Again, as usual the cinematography looks good. The story line may be just okay etc.
But here's the thing which makes me wary of their research...
Wow is that a krag? That's excellent for an on location Philippine production (nevermind if it ain't got no sling). The suspenders?... why suspenders unless they are U.S. Cavalrymen? Since they have a full rifle and not a carbine, aren't they supposed to be infantrymen? INFANTRY (VOLUNTEER OR REGULAR) DON'T WEAR SUSPENDERS IN THE FIELD.
No "horse collar" bundled blankets? Where's the spheroid canteens, where's the rectangular haversacks?
The khaki pants are too pale like WW2 era "chino" khakis. It's supposed to be more brownish like the peel of a russet potato.
Still I can appreciate that they seem to have included the provision that the American forces employed locals as "scouts", even on an informal basis at first. (shown in the picture of non-uniformed but armed filipinos alongside U.S. troops).
It's a colonel's rank and it's accurate, but it's not supposed to be worn like a shoulder board across the shoulder but rather perpendicular and to the very edges of the shoulder.
Look at this, they've obviosly bought this uniform from a Span-Am War reproductions seller in the states. The buttons are right, the color of khaki is right, the "infantry blue" pocket flaps are correct, the officer's buckle is correct. But look at the rank insignia? THE ACTOR IS WEARING IT THE WRONG WAY.
These may be small things, but can you imagine if they made the movie "Patton" with George C Scott wearing stars on his ass instead of his helmet? All that money spent on production goes to the garbage bin.
Last Edit: Feb 11, 2010 15:04:35 GMT -5 by RayAdillO
Ray is absolutely correct about the Colonel's insignia being worn the wrong way. There was much discussion about this as we were very aware that it should be perpendicular in a Colonel's dress uniform. The discrepancy is even more glaring when it is a still photo blown up. In a moving picture with the lay audience in mind however, we felt that the insignia does not register as well unless worn along the shoulder. If I remember correctly, the field uniform would have a shoulder loop with the service color and embroidered insignia, yes? Which would register even less? In the end, cinematic license was taken and we decided to go with what we have there now.
BTW, except for the American hats the uniforms were all made here in the Philippines. The biggest expense and headache with the uniforms were locating the right fabrics; we found the blue woolen fabrics and the rayadillos for the Filipino officers in Italy.
As for the suspenders, Ray is right again. But we did come across enough photos of infantry, regular and volunteer, with suspenders on (some even with civilian suspenders). There is enough of a purpose to it in our story that again, we decided to take some license with it.
The Krags are all replicas that we made here from pictures and manuals. We tried but could not even get the moulds for them. We could not even find a working model to rent in the US. Getting the proper permits to buy one, then export and import to the Philippines were beyond us and our means. It didn't help that there is currently a total gun ban in the country because of the upcoming national elections. The National Police had to come and give us permits for our replicas and provide an escort whenever we transported them. We've jury rigged a mechanism to spit out a 'spent shell' but sometimes they work and sometimes they don't.
In the photo you don't see the slings, canteens, haversacks, or blankets because in context, they had garrisoned a hamlet and were staying put for a while and therefore not on a march. Those were generally on a soldier only when marching from camp to camp or a long patrol. We've read accounts of soldiers removing the slings 'in town' because they get in the way when doing sentry duty. It doesn't sit well on the shoulders when at right or left shoulder arms, and sloppy when at parade rest. Those who knew what they were doing would also remove it before going up to the firing line in a firefight because they would snag on roots, branches, etc. All of which makes perfect sense to us.
Those armed Filipinos in the photo are actually not scouts but the ragtag remnants of an irregular Filipino unit who are turning their weapons in at the end of general hostilities. If it's a working weapon, you got 30 pieces of Mexican silver.
All this I guess to say there is always more to a picture than meets the eye. No doubt when the movie comes out more of these small things will be spotted. (Our Krag smokes when fired for example. We discovered there are no smokeless squibs here.) But these small things do matter to us as well. We know more about the official US Army regulations on how to hang a man than we really care to.
It is a relief to those of us involved in the movie that we stumbled upon a great site such as this one that cares about those small things. It's truly fun when you guys spot a "gotcha", and very satisfying when you point out what we got right. It's not like we could just turn to our spouses & friends and go "did you know...?" without getting that blank look.
We hope you keep following the blog; and send the link to as many people as you can. In the end, the main purpose is to let as many people as possible realize there was this unknown war. Especially both Filipinos & Americans.
In the meantime, does anyone know where to find a good audio recording of both a Krag and a Mauser blast?
Last Edit: Feb 16, 2010 20:49:21 GMT -5 by flymonyc
Hey Rey.................................If you'll check out their 8th Day shooting " False Alarm ". Those infantry boys were wearing their Haversacks and Span-Am Canteen. The officer wearing his rank is correct and as far as their Khaki breeches I think is right or closed enough to the right one and most of them are wearing the suspenders. I think they're optional. I'll ask Victor to post the picture.
