview with O'Brian at the end of the story, and one of the things he said was that he really set out to write stories about the relationships between men. He chose the shipboard setting partly because it provided such an insular environment. Here were all these guys crammed into a small space for the length of the voyage (years, in some cases), and O'Brian could explore how they got along. Obviously, he also had some interest in the nautical lore and history as well, or he'd never have been able to write such historically accurate books.

I'm looking forward to the movie!

Cheers, Nancy


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST,Nancy King at work
Date: 20 Nov 03 - 07:56 PM

That last anonymous post was me. I keep forgetting to put in my name when I post from work. Life does get complicated, don't it?

Nancy


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Les from Hull
Date: 21 Nov 03 - 09:17 AM

I'm looking forward to the film, which will be here in a week or so. For anyone who hasn't read the books, I will reinforce the advice to start with Master and Commander and read the rest in order. They make a remarkable series.

Actually, Nelson wasn't born that far away from Diss, a place in his native county, Norfolk. And while I'm having a go, it's not the English navy, but the Royal Navy (or perhaps the British Navy) and in those days they did all the glorifying themselves. If you read books about the naval actions of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars they sound just like Hollywood fiction!


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST,Kim C no cookie
Date: 21 Nov 03 - 09:50 AM

This is a really awesome movie. Lots of action and a few really heart-wrenching moments. Russell Crowe is great.... Aubrey chasing the Acheron isn't too unlike Ahab chasing the white whale. The costuming is impeccable and the score is fabulous.

Go see it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: EBarnacle
Date: 21 Nov 03 - 10:24 AM

Except for cavils about the titling and things of that sort, the costuming may be impeccable.

According to "Nelson: A Personal History," by Christopher Hibbert, Nelson was born at Burnham Thorpe, in Norfolk.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Naemanson
Date: 21 Nov 03 - 09:36 PM

I have to admit to being surprised at the number of women who have read the books and who are interested in the movie (i.e., the movie not necessarily the actors). I don't mean to be chauvinist by this remark. It's just that none of the women in my acquaintance are even the slightest bit interested in the books. My discussions have all been with men.

As for you women who loved the books, Welcome Aboard. I hope to see more of you among the ranks of O'Brian fans.

There has been no comment on the other books written by O'Brian. He wrote a couple of books about Commodore Hanson's voyage around the world. Those were very good as well.

I haven't read any of his other books, the others that were not about the British Navy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST,Don Meixner
Date: 21 Nov 03 - 11:21 PM

Well here I am in Buffalo, NY and have just seen the film with my son Geof. We both thought the film to superior in many ways to the stuff that has been about lately.

Once again, I go to movies to be entertained. If the only real concern is the number of epaulettes on Jack Aubrey's shoulders I am willing to over look it. As I sit here I can't once recall anyone calling the Surprise a frigate, only the Archeron.

Since I haven't read any of the books I can't say what O'Brian called the Surprise but at 28 guns she clearly wasn't a Frigate.

I enjoyed the characters and thought them to be well developed and well acted. The humor (humour) was very funny and the irony was subtle. The music was spot on as was the clearly defined social space between Officers and able seamen.

This will be a must see when I get the chance every time it's on.

Don


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 12:34 AM

Don-

Frigates came in various sizes, from economy sized of 24 guns or so to the 50-gun family-sized. The rating by number of cannons was also approximate, generally only counted the "great guns" used in the broadside when originally commissioned. For example the U.S. Constitution is generally described as a 44-gun frigate but generally mounted well over 50 cannons. But you don't need to know those kind of arcane things as well to enjoy the movie or the books.

Hope the movie is still around Maine by the time we return to Maine!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 12:46 AM

We have been waiting for the film with almost as much anticipation as our wait for The Return of the King. (December 17). I enjoy seeing Russel Crowe at work, he generates believability.

I am also going to check out the FX since I heard (on NPR?) that all the ocean footage was computer generated. Just to see if it is obvious. But I am going mostly to see a ripping good yarn. Nancy is going to see Mr. Crowe perform (mostly) and brother Ken is coming along to see the sea, too.

We can't get to the show until monday!!

CB


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: DonMeixner
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 02:40 AM

Thanks Charlie, further investigation says that Frigates were ships built as pursuit/scout/light engagment vessals. Also They carried between 32 and 40 guns on a single designated gun deck with a separate deck overhead. They also carried as many swivel guns and carronades as they wished. American Frigates were larger than British Frigates and carried more large guns.

Using this information it is easy to see how the Surprize could be considered a Frigate as could Archeron.

Neat stuff, thanks again and see the film in a theatre if you can..

Don


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Amos
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 03:53 AM

Judging from the several special features on the film's site, the seas were not all computer generated -- there are lots of splash-tank shots, and a full scale ship built as well, afloat on a realistic sea....their huge challenge is to make the integration seamless.

I have only seen the leaders but it looks terribly good to me.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: DonMeixner
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 09:35 AM

Amos, the word is seamless.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Kim C
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 09:43 AM

Naemanson, I haven't got around to reading the books yet, but it's on my list of things to do. I am a total FREAK for tall ships - don't ask me why, since I ain't that fond of the ocean. My friend Samantha enjoyed the movie too. :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 10:08 AM

Story: lame pulp. Agreed 100% with the "bad" NYT review (and loved the title of the one: "Far Side of Credibility") The series of books and the film are the testosterone equivalent of historical romance novels. Satisfying to history buffs? I think not.

Russell Crowe was as dire as he always is--his on-screen ego seems to grow with every film he makes, overtaking the character. Maybe he should be given some sort of military honor for playing the same cardboard warrior stereotype in film after film.

I was dragged to see this, with the promise that it would be at least as entertaining a film as the deliciously ironic "Pirates of the Caribbean" was. I have to say, of the two, I found "Pirates" to be the more likely candidate for historic authenticity.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Amos
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 10:20 AM

Don -- right -- seamless is the word I used, isn't it?

Dear GUEST-who-fears-to-be-named:

I do not believe the film was created, nor the books written, to satisfy historical specialists who believe they really know all the correct answers. I notice that you don't provide specifics. My instinct was similar on first blush -- the posters show a highly improbable scene of a ship beam-on in a high sea, threatened with breaching and firing a broadside at an improbable angle. I doubt the shot was real. But I was willing to suspend hyper-criticality in order to hear the tale. I believe they went to considerable trouble to make their film as authentic as possible as far as the seafaring aspects. What exactly did you find off-putting?


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 11:02 AM

"What exactly did you find off-putting?"

For brevity sake, the list of what I didn't find off-putting would be a more concise synopsis of this film.

The writing was appalling, the story bad, bad, bad. Russell Crowe, Russell Crowe, and Russell Crowe, and his earnest obsession with "making every English man stand tall" (as he said at the London opening). Please. This sort of romantic nationalist hero worshipping Hollywood crap is well past the use-by date in terms of film cliche. As I said, "Pirates of the Caribbean" with Geoffrey Rush was a much more entertaining depiction of the era, and a more honest one, frankly.

And about the 1812 enemy in hot pursuit being French...convenient in today's geopolitical terms, no? Hollywood bankrollers are, after all, very Republican creatures. Wouldn't want to tarnish the polish on the Anglo American alliance, now would we? This looked like a bad propaganda film from the 1940s.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 11:12 AM

And as for the suggestion that this film is Weir's best since "Mosquito Coast" I couldn't agree more. This films sucks just as badly as "Mosquito Coast" did (a lot), and suffers from the same testosterone overdose leading man syndrome (with Russell Crowe replacing Harrison Ford, who now simplistically plays only caricatures of himself, a sure sign of cinematic irrelevance and super-stardom).


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: JedMarum
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 11:34 AM

I am anxious to see the movie and hope to do so tomorrow afternoon. My father, an avid O'Brien fan - saw the flick and said it was a very good movie. He said it was not much like the books, but he didn;t expect that. It captured some of the 'backdrop' and a composite of the stories. Sounds about like I'd expect.

BECKY - We did have some conversation on this subject already, albeit in an obscurly titled thread! POB's Desolation Island.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 12:00 PM

Do you suppose the film might become a gay cult classic, based upon the sexual innuendo between Crowe and whazzizname in many scenes, but the fiddle about dancing scene in particular? Considering how dull and long this is turkey is though, I'm sure the boys will simply fast forward to their favorite gay scenes.

In keeping with the thread title, here is my favorite published review of the film so far, from Mike Sage at Rotten Tomatoes:

Next to S.W.A.T. and Bad Boys 2, this is the most testosterone-fueled action/adventure of the year. I couldn't have been more bored out of my mind.

Running a lengthy near-three hours (and feeling twice that long), Master and Commander has its moments of brilliant character study but these are engulfed by a plethora of tedious, male bondage sea scraps and self-indulgent naval zoom-outs (I counted at least six of 'em). Director Peter Weir can brandish his pretty $150 million cinematography and the gruelling-to-the-point-of-irrelevant Napoleonic nautical accuracy all he wants. These details can't prevent the dirty work incurred by the film's interminable plotlessness as it lulls you into a deep, careless slumber.

Russell Crowe et al give seaworthy performances but nothing you're not familiar with, except perhaps the interesting and rebellious ship-surgeon-meets-adventuring-scientist as played by Paul Bettany.

Crowe himself is the sturdy Captain Jack Aubrey (pretty much Gladiator's same honour-stricken pillar of righteous heroism with a penchant for despising humour), just one of an assortment of an all-manly-men British sea-crew, who battle the waves, scurvy and the dirty French on a day-to-day basis.

To describe an actual plot is fairly impossible because I don't actually remember one having existed. Sure, Aubrey teaches some of his fairy-winkle shipmates to fend for themselves against the take-no-prisoners crew taking advantage of their waning authority and Dr. Stephen Maturin persists to visit the Galapagos Islands to explore the multitudes of diverse new life. There are even a few random naval brawls amidst the drunken feasts, complete with life-changing, epiphany-laden (I'm sure) opportunities for youngsters to take control along the way. Oh, and I seem to remember a coastal shopping spree where the crew stocked up on South American native goods and perhaps a few ship-restoration scenes. And oh, those forty-second sailing ship zoom-outs!

If you're thinking this sounds the least-bit riveting, and not the least bit bland or repetitive, then, by all means, make your way to the nearest theatre for the film equivalent of a drawn-out, theme-heavy but horrendously tension-free novel of gargantuan proportions.

If you're still awake when the credits finally begin to roll, just remember you can be held partially responsible for the box office success of Master and Commander and that your unfortunate interest will likely result in the consequent potential adaptations of any of the umpteen other Patrick O'Brian sea-set misadventures surely to scourge their way to a theatre and bore us further to tears. Just you remember that.

Master and Commander is heavy-handed Oscar bait that's a whole lot less than the sum of its beautiful parts (picture perfect scenery, almost too subtle naval accuracy and spicy vernacular dialogue) and the musical score is a washed-up disappointment that manages to afflict the film with its glaring continuity holes.

As far as tall-tale watery epics go, this insomnia cure should have taken a few pages from the swashbuckling script of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Rating: 2 1/2 stars out of 5


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Amos
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 12:17 PM

Well, clearly, some folks got it and some don't. I am willing to wager that Guest-who-fears-her-own-name is among those who have never been to sea.

There is nothing inappropriate about using the French as the opposition -- it is true to the book and the history of the time. To cast that as opportunism is just silly,


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 12:24 PM

Loved the film, eh Amos?


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Amos
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 12:26 PM

No -- I haven't seen it yet. I intend to do so, however.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 12:57 PM

I couldn't tell what the film was about from the trailers, and said that to the people I went with--I cast my vote for going to see "Mystic River" and lost. Having Seen the film, I can now state with certainty I haven't a clue as to what this film is about. It is a plotless behemoth, which bored me senseless. And I really enjoyed both men in "A Beautiful Mind" too, otherwise I'd never have gone along for the ride.

This film may be very authentic in navy history detail, but the story is so bad, the earnest arrogance and self-righteous bastardness of the characters so phony, that I can also honestly say this film had all the emotional and intellectual truth of 40s war propaganda films, which is what it felt like to me. If John Wayne had ever made a film about being a swash buckling British sea captain, this would have been the movie for him.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Amos
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 01:14 PM

Now, Mystic River -- there's a hardboiled beauty of a movie. Go see it if you can!


