I agree with you.
Paul Bettany plays Dr. Stephen Maturin, excellently cast, in my
opinion ---- and a very young actor [reportedly 11 during the shoot]
named Max Perkis turns in a quite winning and professional performance
as a noble midshipman, Lord Blakeney.
No, Captain Jack Aubrey simply gazes somewhat lustfully at the Brazilian
beauty for perhaps five seconds and that's it ---- no sex scenes.
Quite Remarkable, as you say. She is quite some distance away in a boat
alongside H.M.S. Surprise, whereas he is standing topside, well above
her, at the rail. Risky indeed for Hollywood to have so little sex in
I was particularly pleased that several of the more complicated nautical
matters are simply NOT fully "explained" to the Lowest Common Landlubber
Denominator. People all around me were deeply puzzled about a number of
them ---- but Peter Weir maintains the film's excellent, rapid pace and
just moves on. One Naval Historian was even roundly confused, I'm told.
_Weather Gauge_ is the one nautical term explained to landlubbers ----
and Dr. Maturin, who is their stand-in ---- because it is crucial to
understanding the action.
Delightful! The film is designed for smart, alert, people who pay
attention and listen carefully. It reminded me of the Howard Hawks
Bogart/Bacall _The Big Sleep_ in that respect.
It also encourages repeat viewings to catch more detail. <g>
The opening scene alone is a remarkable practical lesson in leadership.
_Beat To Quarters_....
It's quite an extraordinary film ---- and your fellow Kiwi is
superb ---- I think you'll agree he fits the role like a finely-tailored
Best Actor nominations SHOULD flow ---- which is not to say that they
Crowe is properly beefy and looks taller in his uniform and is often
photographed from below. He also wears his hat sideways ---- which I
understand Aubrey does in the novels. He also tells us he was with
Nelson at the Battle of the Nile . He's clean-shaven.
I've not read the "O'Brian" biography but I know about his being a
poseur who abandoned a wife and a daughter with spina bifida and
therefore took on an alias. He also seems to have lied about attending
Oxford and serving in the RAF?
The English has an archaic flavor, but not so much so as to confuse
[me]. Still, I suspect many Americans will not be able to catch all the
dialogue ---- particularly that of the sailors ---- who speak naturally
in various regional accents ---- with a preponderance of Cockney or
Estuary, I suppose.
The DVD should be a treat indeed. Perhaps we'll see a Special Edition
by March 2004.
"Cliff Wright" <***@auckland.ac.nz> wrote in message news:email@example.com...
| D. Spencer Hines wrote:
| > A Historical Film For Grown-Ups:
| > ----------------------------------------------
| > "Success On the High Seas"
| > By Charles Krauthammer
| > Friday, November 14, 2003
| > The Washington Post
| > "The great director Billy Wilder was once asked about subtlety in
| > movies. "Of course, there must be subtleties," Wilder said. "Just
| > sure you make them obvious."
| > The trailer for "Master and Commander," the seafaring epic opening
| > today, can hardly be described as subtle. It is a dazzling montage
| > dramatic scenes of early 19th-century naval warfare, with
| > bodies, furniture and masts flying all over the place. Nonetheless,
| > first reaction to a screening of the film was that it was beautiful
| > brilliant, but I was not sure it would find a mass audience because
| > its subtlety.
| > Yep... A Valid Concern. We Shall See.... ---- DSH
| > Perhaps subtlety is the wrong word. It perfectly describes
| > Peter Weir's mind and manner, but perhaps refinement is the word for
| > what might hinder the film's commercial success. Weir gives us some
| > magnificently choreographed naval mayhem, but it is spread over two
| > hours of thoughtfulness and restraint.
| > The story, drawn from the Patrick O'Brian novels, is framed by
| > scenes between a British and a French warship. The TV trailer
| > " 'Gladiator' at sea." But the movie is really about the nature of
| > naval life in the age of sail, the nature of command and the nature
| > friendship (between the ship's captain and the ship's doctor).
