Never mind maneuvers…

Just watched the end of a movie in which Lawrence Olivier was strutting about in Napoleonic-era admiral’s uniform with an empty right sleeve, which could only mean he was portraying Lord Nelson. And there was Vivien Leigh talking about Lord Keith and St. Vincent and the rest, so I was hooked to the end of it. Saw a highly melodramatic rendering of Nelson’s death at Trafalgar.

As you know, I’m a huge fan of the Aubrey-Maturin novels, and Lord Nelson was Jack Aubrey’s hero. In the books, Jack is the one to whom Nelson said, “Never mind maneuvers, always go straight at ’em.” In reality, he said that to Lord Cochrane, upon whom Aubrey is largely based.

Here’s the kicker: After the movie, the guy who introduces the features on TCM said the movie was so chock-full of homilies about the importance of standing up to dictators that the director was summoned to Congress — still gripped by isolationism — where our lawmakers were investigating pro-war propaganda by Hollywood. He was scheduled to appear on Dec. 12, 1941, so he lucked out there. By his appearance date, isolationism was no longer quite the thing, you know.

Imagine that — Hollywood being investigated for pro-war propaganda.

I’d better go to bed now.

11 thoughts on “Never mind maneuvers…

  1. Greg Flowers

    The other evening I saw a BBC production called “The Falklands Play” about the events leading up to the war in 1982. I found it well made and very interesting with Patricia Hodge (you may remember her as Phyllida Erskine-Brown ‘the Portia of our chambers’ from Rumpole)superb as Maggie T. Upon doing some research I discovered that it was written and ready to go in the mid-eighties, but the powers that be (or were) at the BBC nixed it as being too pro-Thatcher and it had to wait over a decade to be made. I found it interesting that a state institution was so opposed to a sitting Head of Government.
    Olivier’s Henry V was specifically made (at least in part) as pro-war propaganda. A number of the later episodes of the Basil Rathbone Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes films were set in modern day (1940’s) Britain with Holmes battling the evil Hun (the real Huns were Central Asians).

  2. Brad Warthen

    Another failed attempt to get a conversation going about the Aubrey-Maturin books. At least I got a comment out of Mike Fitts over at Facebook. Mike’s the guy who turned me on to O’Brian, for which I am deeply appreciative.
    Greg, thanks for trying to get into the spirit of the post, but no one else was interested. I enjoyed the Henry V reference.
    Back to politics, I guess…
    Hey, at least I got Philip going about “Firefly” on a previous post. Shiny.

  3. Greg Flowers

    Oh well, I tried. Sometimes its fun to talk about other things. I was hoping Lee would at least accuse Henry V of being a socialist.
    Perhaps I will try and find my copy of Master and Commander and give it another try. Everyone I know with above a room temperature IQ enjoys the series. Has anyone read O’Brian’s bio? Strange character. Of German heritage I believe, not Irish at all.

  4. Lee Muller

    Why are you folks so afraid of the proper application of the word “socialist”?
    Does is make you uncomfortable to like the socialistic proposals of Democrats like Hussein Obama, because you realize how close they are to the failed brutality of Hitler, FDR, and Stalin?
    At least your conscience is trying to warn you.

  5. Greg Flowers

    I do not feel that socialism is a workable system and oppose it. However, you remind me of the little boy who cried wolf and use the term to such excess that it loses its ability to frighten and becomes almost comedic. Often, moderation increases effectiveness.

  6. Lee Muller

    As a degreed economist, I apply terms like “socialism”, “fascism”, and “communism” precisely. Words have utility when used properly among educated people who understand the correct definitions. To everyone else, they are just insults to sling around.
    The fact is that Barack Obama was raised as a communist and all his initiatives so far have been very socialist, some fascist socialism, some are other forms of socialism.

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  9. Mishkin-Fishkin

    Have you ever noticed how similar Nelson’s “Never mind maneuvers…” is to Napoleon’s “On s’engage et puis on voit”? (One enters the fray, and then one sees.) Much the same idea, no? I wonder if the two had a common source.


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