liberté, égalité, fraternité
Before I begin on my weekly post, I thought I’d let everyone know my YouTube channel was deleted a couple of days ago care of retrospective copyright strikes against a couple of Laurel & Hardy shorts that were uploaded approximately 11 months ago !
I was initially devastated, as 11 months of hard work and success was literally wiped out and I had no recourse to appeal even though I had documented proof that the copyright was OK with the uploads 11 months ago. It appears they can simply change their mind.
The channel had become therapy for me to get my mind off COVID and lockdowns (I started it during Daniel Fucking Andrews last long lockdown in the 2nd half of 2021) and from a base of ground zero it had reached 1,500 subscriptions, 1.3 million views and a daily view rate of 10K+.
Fortunately I had a separate test channel which had over 2/3s of my clips uploaded, so I have decided to give it another ago (albeit this time I won’t be uploading any L&H shorts !). I also maintained a detailed spreadsheet which I used to monitor the performance of the previous channel which I will be using to initially focus on those clips that were most successful previously.
I know a number of Cats had subscribed to my old channel, and if any feel so inclined, I’d appreciate if they could subscribe to the new channel – it’s still called WW Movie Clips.
So enough of woe is me . . .
Today I’m looking at the French Revolution, and to be honest, for such an interesting and momentous episode in human history there have been very few movies that have been successful, IMO, in presenting this in a satisfactory way.
I’m not really referring to such films as A Tale Of Two Cities (1935) which although it’s the best film version of my favourite Dickens novel, it doesn’t really tackle the ideals and politics of the revolution. The same goes for the many versions of The Scarlet Pimpernel.
There was La Révolution Française a 1989 two-part French production that tried to present an even handed version of the events but I found it rather tiresome and it came across as no more than a tedious history lesson.
But for me, one film which was successful in portraying the political machinations and their deadly consequences was Andrzej Wajda’s 1983 film Danton starring Gérard Depardieu in arguably his best film performance as Danton.
The film depicts the last weeks of Georges Danton and his conflict with Robespierre during when the Reign of Terror was at its zenith.
There was some criticism of the film as it appeared to be drawing parallels between what was happening during the Reign of Terror and the situation in Poland with the Solidarity movement and its conflicts with the Soviet-backed Polish government.
Danton superbly presents the way revolutions eat their own, which is dramatically depicted in the following clip:
But the National Committee decrees that anyone who speaks out of turn at the trial will be removed. As the accused, including Danton, are bundled out of court and a verdict of guilty is read.
The consequences of a guilty verdict during the Reign of Terror:
I find this film to be a stark warning of what the ultimate consequences of idealistic revolutions and leftism will be with it’s cynical depiction of power politics, show trials and cold-blooded judicial murder.