Film

 

The Canadian Army has been portrayed on screen in both film and television works, in both fictional and historical works, though coverage has been far from comprehensive. In some cases, "Canadian" content has been used merely as a way of explaining the lack of a British accent of a British actor, as was the case when Rock Hudson appeared in a typical 1960s potboiler about British commandos in the Western Desert during the Second World War. For the most part, American and other productions have been happy to tell their own stories; even international productions seemed disinterested in Canadian content. In The Longest Day, for example, the epic 1962 film telling the true story of the Normandy invasion, the only scenes purporting to include Canadians were of a strafing run on Juno Beach. In 1968, Hollywood saw merit in telling the story of The Devil's Brigade, in a mostly fictionalized telling of the story of the First Special Service Force, though that unit was half American, and the movie was almost entirely sensational. Some movies used the Canadian Army as a backdrop, such as Legends of the Fall, who placed three American rancher's sons into the CEF in the First World War for 15 minutes or so of screen time.

 

As Canada developed its own film industry, it gained in its ability to tell its own stories, though arguably it did not gain an ability to do very well. The documentary The Valour and the Horror thoroughly trashed the reputation of soldiers and airmen of the Second World War, and invoked the displeasure of the CBC's ombudsman; not a rare feat in Canada, where the National Film Board had come under fire for doing the same thing air ace and Victoria Cross recipient Billy Bishop's reputation with The Kid Who Couldn't Miss. Films like Firing Squad and The Wars explored questions of duty and motivation in wartime; no one seemed very interested in exploring the high reputation forged by the Canadian Army in both world wars. Paul Gross professed an admiration for that reputation but seemed equally uninterested in exploring how it came to be created with his period piece Passchendaele in 2008, which explored human relationships more than it did questions of military competence.

 

 


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