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 03:15 PM

Amos, I am determined to see "Mystic River" though I don't know if I'll get to see it in theatres. I so rarely get out to the theatres, which is why I felt so damn burned by wasting three precious hours of my hurried and harried life, not to mention my limited budget, on this bloated, nonsensical Hollywood crap. These days, I'm lucky if I get out to movie theatres about every three months or so. The last film I saw was "Pirates of the Caribbean" which I thoroughly enjoyed. Especially the ironic, yet campy play between the Rush and Depp characters--it reminded me of the play between the Dustin Hoffman and Bob Hoskins characters in "Hook" (which Hoffman described as them playing a couple of old queens). They weren't really parodying the genre, as much as doing a very entertaining tongue-in-cheek sort of commentary on the genre, if you know what I mean.

So I went to see FSOTW, despite all my misgivings about it, and now bitterly regret it! So buyer beware! Don't believe the advertising about this film, disguised as pop movie criticism! Ebert and Roeper are both full of it when it comes to this film--it truly, truly has no discernible plot, and you just have to suffer along through plodding, endless subplot after plodding, endless subplot...and it is most certainly NOT a story about two friends, Capt Jack Aubrey and whazzizname...did I mention this movie drags on interminably? ;)


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: artbrooks
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 03:30 PM

Let's see...eight for, one against, and several "can't waits."

I only problem I had with it was a personal one...my hearing isn't that good, so I missed some of the dialogue during the storm and battle scenes. My solution will be to buy the DVD as soon as it comes out.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 03:36 PM

Well artbrooks, majority rules in some rather unsavory situations, like the Jonestown massacre where everyone obediently took their medicine. However, the end result probably wasn't what they hoped it would be when they signed on to "just go along" with the majority at the Jones camp.

After going along with the majority, and seeing this film, I know how the few survivors must have felt.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Amos
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 03:48 PM

LOL!! Dear Guest, cheer up -- if all you ever had were pleasant experiences your critical faculties would never be properly exercised!! :>)

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 03:57 PM

You do speak the truth Amos. And of course, it is always in that noble spirit that I (very rarely) go against my own best instincts and go along with the majority vote as to which film we will see for our evening's entertainment.

The last time I followed those noble instincts, I fell asleep in the middle of the first Harry Potter film.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: DonMeixner
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 05:13 PM

Amos, I wasn't correcting you. The ocean sequences are seamless I couldn't tell what was computer generated from what wasn't. Tho' common sense tells me that no film crew would be allowed to film in the Straits of Magellan during a gale.

One of the few momments in my life when I am caught off guard by a person with an obvious political bent involves this film. The Ultra conservative, ultra homophobic, utra wierd Michael Savage called this film a advertisement for NAMBLA. (Why I found myself listening to him is unexplainable even by me.) I found this film no more homosexually innuendoized than The Deerhunter, The Bounty, or Lonesome Dove. Or Star Trek, the Kirk, Spock, McCoy trangle must be considered homo-something by someone.

The plot is simple. It is a chase. What more of a plot need there be. The David after the Goliath. The underdog victorious over the superior adversary. The good guy after the bad guy. "High Noon" didn't have much of a plot. "The Enemy Bellow" was equally thin so was "The African Queen". But they seemed to be good movies to me.

The movie did the job for me. I was entertained by the film for 2+ hours and at least three days by this thread.

Don.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Amos
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 06:05 PM

I hear ya Don -- I think there is something overboard about the NAMBLA charge. If not, there should be. NAMBLE is pretty disgusting, in my personal opinion. But smearing a perfectly good adventure film is a real miss IMHO.

And I good chase involving outsmarting a stronger opponent and coming through thanks to courage and innovation is quite plot enough for me, I guess.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: The Walrus
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 09:06 PM

The way "Guest" keeps plugging 'Pirates of the Carribean' over 'Master and Commander' - Could it be he/she works for Disney?

Walrus


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: LadyJean
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 11:48 PM

I saw the movie today. I have read all of the books, and it was like visiting with two dear old friends. Russell Crowe is a brilliant actor. He managed to convince me that he was six foot one and blond, when I know better.
Stephen Maturin has always been my favorite. I have the same kind of memory he does. I haven't known many people, besides my father, who are like me. It was wonderful to find someone who felt the same things I feel, and lived with what I live with. I do not have substance abuse issues, like Stephen. I would never deprive the noble cocoa bean of sustenance by chewing it's leaves. But he is a kindred soul. It was good to see him, and Padeen. Though, Padeen spoke English, and anyone who has read the books knows he doesn't.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: JedMarum
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 11:51 AM

Don - they actually sent a film crew along on a real life frigate's voyage through the straights to capture footage. I saw some some of the unenhanced footage and it was pretty dramatic. I haven't seen the movie yet - but saw film documenting the making of the movie.

They used the raw footage for the computer graphics.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: DonMeixner
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 12:12 PM

Wow, Respect bumps up another notch.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 01:40 PM

Filming was done mostly in Mexico and New Zealand, and a couple of specific locations (ie the Galapagos). The same tank used to film "Titanic" was used to film the studio scenes with the replica ship seen in this film. The thing cost $135 million to make (the most expensive film Weir has ever made--by comparison, "Truman Show" cost $60 million).

I would expect that most Mudcatters who are stalwart O'Brian readers would worship the film. However, that isn't much of a recommendation to those who aren't part of the cult, who have dramatically different standards we are using to judge the film.

It seems a bit silly to make this into a pissing contest (one against, all the rest for--yea! we win!). It is important when evaluating art or entertainment, not to equate one's own opinion of the film as "the truth" about the film.

As the old Chinese saying goes, there are always three truths: your truth, my truth, and the truth.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Penny S.
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 02:54 PM

Thank you for making my mind up to go next week.

Star Trek connections - this could be via an alternative navy set of books. I've been told that Hornblower by CS Forrester was an influence.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 04:22 PM

Question: Does anyone know whether Nelson was "Irish" Irish, or was he one of the Irish English or Scotch-Irish?

If he was one of those, it's not too surprising if he was down on Ireland.

Indeed, at that time it seems extremely unlikely to me that an "Irish" Irishman would have been allowed to advance to the officer class, much less to the senior officer ranks.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: MartinRyan
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 06:06 PM

UncleDaveO

Nelson had no Irish connections as far as I know.

There were certainly Irish officers in the Royal Navy of the time - of necessity Protestant, as Catholics would not take the Oath of Allegiance, generally. In fact, I think there was at least one ship (using the word loosely, deliberately!) where all/most of the officers were Irish. The captain was a Packenham - ancestor of the Longford family whom some on this (Eastern) side of the pond will know.

Regards


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 06:38 PM

Perhaps Norfolk, where Nelson hailed from, might be counted as Irish since that's where the song the Wild Rover comes from...

..............


And is this GUEST who keeps on bobbing up in this thread the same one all the time?

................

I can never understand why some people worry so much about historical accuracy in relation to fictional films. Beyond a certain level it can become a fetish.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Gareth
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 07:10 PM

Ahhh ! Why do Irish Myths confuse everything.

Click Here for Nelsons Childhood

Lord Wellington was birthed in Merrion St., Dublin,
hence his famous quotation on being accused of being Irish (and I hope I have it right) "If I was born in a stable, Sir, that would not make me a horse"

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Naemanson
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 07:32 PM

Well, I am not enough of a pedant to let a few inconsistencies with historical acuracy put me off. Nor am I going to worry about whether or not they slavishly followed the story line in the books. Knowing hollywood I figured that was not going to happen. My major concern was that Hollywood would miss the flavor of the books, the relationship between Aubrey and Maturin, the need to hold aloof from the rest of the officers and crew and Aubrey's appaarent (rarely spoken) gratitude in his friendship with Maturin.

Those who see a homosexual relationship between them are painting a former century with a modern brush. And they have never had a truly close nonsexual friendship with another person. In an age where one held the world at arm's length for safety, a world not too far removed from the savagery of the "dark ages", a world with carefully ordered and stilted codes of behavior, the chance to have a close friend on whom one could rely was one of the great opportunities of the world. Believe it or not, sex does not necessarily underlie every relationship.

O'Brian understood that and shows it in his books. For Jack Aubrey women were for marrying and sex. Men were to be fought, used to run his vessel, and in only one instance, for confiding in. He had some men who served him through the majority of the books, men who looked up to him as the epitome of the naval officer. And Aubrey treated them as the employees they were. In the last book, when one of them gets killed, Aubrey notices and then orders the body tossed overboard. Later there is a single reference to his emotional reaction.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 11:28 PM

The critic as homophobe?
Fact is, boys of 12 and 13 often served as midshipmen in the English Navy in the early eighteenth century. They were put in the same dangerous circumstances as their elders, and were expected to perform as men. The Captains of such ships must have found themselves adopting the entertwined roles of Father, Commander, and Teacher when dealing with their young charges. One can only hope that the tenderness and humor shown by the character Jack Aubrey was the rule and not the exception. As for Aubrey's love for his friend and their musical duets, anyone who frequents this website should have an appreciation for that kind of interaction.
I believe the filmmakers did a fine job of depicting life aboard a British warship in 1807. Anyone who wants to find a gay thread line in the story would have a picnic with the relationship between Queequeg and Ishmael in Moby Dick and would miss the point just as surely as they miss it here.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 23 Nov 03 - 11:37 PM

One complaint I have is that not enough chanties were sung by the crew. There is, however, one occasion when the men sing one. I believe it was Rounding the Horn but I'm not positive.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 12:20 AM

LonesomeEJ-

Sea chanties were uniformly prohibited about Royal Navy vessels, not to mention U.S. Navy vessels of the period. Such vessels had huge crews and the need for coordination was lessened. The officers generally viewed sea chanties as subversive, which they generally were.

The songs we'd expect the officers to sing were naval ballads and drinking songs. The sailors might sing some ballads and drinking songs when they were off-watch, and most certainly when they were "kicking up Bob's-a-dying" ashore.

O'Brian was not clear on this point in his earliest books in this series. He would occasionally make reference to "Adieu, Spanish Ladies" and songs of that type.

But I'll be curious to hear what the sailors are singing when I finally get a chance to see this film.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble, still having fun in OZ and greedy for more


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 08:46 AM

I saw the movie last weekend. It is an excellent movie, extremely entertaining and exciting. Crowe managed to get Aubrey as right as any actor could, and was indeed heroic, just like in the books. I recommend the movie to everyone.

BUT: I was very disappointed in the portrayal of Maturin! Aubrey and Maturin were equally featured in the books. Maturin was absolutely incompetent at sea, and Aubrey was just as bad ashore. Aubrey was wysiwyg, but Maturin was a deeply complex and layered character. I actually believe more time was spent on Maturin than Aubrey in the books. I understand a movie can only contain a limited amount of material, but Maturin was not just a sidekick like Gabby Hayes in the Roy Rogers movies.

Maturin was personally sloppy, always wore an ill-fitting wig, had to be helped by the crew to get aboard or depart the ship, and to get into the rigging on those rare occasions when he tried it. None of this appeared in the movie, but could have been easily portrayed. Instead he was portrayed as well-dressed, and simple and at home in the high rigging.

OK, that's my quibble.

O'Meara


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 09:00 AM

About the gay thing folks. I haven't seen anything in the reviews but innuendo. Swash buckling movies, dating back to the Errol Flynn era, have been adored by a certain cultish group of gay men. It was certainly that I was alluding to, though I'm sure the humorless fans of the film breast beating in this thread likely didn't get the joke.

Like I said, for you history re-enactors and O Brian fanatics, I'm sure this is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon at the movies.

