Dec 15

Joyeux Noël

By Kenneth Feucht Media, Movies Add comments



Joyeux Noël ★★★

This movie is based on a well-known story in early WWI, where German soldiers started to sing “Silent Night” (auf Deutsch, naturlich… Stille Nacht), but were soon joined by their English and French enemies in a 24 hour truce and joint friendship. This followed with the soldiers in each camp being shipped off to other fronts, and sternly disciplined by superior officers. Much has been made of this event and it has been used to reflect on the insanity of WWI.  This depiction of the December 24, 1914 event has a very Hollywood flavor, including matters definitely not recorded in the original story, such as the Scots starting the singing (no sane German would ever sing to the bagpipe), the German singing being led by an opera tenor with his accompanying girl friend also with him at the front, etc., etc. Since nobody is alive any more from this event, we will probably not get the actual facts of how things transpired. The film has good flow and good acting, but an inappropriate sex scene that doesn’t fit with the movie, and a story line that is rather contrived and reeks of Hollywood. It’s attempt at an antiwar statement is shadowed by “The King of Hearts”, “All’s Quiet on the Western Front”, and “Slaughterhouse 9”.

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One Response to “Joyeux Noël”

  1. Onkel Dennis says:

    My favorite antiwar movie is brilliant for the subtleness of its critique of war: Kelly’s Heroes. The movie employs the anachronism of transporting back in time a group from an antiwar movement of the ’60s: hippies. Oddball (Donald Sutherland) and his group have two Sherman tanks. The whole plot is based on private interests in looting the gold from a French bank just behind enemy lines. The looters are to be decorated by the general for their “fighting spirit” but they have successfully evaded such decoration as their gold-laden trucks head for the Swiss border. A German tank driver gets in on it too.

    The whole movie is done as a spoof on war and there is enough serious war in it to let the viewer know what is being spoofed.

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