Thursday, October 25, 2007

Today In History: St. Crispin's Day.

On this date in 1415, the Frogs got their crepes folded after the most rousing pre-battle speech ever fabricated ex post facto by a playwright:



(H/T to rightwingnation)

16 comments:

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Has the Screenwriter for this movie done anything else? He seems pretty good...

TBeck said...

I'm partial to Theoden's pep talk from the Return of the King, too. Bernard Hill did a fantastic job with the speeches in the PJ films, both at Helm's Deep and Pellenor Fields.

TBeck said...

Here's the speech. It's definitely Henry da V material.

"Forth! Down fear of darkness! Arise! Arise, Riders of Théoden! Spears shall be shaken, shields shall be splintered! A sword day... a red day... and the sun rises! Ride now... Ride now... Ride! Ride for ruin and the world's ending! Death!"

Mark said...

See, that's the problem with wars these days. You never have a proper ruck.

Shoddy, simply shoddy. Someone should have a word with the other team, they're taking all the fun out of it.

Zendo Deb said...

See I thought the version in the Danny DeVito movie - Renaissance Man - was better.

As for more current speeches, the opening of Patton was comparable.

comatus said...

Short version: Don't try the shellfish.

Ever hear Olivier mince through this? I don't think of myself as having generational prejudices, but, gee, there's a reason it was forgotten for 40 years. They tell me J.Wilkes Booth's brother would really spit it out, though.

Tam said...

I don't know what it is, but I have watched this clip a half dozen times today and burst into tears every time.

No slur on Tolkien, tbeck, but Billy Shakespeare sure could put words together real pretty-like. Theoden would have been better off just stealing the lines verbatim.

comatus said...

jovian, just chick-flicks and a couple of sitcoms. Oh yeah, and a ghost story.

Zendo, Patton didn't sound like George C. Scott. People who heard him (I know quite a few) didn't think that much of the presentation. Believe it or not, a lot of soldiers were put off by his rough language.

For a classically-composed speech with the virtue of brevity, I recommend Eisenhower's "Order of the Day" for 6/6/44.

Tam said...

I dunno, Comatus, George's kith and kin seemed to be impressed by Mr. Scott's performance.

(...and he gets bonus points for his handling of the Oscar "meat market"!)

comatus said...

well Yeah...if my close relative had been known for 30 years as the snottiest SOB in the service ("and, he slapped a Soldier!"), and then George C. Scott came out of the blue, I'd highly approve, too.

I don't try to judge Patton as a commander (even though I had to spend an endless weekend in Luxembourg with the 9th Armored, hearing about how nobody else in Europe did shit); all I'm saying is that sergeants said he sounded like an old woman, and that he marched the 99th RCT 20 miles through sleet to hear him give a speech, in which he congratulated them for being bastids and sonsabitches, and they were not amused. That, and the fines (kind of glossed over in the movie) are all I know from first-hand, so that's all I'll comment on. I did visit his grave, though, and he's buried with his men.

Trebor said...

I love the fact that my wife and I married on the anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt. We are both into medieval history and we met through the SCA while shooting archery.

We picked the anniversary of our first date for our wedding day and I just love how it all worked out.

Anonymous said...

Found this for a comparison, http://www.pattonhq.com/sounds.html

Audio samples from a war bond speech General Patton made back in the day, and a snippet of George C. Scott from the movie.

comatus said...

anon, thanks for that. I really enjoyed it.

trebor, more couples should choose the dates of world-changing battles, just to set the tone! I was about to say it's so funny it would be unseemly to make a joke, but I'm weak:

As an archer, you certainly know that English bowmen would unstring in the rain and keep their bowstrings dry by tucking them into their armpits. This must lead to some memorable anniversaries for you. I'm sorry; I had to say it.

Andrew Weitzman said...

Tam--this clip is from the Kenneth Branagh film version of Henry V.

I've always been partial to Shakespeare's Henry the Fifth as the ideal conscientious military commander. The St. Crispin's Day speech is the epitome of the "grab yer cojones, men, and 'ave at the barstards!" pep talk. But it would not have the resonance it does if not for a previous scene: where the King disguises himself to walk among his men incognito to find out if *they* think he's worth being part of their band of brothers.

pax said...

Listened to it a dozen times yesterday and today, and Tam, it has the same effect on me. My 12 year old is fascinated with it too, and keeps coming over to the computer to ask me to play it for him again. He and the other boys have decided we need to find a copy of that movie to watch.

I acted reluctant, and told them they'd hate it. :)

comatus said...

weitzman, well considered. In the same vein, Shkspr deals like the greatest press secretary ever with accusations that soldiers raped a nun: he has Henry hang them from a tree, drumhead, out of hand. No wonder nobody reads this stuff; it's just not relevant anymore.

It's English 353 at the Academy.