For more discriminating film goers, buyer beware.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: artbrooks
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 09:09 AM

O'Meara: I agree with you entirely on O'Brian's Maturan. However, I think it would have been very difficult to develop that Maturan properly in 2+ hours, with everything else that was going on. I expect that he would have come across as a buffoon, which he certainly wasn't, if he had been portrayed, as you put it as personally sloppy, always wearing an ill-fitting wig, having to be helped by the crew to get aboard or depart the ship, and to get into the rigging on those rare occasions when he tried it. As it is, I think the writers did a reasonably good job with the character, within the time and format limitations.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 09:45 AM

Gay men, or at least paederasts, do feature in one or two of POB's books; Aubrey talks about a fellow-captain, and opines that p's in general are not the best captains, as they will have favourites (i.e. sexual partners) among the men, causing unrest among the rest of the crew. Can't remember which book; there are one or two other mentions too. But neither A nor M appear to be opposed on any general principle.

I take it we can be confident the next one won't be called 'Master & Commander II'?

Guest, did you see 'Pirates of the Caribbean'? You might enjoy it more than'M&C'!


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: JedMarum
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 10:19 AM

I saw the movie last night with my wife. We both enjoyed the film very much.

I agree with O'Meara on the portrayal of Maturan, but, like artbrooks - think they did as good a job as they could. Maturin, or at least the Maturin/Aubrey relationship is complex. The film could hint at the characters, but could not go into the detail without subverting the "made for hollywood audience" plot. The good Doctor really is the hero of the series, in my estimation - at least in night of ow he interacts with Aubrey and the adventures. Had they cast Crowe as Maturin, we'd have had a movie of a different sort.

I believe they really did a good job of telling their tale, showing a taste of the history and capturing the spirit of the books. It makes for a quite enjoyable movie!

Now - as for the story and its similarity to the books? It is truly an amalgamation of several stories. There are quotes and subplot taken directly from Desolation Island ("That makes two times now he's gotten behind me ... there won;t be a third"). I don;t remember Aubrey tangling with worthy French adevrsary, but perhaps I missed it. I believe the fractured skull operation that Maturin performed successfully was in Master and Commander - but not sure which novel got them to the Galapagos ... anyway, the story line was satisfactory.

As for the homophobic comments by Savage? The man is an ignorant loud mouth. He doesn't understand the era. He doesn't understand the literature. There are such undercurrents in movies, now and then - but you miss the point if you find 'em in this movie.

Very good movie. And my wife is NOT a POB fan, but she enjoyed it. You do not have to be a POB fan. This movie will appeal to all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 12:05 PM

Same GUEST again or a different one this time?


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Melani
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 12:48 PM

As an avid reader of all twenty books, I don't see how even the most dedicated O'Brian fan could find anything wrong with it. Both Jack and Stephen had some very weird contradictions, which is part of their charm, but makes them difficult to portray in a movie format. Jack was really, really good at fighting a ship and taking prizes, but tended to be a doof ashore, the sort that starts to tell a joke at dinner and messes up the punchline, etc. Stephen was brilliant, but weird and distracted, focussed so much on his own interests that after ten years at sea he just about knew the bow from the stern on a really good day. A little of this was brought out when he asked "What is the weather gage?" and Jack offered to explain it to him "again". And Russell Crowe played Jack very straight, leaving out that contradictory touch of silliness. When Russell Crowe talked about Nelson asking him to pass the salt, he clearly knew it was funny. In the book, Jack was perfectly serious in thinking it was the most wonderful thing that ever happened to him, while everyone else quietly giggled.

I think they did a really good job of portraying Stephen as a duck out of water (or maybe an eagle in the water? out of place, anyway) without bringing out his more unattractive side, which would have made him too hard for the audience to like.

Just for the record, I've seen it twice (had to go with different groups of friends), and will be seeing it again with family on Friday.

Charlie, isn't "Spanish Ladies" a forebitter?


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: JedMarum
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 01:03 PM

excellent analysis, Melani!


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 01:26 PM

When an Australian talks about "making every English man stand tall" I think it's probably safaer to interpret this as tongue in cheek rather than as nationalism.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Les from Hull
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 05:34 PM

Just got back to this thread.

A 28-gun ship would be a frigate still in this period, although most frigates being built for the Royal Navy were 32-gun or more. No 28s were built after 1783, although several were captured from enemies.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST,Kim C no cookie
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 05:47 PM

My friend Howard said he had only one complaint, and that was that a seafaring man wouldn't go about trying to shoot an albatross.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Naemanson
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 06:47 PM

Since the comment about the Surprise being a frigate with only 28 guns has come up again I feel it only fair to point out that she was old when Aubrey got her. POB makes the point in the story that the she HAD been a frigate but now was considered too small to be a frigate considering that "modern" frigates generally had many more guns and were larger.

About chanties in the Royal Navy. Charley is right about them being banned. In the books you start to hear about chanties when Aubrey gets part of his crew from a fishing port and the Surprise (and Aubrey) are ostensibly no longer in the Navy. There are a couple of comments about how the men sing while working the lines.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: artbrooks
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 08:14 PM

There are no chanties in the movie, in the sense of songs sung while working to maintain a rhythm. The sailors do sing while off watch on at least one occasion...it may have been Spanish Ladies...and one of the lieutenants gets in trouble for joining in.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Nancy King
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 09:32 PM

Well, I thought the movie was just fine. Certainly not an adaptation of one particular book, but rather an amalgam of incidents and situations from several books in O'Brian's series. That seems reasonable enough to me, as the series is really just one long story, very episodic, with a core of characters continuing over many books plus others who appear for shorter times.   I thought the photography was great, and I liked the music, too. I do agree with artbrooks that some of the dialog was hard to hear.

I agree with O'Meara and artbrooks about the portrayal of the Maturin character – much too one-dimensional, and they left out any hint of his intelligence activities, which I think was one of the more interesting aspects of the books. But I can understand why all that was left out. I do think they made a bit too much of his complaining to Jack about going ashore. I don't remember them getting into quite such an argument about it in the books, though he was clearly disappointed on many occasions. Maybe they felt they had to make a big deal of it, to emphasize the irony of Maturin being the one to locate the enemy during a bird-watching foray.

LadyJean, just to set the record straight, in the books Maturin chewed coca leaves (as in cocaine), not cocoa, from which chocolate is made. For a long time in the books, he is also addicted to laudanum, which is the alcoholic tincture of opium. The addictive side of his personality in the books is just one more aspect that made him such a fascinating and complex character, which didn't come across in the movie.

I don't recall any shanties being used as work songs in the movie (though I think a couple of might have been sung when the men were at leisure), and that is correct – shanties were not sung on naval ships. In the books, the only time shanties were used for work was in "The Thirteen-Gun Salute," when some Orkneymen used a distinctive chant which fascinated Aubrey. At that time the Surprise was sailing as a Letter of Marque, not a Naval vessel, so Jack let them continue. (We discussed that episode in this thread).

Anyway, if you like action, see this movie! And if you think sailors had an easy life, this will set you straight.

Cheers, Nancy


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Kim C
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 10:26 PM

Shouldn't they have had a ship's fiddler, though? And Aubrey don't count.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 10:51 PM

Saw the film and enjoyed it, although I thought "Pirates of the Carribean" more entertaining. This film certainly captured the violence that must have been common during a naval battle. I liked both Jack & the doctor, and can imagine they had a very complex relationship in the books.   

OK - those of you who haven't seen the film - don't read any further.
SPOILER QUESTION ABOUT END OF MOVIE !!!!

What did the doctor say to Jack about the French doctor and the French captain that caused Jack to cancel the shore leave and pursue the French boat again ???   I had a hard time with the dialogue in the theater I attended. I got the general idea, but didn't understand the details ?? Thanks for any clarification.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 10:53 PM

Oooh they had one, I'm sure.. (a fiddler, that is)

What a fun flick!! I loved it muchly.

Got a giggle when the carpenter's mate kissed the figure head. Couldn't help thinking that the most common wound, battle or no must have been to the head. Bumping into all that huge oak beam stuff below decks.

Film made me wish I was back there then. Sailors in those days must have been either pressed or mad. I can't inmagine anyone of normal constitution WANTING to go to sea.

Yet, what an adventure it must have been for those who did love it, what a time.

I recommend the film. It is far too short.

CB


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Nancy King
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 11:12 PM

By the way, O'Brian fans will be interested in a couple of articles in the current (December 2003) issue of Smithsonian magazine. One, titled "The Real 'Sea Wolf'," is about Thomas Cochrane, on whose remarkable naval career and exploits O'Brian based the character of Jack Aubrey. Cochrane captained a smallish vessel called "Speedy," comparable to Aubrey's "Surprise." Cochrane had many sea victories, but got into trouble on land. Sound familiar?

The other article is about O'Brian's life, which, it turns out, was not quite what he led people to believe.

Interesting stuff.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Melani
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 11:25 PM

SPOILER ANSWER--DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE!!!

Stephen expressed concern for the wounded men aboard the prize with no doctor but Higgens, his mate or whatever. Jack said he met the French doctor, and Stephen said he had died of fever six months ago. Remember the dead French captain?


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 11:47 PM

Kim C. - wasn't it one of the marines, not the crew, who was trying to shoot the albatross?

~ Becky in Tucson
-- Hey, this is the biggest thread-starting success I've had in my Mudcat career... an easy one, though. ;o)


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: LadyJean
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 12:59 AM

In Master and Commander, O'Brian has the crew singing a chantey about Jack Aubrey, and his love affair with Admiral Hart's wife. Dear Jack is a flaming heterosexual, which is a good thing, because, as O'Brian also explains, sodomy was a capital offense in the Royal Navy.
O'Brian's sailors will eat anything, including alabtrosses. They don't read Coleridge.
"Master and Commander The Far Side Of The World" was a movie. I approach a movie made from one of my favorite books with extreme caution. I remember the Bakshi Lord of the Rings. But it is obvious that Russel Crowe loved the books too. I wondered how people who didn't know them would react.
Stephen is an introspective soul. O'Brian tells us what he's thinking, and that is what makes him truly interesting. But people like that don't work well in movies. I was glad that they did Stephen as well as they did. I was afraid he would come off as some foolish caricature.
The ending was deliciously O'Brian. The action heating up when you least expect it. I'm re reading the books now. Dear Jack, dear Stephen it is nice to see you again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Naemanson
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 02:41 AM

"Sailors in those days must have been either pressed or mad. I can't inmagine anyone of normal constitution WANTING to go to sea."

Life back then was hard no matter where you were. Life at sea was at least regular work and there was the opportunity to be proud of what you were. When ashore a proper Man O' War's man would be decked out in fine togs and have money in his pocket, a far cry from the thieves and beggars in the streets of the towns.

However, having said that, sailors in those days must have been either pressed or mad. I can't inmagine anyone of normal constitution WANTING to go to sea.

*Grin*


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 04:31 AM

I often have this image popping into my mind's eye of a ship's crew fot Nelson's time crowding round the "Rum, Sodomy and The Lash" section of the notice board, and saying things like "Oh bugger, he's put me down for sodomy again!", "Anybody want to swap their 'lash' for my 'rum?"

Mabe I should get out more!

I understand thet Capt Cook relaxed the rules on singing on his Australia-seeking voyage. One of his captains, William Bligh, wouldn't have it, though.

Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Teribus
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 06:06 AM

Charley and others are perfectly correct when stating that chanties were not permitted onboard Royal Navy ships. The ships were worked either to direct verbal orders (As in the orders "two, six, heave) or to pipes (Bosun's Calls).

The "Rum, Sodomy and The Lash" thing was a Churchillian quote dating from the early days of last century when he backed Jackie Fisher's naval reforms. These reforms were bitterly contested by Beresford who stated that they (the reforms) were counter to the best traditions of the service (The Royal Navy). To which Churchill responded that the best traditions of the service are founded on "Rum, Sodomy and the Lash" and as such should not be viewed as being of any significant value.

I have not seen the film yet but will definitely go first opportunity I get.

"Spanish Ladies" pre-dates the French Revolutionary/Napoleonic era. I believe goes back to the mid 1700's and the time of Admiral Hawke.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Kim C
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 08:32 AM

It may have been one of the Marines trying to shoot the albatross - I wasn't paying that close attention. But I had forgotten, until Howard reminded me, that according to seafaring tradition, it's bad luck to kill an albatross.... and sailors are a very superstitious lot.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: DonMeixner
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 09:03 AM

Kim it was a Marine who shot at the "Albatros". (Was it an Albatros?)