(EDIT --Here's the picture you asked me to post Art -victor)
Post by legionnaire on Feb 16, 2010 10:56:56 GMT -5
This time we see two infantrymen are wearing the rolled up blankets. But the Col. Hardacre (Cris Cooper) on horseback still wearing the rank in the wrong position.
Costume Design by Gino Gonzales
Costume and Wardrobe Department Danilo Garzon .... key costumer
It's unfortunate that they did not utilized the expertise of the Buhay nang Kasaysayan a reenactment group based in Manila who could have advised them on uniforms As BNK would have given more accurate help, it seems the names of the costume designers are local Philippine Film industry talent who always present very disapointing period costumes about Philippine historical period films? It has been seen and proven that reenactors have brought much more accuracy in period war films. Either on the topics of civil war or American revolution. And do this for the pure fun of the hobby.
Dear Mr. Sayles,
There is this great true story about Col. Edwin Ramsey and his 27 Filipino troopers, 26th Cav. PS 's last US horse cavalry charge in the Philippines against Japanese Infantry during the early days of WWII? ;D
Buhay na Kasaysayan is not exactly a household name. Who would know about BNK outside of those who have attended Perry's lectures, and those who happened to read the occasional newspaper article?
The film is not finished yet. If we want to help in accuracy let's offer assistance and information.
Flymoneyc, Would the costume design crew be open to suggestion from reenactors?
*** I hope the actors in this movie don't uniformly carry their Krags like they're M16's (pointing down like modern rifles with 3 point tactical slings). In the movie Baler, you'd think those Spaniards were in Fallujah with their mausers.
Victor - thanks very much for the links to the jouster forums. I'll check it out. And I'll certainly pass along your kind offer of assistance to the costume department.
Legionnaire - had we known about BNK, we very likely would have gotten in touch. In fairness to Filipino costume designers, their hands are always tied by simple budget constraints. Their resources don't even come close to that of Hollywood designers with their multi-million dollar budgets and networks of rental houses. This movie that really should cost between US$12-15 million is being made for under 2mil.
Keep in mind too that you only see what interests you; the military uniforms. The costume designer also has to deal with the almost 2/3rds of the movie that is the civilian costumes. The whole social strata of the village also has to be told in costumes. The differences in fabrics, design, and condition of clothes between those of the cabeza's wife and the orphan teenager, for example. The assistant to the local friar may have better trousers than the guy who makes tubâ etc.
The colonel's insignia as I pointed out in an earlier post is not an oversight but a deliberate decision. We do apologize for that but we have our reasons.
Pls. keep the notes coming. We may yet be able to prevent some truly ghastly oversight. Victor, thanks for the tip about how not to carry the Krags. Would never have thought of that...
Last Edit: Feb 16, 2010 21:52:54 GMT -5 by flymonyc
I'm guessing the colonel's some sort of George Custer maverick who does his thing his own way... still, I think that if they used the ranks the regular way it would have been fine. I've seen a host of Civil War movies where the officers wear their shoulder bars the proper way (fore-and-aft, not like shoulder straps) and you'd still know who was a colonel and who was a lieutenant. I fear that might be too much artistic license but I'll reserve judgement till I see it.
And lolz... having read the precis, I'm now curious about the Guardia Civil uniform.
As for the rest it looks good. I hope that it'll play well. We need more historical movies.
Sigh, it's just my luck that when I'm NOT in the Philippines a historical movie starts shooting in the Philippines... sigh.
Best of Luck! Tom
Last Edit: Feb 17, 2010 23:22:06 GMT -5 by 79thfoot
Well now looking at the other pictures, YEAH ALRIGHT! that's more like it. ;D
The rank bars on the colonel are acceptable if indeed it was meant to give him an air of "the boss" who can wear it anyway he likes in the eyes of his men, or a rugged individualist (as you say "maverick") aiming for a calculated insult at his superiors. I guess the important thing was that there appears to be a more junior officer wearing it the conventional way which provides the contrast.
To the makers of this film, please excuse my nitpicking. I just genuinely want this film to really look as good as can be, even as it is under tight budget.
You see there was only one other indy movie (or any other knd of movie for that matter) made in recent memory that I know of concerning the 1898-1902 campaign in the Philippines, and it made a virtue of not using reenactors or using props and costumes true to the period. It was bad enough that so few movies are made about this war but when they decided to make that one, they had to point out they didn't want to... "trivialize the experience of war in so much detail the way reenactors do"....WHAT THE?
I'm glad that this new movie here is different from that other production made eight or ten years ago. I just hope the storyline will tell it like it really was and not be excessively judgemental on either American or Filipino side using the standards of modern political correctness.
What I mean is I'm a Filipino-American, but I'll be rooting for the Filipino side on this one. Yet I can understand that there were the good guys and the bad guys from both sides.
I wonder if any of those props like the krags may be up for sale after the movie production?
Last Edit: Feb 19, 2010 5:07:03 GMT -5 by RayAdillO
Ray - we never looked at it as nitpicking. You come to a site like this you expect to be looked over. Down to the buttons. We just wanted you guys to know we take the details as seriously as you guys do. Not to say we haven't overlooked or forgotten something. I'm sure there's a few in there somewhere.
As for the storyline, I think you'll like this one.