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Dueling Works / Film - War

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  • Initiators / Followers
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Description
    • Implementation: Implementation

  • What Price Glory (1926) / Two Arabian Knights (1927)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Service comedies in which a pair of World War I soldiers spend more time and effort battling each other (particularly over a woman) than the nominal enemy.
    • Implementation: WPG begat a series of sequels (1929-1933) in which Marines Quirt and Flagg have post-war adventures, with a new woman in each sequel. This was followed by John Ford's 1952 remake.

  • All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) / Westfront 1918 (1930)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Two pacifist films released in 1930 about German soldiers in the trenches of the Western front (both even name it in their title) in the later stages of World War I, with War Is Hell as central theme.
    • Implementation: All Quiet on the Western Front is an American film based on the famous German novel by Erich Maria Remarque, while Westfront 1918 is a German film based on a lesser known German book, Four of the Infantry, by Ernst Johannsen.

  • Hangmen Also Die (1943) / Hitler's Madman (1943)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Two movies about the plot to assassinate Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich, released within five months of each other and one year after Heydrich was killed, both by anti-Nazi German film directors who'd escaped to Hollywood (Fritz Lang and Douglas Sirk respectively)
    • Implementation: Hitler's Madman was originally called Hitler's Hangman but had its title changed to avoid confusion with the previously-released Lang film.

  • So Proudly We Hail (1943) / Cry 'Havoc' (1943)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Two different dramas with mostly female casts about Army nurses in the middle of the doomed defense of Bataan in 1942, released five months apart in 1943.
    • Implementation: Cry Havoc was straight fiction while So Proudly We Hail was loosely Inspired by… a book by Army nurse and Bataan veteran Juanita Hipps.

  • Lost Command (1966) / The Battle of Algiers (1966)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Films about the Algerian War for Independence. Both movies were produced in 1966, though Command beat Algiers to American theaters by over a year.
    • Implementation: Two films about the same subject could hardly be more different. Lost Command draws on Jean Larteguy's novel The Centurions, about French paratroopers fighting in Vietnam and Algeria. It's unreservedly pro-French, albeit with a token War Is Hell message added. Battle of Algiers is a docudrama produced by Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo and sponsored by the Algerian government. Though intended as Algerian propaganda, it provides a relatively even-handed treatment of the conflict.

  • Cross of Iron (1977) / A Bridge Too Far (1977)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: British-made auteur films chronicling famous military defeats in World War II, featuring Maximilian Schell as a German officer.
    • Implementation: Cross is fictitious, told from the German perspective, and has heavy Vietnam War subtext; Bridge is explicitly based on real people and events and told from the British/American perspective.

  • Iron Eagle (1986) / Top Gun (1986)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Two films about American fighter pilots in The '80s.
    • Implementation: Iron Eagle is about a young pilot leading a rescue mission to save his father (who's in the US Air Force) who got shot down in enemy territory, and the main fighter jet featured in the film is the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. Top Gun is about the life of a young pilot of the US Navy's aviation at the elite fighter piloting school TOPGUN, and the main fighter jet featured in the film is the Grumman F-14 Tomcat.

  • Saving Private Ryan (1998) / The Thin Red Line (1998)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Both films were released in 1998 to rave reviews. Both featured an all-star cast of actors clambering over each other to appear in bit parts; both featured a 30-minute extended bloody assault on a bunker in the first half of the film followed by a long tramp across the countryside punctuated by violence. Both had HBO Spiritual Successor miniseries.
    • Implementation: SPR was set in Europe, TTRL was set in the Pacific. SPR came out several months ahead and had the natural crowd appeal of Spielberg, while reclusive director Terence Malick spent extra time on TTRL. Veterans groups complained TTRL was insufficiently sympathetic to the Allied cause, while critics complained that the second half of SPR was too mawkish.