And as I haven't read Far Side of the World yet I don't if the whole Prize ship incident takes place in that book. (I just started the series with Master and Commander.) But do you all recall in "Captain Horatio HornBlower" Hornblower gives the Natividad to a Spainish despot thinking at the time they are at war with France and an ally of Spain. He only learns the opposite after the Natividad sails for El Salvador and Hornblower has to recaputer his prize.

The movie of "Captain Hornblower" probably is not as good as it could have been but the naval gunbattles were the best filmed until now and I think they still hold up well.

Don


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Teribus
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 09:28 AM

One thing about the manning of warships of the period and the attractiveness of a naval career.

For Officers - Old established order of inheritance in the UK at that time:
- Eldest son inherits the lot
- Second eldest son goes to the Navy
- Third eldest son goes to the Army
- Fourth eldest son goes to the Church

For those on the Lower Deck, they were either volounteers, or pressed from shore or prison. In the early part of of the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars, somewhere between 60 & 80% of the Royal Navy's sailors were pressed. Why did people go? and what kept them there once they had been taken into a ship. Naemanson mentioned conditions ashore, conditions afloat in comparison had little to recommend it - hard living conditions, poor food, little or no opportunity to leave the ship, harsh discipline, strong likelyhood of death or injury. One advantage the RN had over the Army was the opportunity for prize money. Able Commanders with a reputation had no real problem recruiting. If such Commanders were fortunate enough to sail under independent orders, then officers and men stood to gain quite hansomely. Another lure, not so insignificant at the time, on offer from the Royal Navy was drink - lots of it - the daily allowance per man per day would absolutely stagger you - it certainly did them.

In the RN Museum in Portsmouth Dockyard there is this cartoon dating back to the late 1790's. The scene is of a British warship cleared for action, the captain notices a sailor knelt in prayer beside his gun. The Captain asks, "Are you a-praying for victory Jack" To which the sailor replies, " I'm a-prayin' Sir, that the distribution of enemy shot matches that of the prize money - the major share amongst the officers."


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: EBarnacle
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 09:55 AM

As of 1794, which Surprise most emphatically predates, as Aubrey served in her whilst a mid, the smallest frigates were 28 gun vessels, according to "The Frigates," James Henderson, CBE. Vessels of 20 and 24 guns were rated as post ships and were often sloops of war with a couple of guns added so that they were worthy of the dignity of a posted captain.

The actual number of guns, as mentioned above, does not truly relate to the rating. A 28 gun frigate, such as Surprise, had 28 guns on the main gun deck. The other guns were not counted in the rating.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 10:58 AM

As regards the alcohol intake, in those days nobody drank water: it was likely to be teeming with nasty things like amoebas (the dysentery kind). Even schoolchildren drank small beer -- not very strong, but reasonably antiseptic. And a pint of rum could make even the greenest of several-years-in-the-cask water potable!

And of course, everyone drank too much if they could, anyway.

When did the RN stop the rum ration? Early fifties? The army had a rum ration in the First World War, too: If the sergeant steals your rum/Never mind!.

Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Teribus
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 12:13 PM

Hi Steve,

Rum disappeared from the RN late 1969, or early 1970 if memoryserves me correctly. I know they had taken the decision on its going, when somebody thought "Hey this is going to end, so we'd better think up some excuse to "Splice the main-brace" the birthday of one of the Queen's old Aunts (The one who lived at Carisbrooke Castle) was selected - for at least 30 minutes she was the most popular old dear alive in the Fleet.

After it had gone, while on Diving Course at HMS Vernon, we were asked to look at the screws on one of the Royal Corps of Transports LCT's at Gunwharf Quay next door to Vernon. After we'd finished we were sitting in crews mess onboard waiting for the boat to come back and pick us up (we were still in our diving gear) when one of the crew asked us if we'd like a drink. He then produced a demi-john three-quarters full of issue rum. We were amazed, his comment - "Oh yeah, we still get this stuff issued but it dosen't get drunk as nobody onboard likes it. Pearls before Swine - what a mess we were in by the time the time we did get picked up.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 12:18 PM

I don't think there's any evidence of sailors thinking it unlucky to kill an albatross, prior to Coleridge.

And even in the Ancient Mariner, the first reaction of the sailors when the bird is shot is that it was a bird of ill omen, and that shooting it was a good idea. It's only when things go wrong with the voyage they decide it was unlucky to shoot it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST,Kim C no cookie
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 12:32 PM

Well, all right, then. :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Les from Hull
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 01:19 PM

I know what you mean, EBarnacle, but a frigate carries its guns on the upper deck. The gun deck has no guns.

A 28 would usually have 24 9 pounders on the upper deck and 4 3 pounders on the quarterdeck. In the 1780s the smaller guns were replaced by carronades. By 1807 there were only about half a dozen 28 gun frigates in active service.

Kim C - ship's fiddler was a very unofficial position. The only musicians were in the Marines (fife and drum). If someone could play a fiddle the first lieutenant may use him when hands were ordered to 'dance and skylark' (for exercise). Perhaps Barry Dransfield could have been transferred from the Bounty film!


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: DonMeixner
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 06:33 PM

Just a thought here. Are Frigates in the American navy of this same time period significantly diferent from the Royal navy? My information says yes. So there may be some confusion here in this thread because of two diferent navy's definitions.

Don


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Amos
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 07:01 PM

The American navy is famous for contributing the deathless expression (from ship-borne cavalry) "Aww, frigate and the horse it came in on!"

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: The Walrus
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 07:24 PM

DonMeixner

"...Just a thought here. Are Frigates in the American navy of this same time period significantly diferent from the Royal navy? My information says yes. So there may be some confusion here in this thread because of two diferent navy's definitions..."

Don,

The US definition of a frigate was similar to that of he navies of Europe, however, as I understand it, there was certain internal political opposition to the USA having ships-of-the-line.
The situation was resolved after a fashion by a Mr Humphries, who designed a class of 'Frigates' (acceptable to oppponants of a l-o-b navy), which were among the biggest in their class anywhere in the world ('Constitution' class?) and capable of being 'over-gunned' (given more guns than their nominal rate) if the need applied.
In order to fight ships of this size, the Royal Navy had to have bigger ships (74s?) 'Rezeéd' - cut down to single deck ships for use as frigates - these, of course, would still not have the speed of a purpose built frigate, but at least they could live in a fight with one of the Huimphries ships.
Other American frigates were of a more 'conventional' size, and fought actions without the advantge of size, and with various degrees of success - depending on the qualities of their captains and crews on one hand, and of their opponents on the other.
I recommend "The eyes of the Fleet" by Anthony Price, as worth a read.

Walrus


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: The Walrus
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 07:29 PM

"...Sailors in those days must have been either pressed or mad. I can't inmagine anyone of normal constitution WANTING to go to sea..."

Wasn't it Dr Johnson who said something about "No man becomes a sailor who has the wit to be in prison, for being a sailor is to be in prison with the added risk of drowning"

I wonder if he realised that the fleet pressed from prisons?


Walrus


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Gareth
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 07:41 PM

Concur Walrus - also recomend C S Forester's "The Age of Fighting Sail" aka "The Naval War of 1812"

The big American Frigates were in a class of thier own, with regard to the 'Spar Decks', Scantlings and sheer size.

But then Humphries had to live with his political restrictions, a similar situation arose with the Kriegsmarine "Pocket Battleships", constrained by treaty to under 10,000 tons.

Admitedly they were armed with 6 X 11 inch guns in two turrets. But I wonder if they would not have been more effective as commerce raiders with 4 X 8 inch guns, and the freed tonnage used for extra stores and fuel ?

Turning back to the big USA frigates - never underestimate the effects that the two year enlistment program, and good pay had.

A USA Commander such as Decature, or Rodgers, did not have to spend the first months of a Commission training his crews in basic seamanship. He could concentrate on Gunnery, not basic evolutions.

With the notable exception of Phillip Broke (HMS Shannon), those frigates and Razee's on the North American Station, were undermanned, and undertrained - And as the "Gurrierie" and "Macedonian" showed, not trained to play (and a quote from O'Brian) "Long Bowls with the Enemy"

The "Java" was a different case, being used as a transport, and newly commissioned.

Or have I trodden on some toes here ?

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Gareth
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 07:55 PM

Terribus

In 1812 one man for every 200 inhabitants of the British Isles was serving in the fleet.

Yes the press, the magistrates and the 'quota men' produced a large proportion of the crews, hence my previous comments on training.

What must be not forgot is that the basic naval diet was ptobably better than that of the industrial worker at the time, and the discipline no harsher.

BTW - "Spanish Ladies" forebitter - Yes, but also a Pilots "Rutter" or memnonic (SP)

To test this plot the points or landfalls on a chart.

My first post on the 'Cat was on this pint.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 26 Nov 03 - 12:19 AM

Pressing might have had it's good points. A relative on my mother's side of the family was pressed to fight for France in the F&I wars (King George's, specifically), ended up marrying a Mohawk woman and living in Joseph Brandt's town. He had many sons and their offspring left the Mohawk Valley to settle in Wisconsin territory, near what is now called Mauston. Their name was (and still is) Fluneau (fluno).

CB


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: LadyJean
Date: 26 Nov 03 - 01:03 AM

RE the fiddler on the Bounty. Bligh employed a blind fiddler on his HMS Bounty, to play for the men. He could be very nice when he was in the right mood, and a genuine S.O.B. when he wasn't.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Teribus
Date: 26 Nov 03 - 02:32 AM

Don asked a question regarding American and British/European Frigates of the period the film is set.

As Walrus has pointed out late 1700's Frigates in Europe were between 28 to 36 gun warships. Their primary role was to serve as "the eyes of the fleet". America did not possess a deep water navy her Frigates mounted 44 guns.

Into the early 1800's British Frigates mounted between 36 and 38 guns. But the main difference was not in the number of guns but also in the type of guns mounted. Nelson's adage (epitomised by his final signal at Trafalgar "Close Action") caused the Royal Navy to arm their Frigates with a disproportionate number of carronades (very light guns that fired an enormous weight of shot/chain shot/Grape.
Their disadvantage however was that the effective range was reduced.

During the war of 1812, the American 44's mounted long guns and could stand off the 36-38 gun British frigates and disable them before closing for the kill. To counter this British Frigate captains were ordered not to engage unless the American 44 was outnumbered 2 to 1. Single ship actions did take place and some of those actions could only be described as epic. Royal Navy tactics proved successful, apart from very rare raids, the American Navy was penned in American east coast ports. This had one significant drawback, experienced crews, arms and commanders were released for service on the Great Lakes, where the American Navy proved extremely effective.

The Royal Navy's 74's of the time were the real killing ships of the era. Most favoured by the commanding officers were French 74's captured in the early part of the French Revolutionary War, they were better built and the casting of their guns was better. Manned by British sailors they could be fought better than any other warship of their time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Naemanson
Date: 26 Nov 03 - 03:18 AM

Wasn't there some discussion at the time that the new US couldn't and wouldn't build line of battle ships? I think there was some discussion that we shouldn't try to go toe-to-toe with a British fleet. The compromise, as Walrus points out, was to build huge frigates and avoid a driect confrontation with massed fleets. With the ships they built they were able to bring individual ships to action and avoid contact with the larger vessels.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 26 Nov 03 - 04:20 AM

Walrus, as a sometime adopted son of Lichfield, I think it's safe to say that you should take anything Dr Johnson said cum grano salis: his attitude was, "if it gets a laugh, keep it in the act", regardless of accuracy.

William Bligh -- was there ever a man so misrepresented by posterity? His curse was to be a scrupulously honest and fair man who couldn't understand why people weren't all as honest and fair in return; he took any deceit to be a betrayal. I reccomend Gavin Kennedys Bligh. Don't read Nordhoff & Hall's Mutiny on The Bounty unless you bear in mind it's a pack of lies.

Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Teribus
Date: 26 Nov 03 - 06:04 AM

Well said Steve, no statement ever penned.

Well versed in mathematics and science, a talented writer and illustrator.

First went to sea at the age of 7.

