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The War Game BBC 1965. Stephanie Potter and Andrew Wood. Background . Watkins a controversial filmmaker using innovative techniques Based on events at Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Hamburg, Dresden, and, Darmstadt Watkins based initial feelings on photographs. Background (Cont.) .

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the war game bbc 1965

The War Game BBC 1965

Stephanie Potter and Andrew Wood

background
Background
  • Watkins a controversial filmmaker using innovative techniques
  • Based on events at Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Hamburg, Dresden, and, Darmstadt
  • Watkins based initial feelings on photographs
background cont
Background (Cont.)
  • Prepared through interviews (scientists, civil service, etc.) and scientific fact
    • Combined fact and fiction
  • British government refused to provide help, only help was through Kent fire services for firestorm scenes
background cont1
Background (Cont.)
  • Completed in 1965
    • Meant to be aired on television during anniversary week of Hiroshima bombings
  • Banned from British television—contradicted official British position on nuclear survivability
    • Aired on TV for first time in 1985
  • Shown in cinemas from 1966 onward through ban loophole
    • Awarded “Best Documentary Feature” at 1967 Academy Awards
watkins goals
Watkins’ Goals
  • Expose inadequacy of Civil Defense program
    • Lack of education for general British population (Effects of bomb; handing out safety pamphlets at the last minute)
  • Portrayal of effects of nuclear attack
  • Evoke pathos and sentiment against nuclear weapons
    • Set in an idyllic part of Britain
purported attack chronology
Purported Attack Chronology
  • Less than three minutes warning time
    • Problems with evacuation to countryside
    • Inability of population to afford and adequately build bomb shelters
  • Immediate intense heat (“melt the upturned eyeball”)
  • Firestorms
  • Mass chaos
effects
Effects
  • Massive casualties
  • Destroyed economy
    • Simple threat: Four years to fully recover
    • Actual attack: All of attack area/20% of “safe” areas rendered uninhabitable
social effects
Social Effects
  • General apathy toward life
  • Disregard for law
    • Hunger riots
    • Killing of security forces
    • Anarchy
  • Euthanasia
  • So traumatic no amount of therapy would help
  • Health effects
    • Radiation poisoning
    • Leukemia
    • Scurvy from lack of nutrition
  • Children
    • Extreme apathy
slide9
End
  • Discusses problems of using nuclear weapons
  • Threat of growing stockpiles and proliferation
questions
Questions
  • Which parts do you think were real statistics and accurate interpretation vs. exaggeration meant to evoke strong emotions?
  • If an attack did occur, there would be a strong public outcry for retaliation: how would the government respond? Would they be locked into a series of mutual retaliations?
  • Watkins used both statistics, civilian interviews and potentially “real life” footage to make his points. Which depictions were the most effective and why?
sources
Sources
  • The War Game
  • “The War Game Revisited” http://picpal.com/peterwatkins.html
  • IMDB Information on The War Game—http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059894/
  • Others
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