  • Pearl Harbor (2001) / Enemy at the Gates (2001)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Both are dramatic retellings of major historical events during World War II: the former, obviously, being the attack on Pearl Harbor, while the latter is the retaking of Stalingrad from the Nazis by the Red Army. Both stories feature an All-Star Cast, a lot of special effects, action sets, violent deaths, and (inexplicably) a love triangle that receives more focus than the real life event the stories are based on. Oh yeah, and one of the two male leads dies towards the end to allow the other to be with the female love interest.
    • Implementation: Both stories are fairly similar in how they're told (a romanticized view), but the latter is arguably darker with a more dreary and dirty atmosphere and claustrophobic feel. The former on the other hand is larger in scope, thanks to its bigger budget, and is brighter and more colorful.

  • Behind Enemy Lines (2001) / Black Hawk Down (2001)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: 2001 war/actions films released a little less than a month. Each set within the backdrop of a war during the 1990's and centered around American troops who after a mission into hostile territory goes awry must survive the onslaught of the surrounding enemy and try to make it out alive.
    • Implementation: Behind Enemy Lines is set in the December of '95 during the final stages of the Bosnian War and centers around the ordeal of a lone soldier. Black Hawk Down tells of the Battle of Magdishu that occurred in the October of '93 involving the U.S. Army Rangers, Delta Force, and the 160th SOAR.

  • The Birth of a Nation (2016) / Free State of Jones (2016)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: 2016 released historical war dramas set in the American 1800's about a revolutionary who starts a revolution against the oppressive southern government.
    • Implementation: The Birth of a Nation serves a telling of the slave uprising led by the slave preacher turned revolutionary Nat Turner whilst Free State of Jones recounts the story of a militia that forms in Mississippi that fights to secede from the Confederacy.

  • We Were Soldiers (2002) / Windtalkers (2002)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: 2002 released Post-Saving Private Ryan historical war films set in a theater in East Asia.
    • Implementation: We Were Soldiers is an adaptation of the autobiographical book by Hal Moore based on his time of service during Vietnam War whilst Windtalkers is set in the Pacific conflict of World War II and based around the Navajo code speakers there.

  • The Monuments Men (2014) / Fury (2014) & Unbroken (2014)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: 2014 World War II films with in front of and or behind the camera involvement of major Hollywood Superstars.
    • Implementation:

  • Hacksaw Ridge (2016) / Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2016)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: 2016 films about young war heroes who become legends due to going above and beyond in their comrades during battle.
    • Implementation:

  • Anthropoid (2016) / The Man with the Iron Heart (2017)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Two historical war films about Operation Anthropoid, the assassination of Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich in Prague during World War II (just like Hangmen Also Die and Hitler's Madman in 1943, oddly enough). The two films were released less than a year apart.
    • Implementation: Anthropoid is directly based on the historical events and focuses solely on the Czech Resistance side of the operation with a linear narration and Heydrich only showing up for the attack scene. The Man with the Iron Heart meanwhile is for a good part a Biopic of Heydrich's life, interwoven in Anachronic Order with the point of view of the Czechoslovak Resistance operatives, and it is based on a historical novel.

  • Churchill (2017) / Darkest Hour (2017)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Two films about Winston Churchill when he was the UK's Prime Minister during World War II.
    • Implementation: Churchill stars Brian Cox as the eponymous character and deals with his state of mind in the days preceeding the Normandy landings in 1944. Darkest Hour stars Gary Oldman as Churchill, and follows his early days as Prime Minister, as Britain is in a dire situation during the summer of 1940.

  • Dunkirk (2017) / Darkest Hour (2017)
    • Capsule Pitch Description: Two films about the Dunkirk evacuation, taking place at the exact same time, but told from different perspectives.
    • Implementation: Dunkirk depicts the evacuation as it happens on the ground, in the sea, and in the air, focusing on several individual soldiers to convey the dramatic tense of the situation. Darkest Hour focuses on Winston Churchill and the political discussions taking place at the exact same time.