Joined the Royal navy at the age of 15

Sailing Master to Captain James Cook at the age of 22

Naval actions fought:
Dogger Bank - 1781
Gibraltar - 1782
Camperdown - 1797 - In Command
Copenhagen - 1801 - In Command (commended for his bravery in action by Nelson)

His voyage in the Bounty in 1783 and the resulting Mutiny, for which he has been unjustly vilified. His voyage, with 18 others in a ships boat measuring 23ft long and a beam of 6ft 9" from Tofua to Timor even today is considered one of the epic feats of survival and navigation. The voyage lasted 47 days and covered a distance of 3618 nautical miles without the loss of a single man.

In 1801 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society for his distinquished work associated with navigation and botony.

In 1805 he became Governor of New South Wales, where he did his utmost to stamp out corruption. He trod on too many toes making money and he was deposed by a mutiny in 1808, led by a Major Johnstone. Released two years later he returned to England where he was exhonorated, Johnstone on the other hand was sent for trial and cashiered from the Army in disgrace.

In 1814 he was promoted to Vice Admiral.

Remarkable man indeed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Teribus
Date: 26 Nov 03 - 06:19 AM

Ooops, couple of corrections/clarifications need to my last post:
"Well said Steve, no statement ever penned."

Should read - "Well said Steve, no better statement ever penned."

Also during the Rum Riot in 1808,

"He trod on too many toes making money and he was deposed by a mutiny in 1808,"

Should read - "He trod on too many toes of those making money and he was deposed by a mutiny in 1808,"


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Peter T.
Date: 26 Nov 03 - 08:22 AM

Finally saw it last night with a couple of other stalwart fans of the books, and one of us (not me) was pissed off at the liberties with the book, and the other two enjoyed it immensely (including me). I think it was beautifully, beautifully filmed, and really captured what it was like to be at sea in rough weather (I sailed on brigantines as a teenager, and it brought it all back). You really get plunged into the atmosphere. The silences are particularly well handled, the nights at sea.

I did think that the characterization of Maturin was a shame -- as said above, he should be the opposite of Aubrey -- thin, black complexioned, ill-favoured, messy, etc. I also missed the women (especially Diana, sigh). I can't see how it would have hurt the film to have had 3 minutes of "sending the lads off" which would have given us some contrast with domestic life.

I thought the sentimental side was well done. Could have done without the lingering shot of the cello though.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Melani
Date: 26 Nov 03 - 03:12 PM

I have been lucky enough recently to have a little run around the bay in a boat known as "the Bounty launch", said to be a replica of the one Bligh took to Australia after the mutiny. It's sobering to think of cramming 18 people into it and sailing thousands of miles--it's 22 feet long.

What kept the men on board was the fact that they weren't allowed off--sometimes for two years or more, even when anchored in home ports. That's why they allowed women on board. Sometimes they didn't get paid for a couple of years, either. Rather hard on their families, if they had them.

Also, more of them died of disease than in battle.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Les from Hull
Date: 26 Nov 03 - 04:56 PM

The original 3 big American frigates mounted 24pdrs, while most other nations' frigates had 18pdrs. The sides (scantlings) of the American frigates were also stronger, so that shot fired at long range from 18pdrs failed to penetrate. The proportion of long guns to carronades on American and British frigates was about the same. There was a plan on the American frigates to place carronades on the spar deck (between the forecastle and the quarterdeck) but this wasn't often done in practice because it affected the sailing qualities.

To counter these the Royal Navy had several 24pdr ships - Endymion, Cambrian, Surveillante (ex-French), which were quite a bit smaller. They quickly built others in 1813-14 (in fir); 5 repeats of Endymion, and the larger Newcastle and Java, which were similar in size to the Humphries design.

Indefatigable and Magnamine had been cut down from 64gun ships-of-the-line in 1795, carrying 24pdrs on the upper deck, but without the heavy carronade armament of the American vessels. Goliath, Saturn and Majestic were cut down from 74s in 1813, and carried 32pdrs.
Endymion and Saturn were part of the squadron that captured USS President in 1815.

Returning to the Rose (the ship used in the film for HMS Surprise), Rose is a somewhat inaccurate replica of HMS Rose, a 20gun sixth rate ('post-ship') built in 1757. Actually HMS Rose was built at Blaydes' shipyard here in Hull, less than half a mile from me, and only a few yards from where Bounty was built.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Les from Hull
Date: 26 Nov 03 - 05:23 PM

Come to think of it, the only frigate armed entirely with carronades that I can think of was USS Essex. And didn't she suffer for it!

There was no evidence that French ships were better-built than British ones (with the possible exception of the 'Surveyors of the Navy' class, or Armada class, built in merchant ship yards). French ships were sometimes better designed, but then it wasn't usually long before the British captured one and built to that design (such as the Leda class of frigates, like HMS Shannon). French ships usually carried stores for less the 6 months that the British favoured, and so their ships were sometimes faster. They were often more lightly built, which meant they did not last so long. These, of course, are generalisations and students of naval history can usually find exceptions.

American 'catters who are interested in the development of their own Navy should get hold of 'The American Sailing Navy' by Howard I Chapelle. There were 74s being built in 1799, but by 1801 an Act of Congress limited the US Navy to the ships it already had. Work on the 74s was stopped, several frigates were laid up in ordinary as an economy measure, and gunboats built for coast defence. All down to your Mr Jefferson, I believe.

Gareth - I'm not sure that there would ever be tonnage 'left over' for more fuel in the Panzershciffe. They were already 1,700 tons overweight, in spite of adopting welding and deisel engines to save weight. And the Hipper class (of 14,000 tons) had less range than the Deutschlands.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Naemanson
Date: 26 Nov 03 - 05:26 PM

"...a few yards from where Bounty was built..." Is that a distance measurement or are you referring to a few establishments engaged in shipbuilding?

On the rivers and coasts of Maine there were shipyards wherever the conditions favored the endeavor. In the spring the crews would go into the woods to cut and by winter would have a handy little schooner in the water for cargo hauling. Because they were generally built of green wood they didn't last long and must have been leaky as sin. But once the owner had run a few trips he could afford to have a better ship built and his fortune was made.

Sorry about the "drift" of the thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Les from Hull
Date: 26 Nov 03 - 05:37 PM

Actually both - about fifty yards distance. This was on the River Hull. We're so posh here we've got two rivers, Hull and Humber.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Gareth
Date: 26 Nov 03 - 07:08 PM

Les From Hull -

"Essex" comments agreed.

But there was also the HMS "Glatton" a converted East-India ship.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Wotcha
Date: 27 Nov 03 - 01:59 AM

Haven't seen the film yet as it comes out in German on 27 Novmember ... can't wait! By the way, it is too bad that a movie about Lord Cochrane ("The Sea Wolf") has not been made, since his life is stranger than fiction (and the basis for several popular sea faring characters, not just Aubrey, in the past 100 years). The exploits of Cochrane and Bernardo O'Higgins (the Chilean son of an Irish Viceroy) in liberating Chile are worth a separate movie. Cochrane was the last English lord to lose his coat of arms (later restored) and other privileges for being associated with an 1820s stock market scam ... his private efforts in assisting Chile, Brazil, and later Greece got him back in the good books ... a great combat/operational captain but lousy senior officer (he wouldn't make it in today's military where it is up or out ...!).

Cheers,

Brian


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Gareth
Date: 27 Nov 03 - 12:10 PM

Hmmm ! From todays Grauniad Click 'Ere - Have fun !

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Teribus
Date: 27 Nov 03 - 12:37 PM

Hi Gareth,

According to the Grauniad - I'm getting my own Command.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Les from Hull
Date: 27 Nov 03 - 01:45 PM


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Les from Hull
Date: 27 Nov 03 - 01:49 PM

Yes I know about Glatton - she was a two deck ship (fourth rate 56) and so not a frigate. But the idea of having a full set 68 pounder carronades on the gun deck, and a full set of 42 pounders on the upper deck - that's some weight of metal!

So who is it in the Guardian that thinks there's a crow's nest on a naval vessel? Hands to witness punishment...


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Nov 03 - 02:13 PM

I was in our local cinema today and saw a notice about Master and Commander: "Contains moderate violence and one use of strong language".

Can this film really be as true-to-life as has been suggested. "One use of strong language" - surely sailors have never been quite that restrained!


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Blowzabella
Date: 27 Nov 03 - 07:05 PM

I'm not claimimg to be an expert in anything here, so please don't jump on me but - I remember reading that once, when Nelson returned to Burnham Thorpe, he was appalled at the conditions that he saw farm labourers were living in. When you consider what conditions were like in the Navy, what on earth were they like in late C18th / early C19th Norfolk, if Nelson felt so strongly about it.

Also, unless there was a 'hot press' (ie if there was a real urgent need for a lot of men, such as in 1803/4 after the Treaty of Amiens had failed - during which lots of sailors had been discharged) the press gangs really only wanted men with experience of the sea. A crew of landsmen were not what they were looking for. In a hot press, however, this all went to the wall and even many 'reserved occupations' (correct terminology escapes me) were fair game.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Naemanson
Date: 27 Nov 03 - 11:56 PM

You may be right, Blowzabella, but remember it is only human to overlook the injustices under our noses and be aghast at those elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 28 Nov 03 - 04:22 AM

Talking of the Guardian, a "weather gauge" must be a thing for measuring weather; I think they meant "weather gage". What irony: they manage to spell a word correctly and still get it wrong!


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Nov 03 - 06:48 AM

Here's a weather gauge to put on your key ring.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Naemanson
Date: 30 Nov 03 - 11:42 PM

My sister sent me a poster from the movie. It shows a ship (Surprise?) obviously the worse for wear, possibly after a battle, just coming out of the smoke or fog. I will see the movie tonight so I will have a better idea later on.

But it sure looks good on my office wall.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Amos
Date: 30 Nov 03 - 11:49 PM

It is a fine movie, very well produced, nicely turned, nicely detailed; there is plot enough, but there is room for more. I am very glad I saw it, and I won't go twice. I have concluded that no matter how well done the film, the feel of a real deck will never quite make it to the screen.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Naemanson
Date: 01 Dec 03 - 08:32 AM

One of my siblings actually dragged my father to see the movie. His comment was that he should have taken along a plastic bag full of sewage and dirt because the only detail they overlooked was the smell.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Schantieman
Date: 01 Dec 03 - 10:05 AM

I saw it on Saturday (with Ms L) and, despite my usual scepticism was impressed by both the historical and textual accuracy. The effect of the shot in the battle scenes was particularly impressive, and I found the amputation of Blakeney's arm (Ms L couldn't watch!)and the death of his friend in the boarding quite moving.

On the debit side, the ship was once or twice seen to be 'sailing' at several knots with no waves, virtually no wind and a distinct propeller wake! And why was Bonden (the boatswain, if I remember rightly) at the wheel so often? And why did Aubrey take the wheel from him or from the quartermaster...

...But on the whole, very impressive and a good evening out. I must now re-read the books!

Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Lady Hillary
Date: 01 Dec 03 - 10:13 AM

I generally enjoyed the film. One point of annoyance, though, was that the movie ended as did so many of the books--off on another chase. It is obvious that there will be a sequel. Will Leftenant Pullings survive in this one? He is a continuing presence in the books.

The singer was a Mid, not a lieutentant and he was cutting into the crew's enjoyment as well as compromising his own distance from them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Lady Hillary
Date: 01 Dec 03 - 10:19 AM

The above should have concluded:

EBarnacle on Lady Hillary's machine.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: MartinRyan
Date: 02 Dec 03 - 04:41 AM

Saw the film last night. Enjoyed it very much. I think they did an excellent job of capturing much of the essence of the book series, without getting too bogged down in the cumulative detail of the latter.

As others have said, the Maturin portrayed is, in come ways, rather different from the original - but quite effective despite that.

As a sailor, my nose twitched suspiciously occasionally in some scenes that didn't quite ring true - but rather less often than I expected!

Regards


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Teribus
Date: 02 Dec 03 - 04:53 AM

Watched a bit of a documentary on the making of the film last night. It included an interview with Russel Crowe.