| > Although entirely fictional, "Master and Commander" might be
| > the most dramatic and brilliant naval documentary ever made. It
| > be on the reading (viewing) list of every college course on the
| > of naval warfare. Weir has given unbelievable attention to every
| > of the period -- the cookware, the rigging, the uniform buttons, the
| > drinking songs, the instruments of surgery.
| > And the mode of speech. This is where I worry about subtlety. I
| > English reasonably well, but I could only make out about half of the
| > dialogue. That is because Weir has maintained an unswerving
| > the period dialect (the 1805 action is situated about halfway
| > and Shakespeare's time, and so are the diction and syntax). Pepper
| > with nautical nouns you have never heard of, often issued in Russell
| > Crowe's barely audible drawl, place them in a cacophony of ship
| > (another example of Weir's fidelity to authenticity), and you
| > wish that the movie had been accompanied by subtitles.
| > Weir's restraint carries into a remarkable austerity regarding
| > In the movie's version of a love interest, a Brazilian beauty in a
| > boat selling wares offshore to the sailors of Captain Aubrey's ship
| > catches Aubrey's eye for a moment at a considerable distance. For
| > five seconds you see Aubrey (Crowe) returning her glance.
| > And that is it. Indeed, that scene marks the only appearance of
| > in the entire two hours of the film, setting a new record for sexual
| > austerity in an epic, a record previously held by "Lawrence of
| > The austerity works as film, as does the fidelity to detail. My
| > worry is that it won't sell to the kids who flock to see "Pirates of
| > Caribbean," who expect sex and swashbuckling between their battle
| > scenes, and whose patronage is needed for the movie to recover its
| > million cost.
| > It is perhaps odd to worry about a film's box office, but when a
| > as splendid as this one, you want it to succeed. Perhaps it will be
| > helped in the United States by its timing. We are at war, and this
| > film not just about the conduct of war but about virtue in war. Its
| > depiction of the more ancient notions of duty, honor, patriotism and
| > devotion is reminiscent of what we glimpsed during live coverage of
| > dash to Baghdad back in April but is now slipping from memory.
| > The film was first planned a decade ago, long before Sept. 11, long
| > before Afghanistan, long before Iraq. But it arrives at a time of
| > And combat on the high seas -- ships under unified command meeting
| > duelistic engagement in open waters -- represents a distilled
| > warfare that, in the hands of a morally serious man such as Weir, is
| > deeply clarifying.
| > Even better is the fact that the hero in his little British frigate
| > up against a larger, more powerful French warship. That allows U.S.
| > audiences the particular satisfaction of seeing Anglo-Saxon
| > puncturing the Tricolor. My favorite part was Aubrey rallying the
| > troops with a Henry V, St. Crispin's Day speech featuring: "Do you
| > your children growing up and singing the Marseillaise?" It was met
| > chorus of deafening "No's." Maybe they should have put that in the
| > trailer too."
Post by D. Spencer Hines
| > Aye, Perfidious France....
| > D. Spencer Hines
| > Lux et Veritas et Libertas
| > Vires et Honor
| Good Day.
| As a fan of the late "Patrick O'Brien's" works I was pleased to see
your opinions of my
| fellow countryman Russell Crowe's version of Jack Aubrey.
| Your detail of the movie amazes me in one respect, unless I'm getting
confused with another of
| the series I seem to remember that Jack got so close to the lady in
Brazil that they had a
| "natural" son who of all things became a Catholic bishop.
| If my memory hasn't failed this must be the very first time in history
that a movie has REMOVED
| sex from the original boo!!!
| I do have some reservations about Crowe playing Aubrey however, Jack
is described as a large
| tall man who tends to put on weight. Certainly he was clean shaven.
| BTW who plays Stephen Maturin?
| I will certainly see this movie as soon as we get it here, if it is as
good as you say it will
| soon join my DVD collection!
| Have you read the very fascinating biography of Patrick O'Brien BTW,
he rewrote his own life
| several times as well as writing all his books.
| I wonder how the English of the movie compares with Jane Austen for
example? Though I bet Jane
| would have the Vapours at the language!!!
| Best regards.
| Cliff Wright.