When asked about the character he had played, he then came out with something to the effect,

"Aubrey was a very complex man, full of contradictions, his unquestionable sense of duty, combined with the fact that at any time he could have been found guilty of treason for permitting a catholic to serve onboard his ship as ship's surgeon"

The setting of the film is around 1807? Catholic Relief Act passed 29 years earlier allowed catholics to join HM Forces without having to swear allegiance to the Church of England, further Relif Act passed in 1793, which gave catholics the vote. Neither were repealled so - Who on earth fed him such tripe???


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 02 Dec 03 - 05:16 AM

As Stephen himself said, albeit in jest, as an RC he would never be able to host his own flag. But he could hold his Warrant quite legitimately.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Dani
Date: 02 Dec 03 - 08:24 AM

McGrath, that's interesting! The rating over here is, "PG-13 for intense battle sequences, related images and brief language." Are y'all just more battle-hardened, or did they clean it up for UK viewers??

Dani


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Dani
Date: 02 Dec 03 - 08:31 AM

BTW, www.winstonchurchill.org (went there to check on some quotes ;) has some fascinating info on an amazing man. You can check out his actions by the DAY! He made some really wonderful observations on Ireland's relationship with England.

Dani


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Naemanson
Date: 02 Dec 03 - 04:01 PM

Well, I saw it last night, at last. Short review? Good solid action movie, scrupulously researched and accurate in most of its detail. Short on plot but it comes across as one incident in a long career so the weak plot is acceptable because the movie is a snapshot of one mission during a long war. Over all I liked the movie.

[Caution! What I say next I say in the full knowledge that the characters could never be portrayed on the screen as they were on the page.]

BUT! It was not Patrick O'Brian's characters. Sure, they had the same name but it was not them. Aubrey held himself aloof from the crew AND HIS OFFICERS. He usually had trouble getting the gunroom to lighten up in his presence. The RARE meals they shared were always overly formal. Aubrey would never have displayed himself like Crowe's interpretation of the character.

Maturin always understood the needs of the service and though he chafed at missing out on naturalist opportunities he understood that the captain was the ultimate decision maker and could not be contradicted. He was scrupulous in separating their friendship from his place on the ship as a warrant officer.

Bonden was NOT a hobbit. *grin* Barrett Bonden was a big man, a long time sailor, a fore mast jack, and a hard fighting loyal follower of the captain.

There was too much emotion. The 19th century British upper society male was a study in control. The captain held himself above silly human emotions. That control was vital to dealing with other people in an age when everyone was armed and ready to take offense. At the beginning of the 19th century society was just emerging from a time when disagreements could degenerate into fights that ended with the death of one participant. The elaborate ritual and dance of evey day interaction was intended to avoid that but dueling was still possible. Fighting became more and more formalized until finally outlawed. As a result men had to act within a very restricted set of social rules. Actions of others were carefully gauged and measured, looking for anything that might be interpreted as offence. Any evidence of weakness was avoided because that gave potential enemies an advantage. Any man could be an enemy so all were treated equally, with distance and formality. In such a world finding a real friend (as in Aubrey and Maturin) was a golden opportunity. Still, the formality was a vivid part of even that relationship.

Now that is off my chest let me repeat. I liked the movie. I hope they make a sequel to continue the chase.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: MartinRyan
Date: 03 Dec 03 - 04:50 PM

Naemanson

I agree completely about the meals! The atmosphere portrayed was far too democratic!

Regards


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Matthew B.
Date: 03 Dec 03 - 05:59 PM

Does anyone know the name of the song the crew sang right

after Spanish Ladies was halted?

It was to the tune of The Bonnie Ship the Diamond but

began with something like Come all you bold young sailor

lads; a warning take by me, and never leave the lass you

love to plow the raging sea....


It's a version I'm not aware of. Any
one know it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Blowzabella
Date: 03 Dec 03 - 07:17 PM

If John Wayne had ever made a film about being a swash buckling British sea captain, this would have been the movie for him.

From an earlier post - well good enough for me is what I say!

Seriously though - I enjoyed it very much - i have read the books, but long enough ago not to remember them word for word, so I wasn't distracted by detractions from the storyline. I got a bit amused at Russell's posing halfway up the bowsprit - to look bold and imposing - instead of being on the quarter deck - but that's modern men for you, no sense of proper form! It was beautifully filmed, atmospheric and conjured up a reasonable idea of life at sea - not as well as 'Perfect Storm' but that's a different kettle of swordfish!


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Les from Hull
Date: 03 Dec 03 - 08:09 PM

Still not got to see it ('cos Maggie's poorly a bit), but on the 'making of' kind of prog on UK TV I did notice that the music track included the tune 'Nancy Dawson', the tune that O'Brien mentions in the books was used for the grog issue. (It starts a bit like 'here we go round the mulberry bush') So I suppose that's in there too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: artbrooks
Date: 03 Dec 03 - 08:13 PM

I watched the first of the new Hornblower movies on TV last night, and thought it was very antiseptic compared to M&C. The acting was pretty wooden, everyone was neat and clean, and the battle scenes were contrived. I plan to watch the next one tonight.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Naemanson
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 01:53 AM

Oh! And what was that about taking the rear wheels off the gun carriages? Did the producers overlook the fact that there is an elevation adjustment on cannon? Give me a break! Those guns would have destroyed the deck and the carriages would have come apart under the strain.

Grumble, grumble, gripe, gripe.

I STILL insist I liked the movie but that point has been bothering me since I saw it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST,Val
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 05:16 AM

Apparently the bit about the gun carriages is factual, though - taken straight out of one of Cochrane's escapades


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: EBarnacle
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 03:33 PM

Art, consider that the distance between officers and crew was probably closer to the relationship found in HH than in M&C.

As has been said, in an age when every man stood ready to defend his honour to the death, distance was the only protection. The distance between officers and men is especially important to maintain when the officer may have to sacrifice crew members in part or in whole without visible emotion [that stiff upper lip, remember].

In some respects, the distance is analogous to that between a farmer and the animals who would have to be sold or eaten for meat. They might recognize them but they would not get friendly with them.

The HH series is significantly closer to the books than M&C is to the series. The stories, with significant variation for salability, follow the stories as written. The relationships seem true to the tale as written. My key question is: How is Hornblower going to be aged believeably over the remainder of the series.

I also noted that the auxiliary vessels used in HH seem to be vessels which have appeared at the various festivals over the past few years. These vessels generally are accurate replicas of period vessels and are built for local pride.

I do, however, question the vessel used as Hotspur. The hull does not look like a period sloop of war.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Naemanson
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 09:37 PM

Early on in this thread someone (Guest?) compared M&C with Pirates Of The Carribean. Now, I won't dignify that with an answer but last night I watched the How-We-Made-The-Movie section of the DVD for POTC.

The ship they used for the Interceptor was the Lady Washington that Charley Noble has immortalized in song. They RENTED her for the movie and then drastically changed her appearance, cutting ports for the cannon, building up her stern and generally playing havoc with a sweet piece of the shipwright's craft.

There was no word, of course, as to the reaction of the owners to what they did to the ship. Does anyone out there know?


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: BillR
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 02:55 AM

Naemanson,
    The Gray's Harbor Historical Seaport Authority (The Lady's owner) was well aware of what Disney's people did to her. I thinbk they even helped design the changes. Part of the deal for renting here was that Disney would put here back the way they found here when they were done.
When I last saw the Lady a month or so ago she still had here PotC paint job and you could see where the extra gun ports were, but otherwise she looke like the Lady I know.

-Bill


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 07:39 PM

Just saw it today, and I'd advise anyone to go and see it. Definitely one for the big screen, it'd be lost on a telly. Though it would be interesting to know what they were saying in some of the dialogue.

And there's some lovely music in there.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: LadyJean
Date: 06 Dec 03 - 12:59 AM

With regards to the Lady Washington.
A lot of people have made a lot of movies here in Pittsburgh. When a film crew uses something, your neighborhood, they treat it as though it was theirs to break. They will cut down trees, if they get in the way.   
The crew from "Shades of Gray" played frisbee on the roof of our landmark building.   

They will tow your car, they will trash your garden.
They will treat the locals with neither respect or courtesy. Nor will they use any of the local businesses.
If a film crew visits your neighborhood, tell them to go away.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Gareth
Date: 06 Dec 03 - 07:28 PM

Well - If I can find the time next week I'am off to the Multi-Screen Cinema at Nantgarrw.

But a word of warning to ye Yankees. Jack Aubry may have been wounded whilst on board the HMS "Java" but as an excaped prisoner he was also on board the HMS "Shannon" that day off Cape Cod.

I look forward to the film, and, I suspect, the sequel - That is if they follow up "Desolation Island", and "The Fortune of War".

As Jack would say "Parse that, you b****r !"

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Naemanson
Date: 06 Dec 03 - 07:45 PM

Thanks for the reassurance, BillR. As for movie crews, LadyJean, there have been a few in Maine over the last decade. They made mel Gibson's Man Without A Face and Kevin Costner's Message In A Bottle in my home town. I have not heard any reports of the crews brutalizing the locals or the local scenery. However, I once met a woman whose father refused to rent them his cabin for use in Message because he thought they'd ruin it. The rented a cabin two doors down and ruined it. They almost doubled the size but the construction was pretty shoddy. This friend stayed at her father's cabin and watched the filming. She met Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman's wife, and they walked the beach together a few times. there were stories all over town about meetings with Paul Newman, Kevin Costner and Robin Wright-Penn.

And the locals got a good laugh ouut of some of the things the movie people did. The daughter of another friend got a job as an assistant to the props director. The gave her a handful of cash so she could pop down to the local junk shops to get old stuff for use in the movie. At one point she over heard the prop crew discussing the design of a table for the baot launching party in the movie. She told them that these were boat builders and fishermen. They would put some planks on a couple of saw horses and that would be that. Later she heard them arguing over the design of the sawhorses!

It was great fun.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST,Teribus
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 03:08 AM

Finally got to see the film last night, thought it was excellent. I hope that there will be more of them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Melani
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 04:16 PM

Naemanson--Some of the meals Jack ate with the gunroom were overly stilted and formal, but then sometimes they loosened up and went well as dinner progressed, especially after a few bottles. Jack liked nothing better than a successful dinner where everyone had fun. He mostly ate alone or just with Stephen, but usually had Sunday dinner in the gunroom. He also at various times would invite the midshipman and officer of the watch to eat breakfast with him, largely because he wanted to give the hungry midshipmen a shot at a big breakfast. The dinner shown in the movie was one of the jollier ones, late in the meal when they were passing the port around.

I agree with BillR about the Lady Washington--apparently the movie was seen as a chance to get some needed work done. I noticed they replaced her giant tiller with a wheel for the movie--I guess the tiller didn't look pirately enough for Disney. I assume they put the tiller back afterwards.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST,Ooh-Aah
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 12:43 AM

Many of the criticisms made above are accurate. However at its worst it was the best sailing ship film I've ever seen. At its best I felt like I was INSIDE the books, especially when Jack and Stephen were playing music together. The cavils fade into isignificance compared to the wonderful achievement - one of the few films I've seen approaching the books it's based on. I'll be seeing it again!


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST,Teribus
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 12:55 AM

Very true Melani,

Commanding Officers of RN ships did, and still do, eat alone. The Wardroom (Officers Mess) is the only compartment of an RN ship that the Captain cannot just walk into, he must be invited, or he must ask permission. While I was "in", the latter, out of courtesy was extended to Senior and Junior Rates Messes, for any Officer entering a Mess who was not on duty. The only time a cap is worn in the ship is when you are on duty - a hang over from my time in the RN is that it still irks me when I see people wearing hats in-doors and at the table.

The midshipman (lowliest "rank" in the navy) thing regarding meals was something that Nelson was well known for, he encouraged it and his "band of brothers" continued it. Nelson's advice was to get the midshipmen out of the ship as often as possible, in order that they could experience things other than life in a purely naval enviroment. It was also a way of informally determining how the midshipmen were faring onboard professionally and personally. The midshipmen's mess onboard an RN ship was called the Gunroom. Mid-to-late sixties some RN ships (Assault ships, Aircraft Carriers, some DLG's) still maintained that tradition, in the remainder of the fleet the mid's were members of the Wardroom.

The Royal Navy, of the time in which the film is set, differed from the Army in that Commissions could not be bought, an officer had to prove his competance, training first as a midshipman, then he had to pass an examination in seamanship and navigation to progress to the rank of Lieutenant. After that promotion was down to a mixture of merit, influence, luck, sickness and the violence of the sea or the enemy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: EBarnacle
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 01:16 AM

Well put, Teribus. In earlier eras, commissions could be bought, as captains at times had to provide their own warships. This precedent may relate to the development of privateering and the way many of the early vessels of the United States Navy. [I am on somewhat slippery ground here.] I believe that the tradition changed around the time of Samuel Pepys or a little later. Vestiges of it continued into the 19th century in that mids were expected to serve for nominal or no wages and their parents were expected to endow them for their apprenticeship.

I am currently rereading the whole series and am, as usual, annoyed over O'B's habit of writing his pages and stopping in mid adventure. He then picks up the next book. Specifically, the Ionian Mission, Treason's Harbor and the first part of The Far Side of the World should be one book. Of course, fewer books would have been sold that way... The first few pages of FSOTW explain Hollum's presence on board and give the genesis of his "Jonahism."


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 04:15 AM

Personally, I'm grateful that POB did split the series up into smallish epsodes -- it was so frustrating to finish one and have to wait so long for the next!

Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 08:00 PM

Watching the passage of Cape Horn I was wishing that someone could make a film about the non military ships in the latter half of the 19th century, and the men who sailed in them - but with the same degree of graphic accuracy.   And it'd be able to have shanties, of course.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST,Teribus
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 03:35 AM

Kevin,

They have actual film footage of that, and it is awesome. B and W of course and a bit grainy but still very impressive. You would also have to add your own sound track.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 11:43 AM

Just a correction to what Naemanson said above about the ballad "The Wreck of the Lady Washington." I do sing the song but it was composed by Micki Perry in 1991 of Washington state after her unfortunate encounter with a railroad bridge.

Still haven't seen this movie but I'm looking forward to it. With regard to Teribus's point about the passage of Irish Catholic "reform laws," I would suggest that O'Brian is correct that actual discrimination in the Royal Navy continued for years, if not decades.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST,Teribus
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 12:20 AM

"Aubrey was a very complex man, full of contradictions, his unquestionable sense of duty, combined with the fact that at any time he could have been found guilty of treason for permitting a catholic to serve onboard his ship as ship's surgeon"

The penalty suggested sounds abit more than discrimination Charley. In time of war particularly around that era I don't think that the navy were too choosey about where they got their men - a quick look at the different nationalities onboard "Victory" at Trafalgar shows that. The Catholic Relief Act of 1778 was introduced for one reason, to allow catholics to enlist without having to swear allegiance with ties to the Church of England. Our American friends might notice the significance of the date, which might explain why the British needed people under the colours.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Naemanson
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 01:04 AM

I don't think there was any danger in Maturin's serving as a warrant officer. The problem would have come in if he had been taken into the Navy as an officer. Then he would have been required to swear and oath to the king and as a Catholic he could not swear allegiance to anyone, king, captain, or other above the pope. As O'Brian explained in the story warrant officers didn't have to take that oath.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST,evilc
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 08:02 PM

lets get one thing straight russell crowe is not an australian . he comes from new   zealand. secondly he is a terrible actor. thirdly no matter how much he tries to buy his way into an australian community ,and act like a yobbo,he will always be a kiwi to me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: artbrooks
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 08:24 PM

Funny, I thought he was English, trying to speak American.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 08:31 PM

Born in New Zealand, but grew up in Australia from the age of four - I think most people would count that as being Australian enough.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 08:55 PM

"as a Catholic he could not swear allegiance to anyone, king, captain, or other above the pope."

Not so.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Naemanson
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 09:48 PM

That was my understanding from the books. Can you elaborate McGrath?

Or do we have to go to the dueling grounds, O'Brian books at 10 paces!


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: mouldy
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 04:20 AM

I went to see it last night with my daughter and her friend.
It is around 30 years since I read any of the books, and so I went in just to see an adventure and to take it at face value.
We all enjoyed it. I liked the nice little touch shown as the ship went through the icy southern waters the poor sod risking frostbite in delicate areas as he relieved himself off the bows! This lead to thoughts of the stench while they were becalmed, to say nothing of the even higher risk of disease, if that were not already high enough, given conditions on ships at the time.

I think the girls enjoyed it. Mine is hoping to do English lit with film and tv studies (or media) at uni next year. Her friend has applied to drama school. This shows in the way they react to films. My lass will show a greater interest in continuity, special effects and the like, as well as the dialogue, whereas her friend will extract pieces of dialogue she likes and play around with them, before anything else. (Ruth says she is expecting the text messages she receives in the near future to be full of naval jargon).

On the continuity/music - did anyone notice the final duet, where Aubrey ceases strumming his fiddle and starts bowing...and for a few seconds, while he is picking up his bow, the fiddle strumming continues alongside that of the cello? We were already primed on this one as Ruth had heard about it. (Nothing to do with her actually being a fiddler herself!)

As we were sad enough to sit through the credits, we noticed that WETA in New Zealand worked on some of the special CGI effects.

One of the ships (Grand Turk) used in the Hornblower films was on show at Whitby this year, and although it has been built to a slightly larger scale between decks to accommodate the increased average height these days, it did give quite a good indication of the lack of space on these vessels. The captain's cabin was very similar to that of the Surprise, but it wasn't in such close proximity to the gundeck that all you had to do was remove a partition! I remember the rudder mechanism running through it, so I understood what the officers were looking at when they toasted the change of course.
Les will be able to say more about the Turk, perhaps.

I think my one abiding memory of the first of the books I read was the description of the terrible injuries sustained in battle, not so much from shot as from flying splinters.

Andrea


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 04:29 AM

Did Crowe go toi Australia of his own accord? In England we belive that makes a big difference to his nationality!

Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST,Teribus
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 08:26 AM

Somebody just sent me this - it is of the period - might amuse some of you:

LITTLE KNOWN NAVAL HISTORY
The U.S.S. Constitution (Old Ironsides) as a combat vessel carried 48,600 gallons of fresh water for her crew of 475 officers and men. This was sufficient to last six months of sustained operations at
sea. She carried no evaporators (fresh water distillers).

However, let it be noted that according to her log, "On July 27, 1798,
the U.S.S. Constitution sailed from Boston with a full complement of 475 officers and men, 48,600 gallons of fresh water, 7,400 cannon shot, 11,600 pounds of black powder and 79,400 gallons of rum."

Her mission: "To destroy and harass English shipping." Making Jamaica on 6 October, she took on 826 pounds of flour and 68,300 gallons of rum. Then she headed for the Azores, arriving there 12 November. She
provisioned with 550 pounds of beef and 64,300 gallons of Portuguese wine. On 18 November, she set sail for England.

In the ensuing days she defeated five British men-of-war and captured and scuttled 12 English merchantmen, salvaging only the rum aboard each. By 26 January, her powder and shot were exhausted. Nevertheless, and though unarmed, she made a night raid up the Firth of Clyde in Scotland. Her landing party captured a whiskey distillery and transferred 40,000 gallons of single malt Scotch aboard by dawn.

Then she headed home.

The U.S.S. Constitution arrived in Boston on 20 February 1799, with no cannon shot, no food, no powder, NO rum, NO wine, NO whiskey and 38,600 gallons of stagnant water.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: artbrooks
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 11:37 AM

So, they all drank rum and wine in preference to stagnant water...the point would be? (GBG)


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Les from Hull
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 12:24 PM

So why was the Constitution attacking British shipping in 1798? Then it was jolly nice of us to reprovision her in Jamaica.

Does anyone really believe that someone anyone could drink well over 180 gallons of spirits (plus the wine) in an eight months cruise?

Mouldy - at the time nearly all the cabins were made of temporary partitions which were struck into the hold on 'clearing for action'. These 'replica' ships can't be that accurate because of modern safety regulations, which is fair enough.

You can get a better idea of what conditions would have been like by visiting the preserved warships, such as HMS Trincomalee at Hartlepool. Our American friends may be interested to know that she was a sister ship of HMS Shannon (Leda class 38gun frigate)

Trincomalee


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Gareth
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 01:48 PM

Nice link Les, but when I read the story of the Silver Nail in the keel why am I reminded of the "Golden Rivit" - Could this be the origin of the story ?

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Les from Hull
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 02:26 PM

These people aren't always too expert, Gareth. They give her 'weight' as 1053 tons, but actually that's her burthen in 'builders old measurement' - a measure of size and/or carrying capacity.

These silver/golden nails often existed, but I think they were more presentation things rather than hammered into the ship/railway.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: artbrooks
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 04:37 PM

By the way, the US was at war (sorta) with France from 1778 to 1780, so that part of the story above about stopping in Jamace was likely true...I'd question the part about seizing the rum from British men-of-war and merchantmen. Also by the way, this conflict was also notable for the birth of the US Marine Corps, on July 11, 1798. The Continental Marines, whose date of establishment the US Marines of today celebrate, had been disbanded several years before.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST,evilc
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 07:35 PM

come on mcgrath,own up , is russell paying you too?


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Gareth
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 07:48 PM

Damn it Les, I give yer a feed line and yer ingnore it.

For the less nautically/salaciously minded the "Golden Rivet" was, by ledgend the last rivet put in a ship, down below near the rudder, and inocent young ships boys were assured that they would see heaven if they were to bend down and kiss the rivit.

Hence the phrase "Kissing the Golden Rivet"

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Lady Hillary
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 02:06 PM

Art, neither the US Constitution nor the Vessel Constitution existed in 1778. Check your dates. EBarnacle


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: artbrooks
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 02:39 PM

You are, of course, correct. The dates of the undeclared war between the US and France were 1798 to 1800, and the USS Constitution was launched in October 1797.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Naemanson
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 07:55 PM

Teribus, I remember seeing that article in Yankee magazine many years ago. I've always wanted find it again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: kendall
Date: 14 Dec 03 - 08:02 PM

Is this movie better than Pirates of the Caribbean? That was one of the worst films I have ever seen.
Two guys, one of them a blacksmith, steal a ship, a square rigger and sail her from Jamaica to Tortuga by themselves? That's only one complaint. It was awful.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Naemanson
Date: 15 Dec 03 - 02:04 AM

Far better, Kendall.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Lady Hillary
Date: 15 Dec 03 - 09:04 AM

Kendall, having sailed a brigantine with only one other crew member aboard, I can truly say that it's not impossible, just difficult. Actually, when everything is finally set up, it's downright pleasant. EBarnacle


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 15 Dec 03 - 10:10 AM

I remember an episode of Stingray ("Anthing can happen in the next half-hour!", but it usually didn't) that Commander Shore and his underling, whose name escapes me, sailed a replica of some historical full-rigged warship double-handed across the Atlantic (or maybe the Pacific). Even at the tender age of mid-teens, I knew that there were more ropes than crew to haul on them!


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Gareth
Date: 15 Dec 03 - 02:30 PM

Hwy Steve, does those ropes include the strings on the puppets ?

On a more serious note as this thread seems to have drifted on to Patrick O'Brian and the age of Sail generally, this extract from that invaluble website - Ships of the old Navy Click 'Ere

I apologise in advance for the length, but it is an awkward site to fix on a ULR.

The history of HMS "Speedy" - for "Speedy" substitute HMS "Sophie" Jacj Aubery's first command.

SPEEDY,14. brig (1782 King of Dover. Launched on 29 June. 208 bm. 78 x 26 ft. Armed with fourteen 4-pounders, complement of 90 officers and men) Captured by the French in 1801)
At the outbreak of the French revolutionary wars in February 1793 Speedy was commanded by Charles CUNNINGHAM and he sailed from England with dispatches for Lord HOOD at Gibraltar. Here he remained for a time preparing a hospital and fitting up ships for prisoners. In June 1793 SPEEDY took M. Calonne, an ex-minister of France, from Gibraltar to Naples on a political visit and afterwards maintained communication between Lord HOOD and the neutral port of Genoa, where British ships had been detained. On 5 October SPEEDY accompanied BEDFORD,74, and CAPTAIN,74, to Genoa and assisted in seizing the MODESTE frigate and two armed tartans. SPEEDY and CAPTAIN then sailed for Porta Especia in search of the French frigate IMPERIEUSE,4O. She scuttled herself but was raised and taken into the Royal Navy as UNITE. When CUNNINGHAM was ordered to commission UNITE, a Lieut. Wilson RATHBORNE was appointed out of CAPTAIN to command SPEEDY, but he was superseded a few days later by one of the Admiral`s own lieutenants, George COCKBURN.
Her next captain was George EYRE. SPEEDY was captured by three of the enemy`s frigates off Nice on 9 June 1794. She was recaptured by Capt. Thomas FREMANTLE in INCONSTANT,36, on 27 March 1795.
In the summer of 1795 SPEEDY was with the squadron commanded by Commodore NELSON cooperating with the Austrian and Piedmontese armies. In April 1796 six vessels laden with cannon and ordnance stores for the siege of Padua had sailed from Toulon. On 1 May NELSON drove them to take shelter under a battery and MELEAGER led AGAMEMNON, SPEEDY AND PETERELL in until they brought up in four fathoms of water. The boats went in under fire from four 18-pdrs and musketry fom the shore, and brought them off.
1798 Hugh DOWNMAN. During the time he commanded SPEEDY he captured several privateers. At daylight on 3 February 1798, some 17 leagues west of Vigo, with a prize he had captured the day before, he discovered a brig bearing down on him. When she got to within half a mile she hauled her wind and opened fire. SPEEDY closed and engaged her for two and a half hours when she tacked and made sail away. SPEEDY followed and continued the engagement for another two hours until light winds separated them out of gunshot. In spite of using the sweeps, Capt DOWNMAN had the mortification of seeing the enemy firing a few shots at his prize without being able to reply. The 12 men on board her battened down 26 Spaniards and made their escape in a small boat. When a breeze sprang up Capt. DOWNMAN continued the chase through the following day, engaging when the opportunity occured and making an unsuccessfull attempt to board, but was eventually outsailed. The next morning the prize was sighted and retaken with 10 Frenchman on board. He learnt that the brig had been the PAPILLON, 300 tons, pierced for 18 guns but mounting four 12 and ten 9-pounders. SPEEDY lost five killed, including Lieut. DUTTON and the boatswain, Mr JOHNSON, and four badly wounded. Her masts, spars and rigging were badly damaged so she went into Lisbon for repairs. The British factory at Oporto presented Capt. DOWNMAN with a piece of plate worth 50 for his efforts in protecting their trade.
1799 Jahleel BRENTON, Lisbon. On 3 October as SPEEDY was passing through the Straits of Gibraltar she made sail after several small vessels coming out of Algaciras. These proved to be eight coasters under the protection of a cutter and a schooner. Capt. BRENTON separated two of the coasters but they ran under the guns of a castle. The others were driven ashore in a bay to the eastward of Cape Trafalgar where, being on a lee shore, SPEEDY could not approach closer than four cables so Lieut. PARKER, the master, Mr MARSHALL, and the purser, Mr RICKETES, went in by boat to see if they could be brought off or set on fire. The heavy surf made it impossible to do either so they boarded them, brought off some of the firearms and threw the rest overboard. They left them wrecked and full of water.
On 6 November SPEEDY was lying off Europa Point with her convoy, the transport ship UNITY laden with wine for the fleet and a brig bound for Livorno, when 12 Spanish gunboats mounting 14 x 24-pdr guns between them came out to attack her and UNITY. Capt. BRENTON covered the escape of UNITY by opening fire with grape and musketry as he sailed through the attacking boats. Although they were driven off they caused much damage to SPEEDY's sails and hull preventing her from sailing to Gibraltar and she had to run into Tetuan Bay with water up to the lower deck to plug the holes. Two seamen, Patrick BLAKE and William PRING, were killed and one, Thomas RILEY, wounded. The naval medal was awarded to the survivors in 1847. Capt. BRENTON was promoted to Post Captain and SPEEDY sailed from Livorno to Port Mahon so that he could take over command of GENEREUSE on 19 April from Lord COCHRANE who had brought GENEREUX in after her capture.
180O Lord Thomas COCHRANE, 28 March 180O, Mediterranean. He was accompanied by his brother, midshipman Archibald COCHRANE. At the beginning of his commission he captured the French privateer INTREPIDE while escorting a convoy from Cagliari to Livorno. In June 180O SPEEDY was ordered cruise off the Spanish coast and in the next thirteen months he captured or destroyed a large number of French and Spanish privateers and merchant vessels. When SPEEDY became too well known COCHRANE was forced to adopt disguises.
While she was disguised as a Danish ship SPEEDY was approached by a large Spanish zebec out looking for her in December. COCHRANE stationed a Danish speaking officer at the gang-way and scared away the Spaniards by pretending to have come from a Barbary port where the plague was raging.
On 1 February 1801 he got himself involved in a duel with a French royalist officer in Valetta after being thrown out of a fancy-dress ball wearing the rig of a British seaman. A ball passed through Cochrane`s clothes while the Frenchman was shot in the leg.
COCHRANE took the Spanish zebec frigate, GAMO, mounting 32 guns, near Barcelona on 6 May 1801 by firing treble-shotted broadsides into her before boarding with his whole crew. The Spaniard`s shot passed harmlessly overhead. When COCHRANE first saw her he mistook her for a merchantman and it was only when she opened her disguised ports that her true nature was discovered. SPEEDY's fourteen 4-pounders were matched against twenty-two long 12-pounders, eight 9- pounders and two carronades and her 54 officers, men and boys against 319 men. (COCHRANE's crew had been reduced by men sent in prizes to Port Mahon two days before)
The Spanish losses were 15 killed, including the captain, Don Francisco de Torris, and 41 wounded. The British lost 3 killed and 8 wounded. The naval medal was awarded for this operation. The French crew were taken to Port Mahon as prisoners in the hold of their own vessel with guns loaded with cannister pointing down the hatchways and men with lighted matches standing by.
Lord COCHRANE and his men made very little in the way of prize money when the Government refused to buy her. His official letter was not forwarded for a month and his request for promotion for his 1st lieutenant, Richard Parker, who had been wounded, was rejected on the grounds that only a small number were killed in SPEEDY. COCHRANE found himself out of favour with the Admiralty when he retorted that they were higher than in VICTORY when Lord St. VINCENT had become an earl and his first captain a knight.
On 1 June SPEEDY fell in with KANGAROO, Capt. PULLING, off Barcelona where they spoke a privateer from Minorca who gave information that a Spanish convoy of twelve sail with five armed escorts had passed to windward five days earlier. They sailed in pursuit and on the 8th they closed inshore to attack the tower at Almanara which mounted two brass 4-pounders. After repeated calls for surrender were ignored they were forced to blow it up. Lord COCHRANE and two of his men were singed and received a few bruises but were not seriously hurt. On the morning of 9 June, they sighted the convoy at anchor under the battery of Oropeso. SPEEDY led the way into the bay and both brigs anchored within half a gun shot of the enemy by noon and kept up a brisk exchange of fire with a battery of twelve guns, a xebec of twenty guns and three gun-boats. At two o'clock a 12-gun felucca and two more gun-boats reinforced the enemy but by half past three the xebec and one of the gun-boats sank, followed by another shortly after. In the evening KANGAROO went in and silenced the tower then, until midnight, the boats of the two brigs under Lieut. FOULERTON of KANGAROO and Lieut. WARBURTON and midshipman COCHRANE of SPEEDY were employed in cutting out three brigs laden with wine rice and bread. Later Lord COCHRANE took the same officers under his command and went inshore to try and bring off more but found the remainder were either sunk or driven ashore.
On 3 July 1801 SPEEDY, escorting a packet to Gibraltar, was chased and eventually captured by Rear-Ad. LINOIS's squadron of two battleships and a frigate as it passed through the Straits on the way from Toulon to Cadiz. The French squadron was unsuccessfully attacked in Algeciras with COCHRANE watching from the deck of the DESSAIX. SPEEDY was sighted later by RACOON in the Bay of Biscay heading for Brest under jury masts. Lord COCHRANE was sent to Gibnraltar on parole and was soon exchanged for the second captain of the SAN ANTONIO, captured on the night of the 12th.

Fact is not stranger than fiction.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Melani
Date: 15 Dec 03 - 04:12 PM

Mouldy--the "poor sod risking frostbite in delicate areas" is one of our volunteers from Hyde Street Pier in his big on-screen moment. They asked for a volunteer to do that bit, and being the quintessential volunteer...He came to us to do his mandatory high school volunteer hours, and like many people who come to Hyde Street, it totally changed his life. He learned pretty advanced rigging skills, and arranged to graduate from high school early to go work on the movie. He was last heard of aboard the Pride of Baltimore.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: EBarnacle
Date: 16 Dec 03 - 12:59 AM

There is an excellent article on Lord Cochrane in the current Smithsonian Magazine.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: kendall
Date: 16 Dec 03 - 08:17 AM

I'd have to see it. The reason they went to fore and aft rigs is because the square riggers required too many hands.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: EBarnacle
Date: 16 Dec 03 - 11:02 AM

The trick was to make the rig with more, smaller sails. We also rigged her to be furlable from the deck. It also helped that the weather was not excessive. As a result, we were able to plan our moves. When properly timed, the yards come about on their own as the vessel turns.
Also, consider that toward the end, commercial vessels followed this general approach which allowed them to sail with smaller crews.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Naemanson
Date: 16 Dec 03 - 08:12 PM

There is a wonderful book, the edited diary of Hattie Freeman, about her voyage around the world on her father's bark. They did the voyage with only 7 in the crew. It can be done apparently but I wouldn't want to do it. My father thinks one thing that made it possible was the use of donkey engines for the heavy hauling. I'm not so sure but I cannot argue with the idea.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: kendall
Date: 17 Dec 03 - 08:41 AM

One still must rest and sleep.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: EBarnacle
Date: 17 Dec 03 - 11:12 AM

That's why more than one should be aboard.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: The O'Meara
Date: 17 Dec 03 - 12:15 PM

The only consistent complaint about the movie I've heard is that much of the dialog, particularly Crowe's, is so muffled by background noise, likely the attempt at authenticity, as to be incomprehensible. I didn't notice it that much because I'm getting used to not understanding movie dialog. (Maybe it's encroaching geezerhood. Eh? Hey? How's that again? Say what?

O'Meara


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Margret RoadKnight
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 09:00 AM

Amazing how the cello & violin survived all those battles unscathed....


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 10:01 AM

Not really! They'd be stored in the hold below the waterline -- the safest place on the ship. So long as they (and everything else) were secured, they couldn't come to any harm. Everything -- furniture, partitions, you name it -- that could get in the way would be "struck down" when the crew cleared for action. (Did they take out the sash windows from the transom too?)

Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST,Teribus
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 01:06 PM

Cleared for action, screens, partitions, furniture, cots were stowed down below. Decks were wetted down and sanded, galley fires extinguished, netting was rigged to catch falling rigging and to deter boarders and hammocks brought up and placed in special stowage to protect against musketry. The ship's boats were swung out, launched and towed behind the ship. Men under punishment were released and the animals in the manger slaughtered. Finally they issued the rum, battle tot one pint neat.


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 05:58 PM

Let's clear for Action! :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Gareth
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 07:51 PM

Teribus - Mostly correct, but I suggest the Rum issue was not done till after the battle.

Now I've swilled the odd bottle of Pussers myself, and "gunfire" (tea and rum) in the early morning before casting off but a pint of 120 proof ? - no way.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 04:11 AM

Allegedly, theDutch used issue rum before a battle when they were at war with England in the 17th century; whence "Dutch courage", and other derogatory expressions.

Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 05:54 AM

Slab-sided, Dutch-built butterboxes!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Master and Commander FSOTW reviews
From: GUEST,Teribus
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 07:00 AM

Not according to my briefing as VIP Guide for HMS Victory Gareth. Did that for a couple of months, while on my Forward Observers Course, waiting for Guard's Independent Para to run a course out of Abingdon, I was too tall and too heavy to do the course with the Para's (the Guards had bigger chutes). Only VIP I had to escort was Brit Ekland.


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