Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #151  
Old 02-10-2020, 11:15 AM
Jasmine's Avatar
Jasmine is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 2,613
I have yet to see the movie, and that's basically the reason why. The whole premise strikes me as ridiculous.
__________________
"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance -- it is the illusion of knowledge."
--Daniel J Boorstin
  #152  
Old 02-10-2020, 12:25 PM
Drum God's Avatar
Drum God is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Central Texas, USA
Posts: 2,285
Quote:
Originally Posted by bump View Post
SPOILER:

I haven't seen the movie, but it sure sounds like the mission he was sent on was to move laterally from one battalion/regiment, to another nearby one to warn them to call off their attack, presumably because that was faster than sending a guy from regimental HQ.

So once he's done, he could go backward to the rear, and once back in relative safety, make his way back to his own unit. There's probably a regimental headquarters that he can go back to, and they'll direct him to his regimental HQ, who will point him to his battalion, and they'll point him to his company, who'll point him to his buddies in the line.
What prevents him from just deserting at that point? It sounds like he would be wandering around the French countryside accountable to no one. What if he gets killed on the way back? Who would know?
__________________
At the feast of ego, everyone leaves hungry.
  #153  
Old 02-10-2020, 01:53 PM
bump is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 19,389
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drum God View Post
What prevents him from just deserting at that point? It sounds like he would be wandering around the French countryside accountable to no one. What if he gets killed on the way back? Who would know?
That's called desertion, and armies tend to treat that VERY harshly- up to and including capital punishment.

The idea would be that he could only go so far in one direction, or he'd run into the Germans, and in the other directions, he'd probably eventually get caught and turned over to the British Army, who would likely convene a court-martial, and try him for desertion. And in that era, likely convict him. Whether or not they'd execute him is not definite- only a little more than 1% of soldiers convicted of death penalty eligible crimes were actually executed in WWI by the British Army, and a non-trivial percentage of those were repeat offenders, so to speak.
  #154  
Old 02-10-2020, 02:02 PM
CoolHandCox is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,147
Just saw the movie and this did not occur to me as a plot hole at all.

Within the movie, there were both German and British planes shooting at each other. Whether you send the message on the ground and get shot at or in the air and get shot at, it didn't appear a plane would easily/automatically make it to their intended destination. Definitely not a huge plot hole to me.

The only reason there were planes shown in the movie was to insert a sympathetic German in the middle of nowhere (the German plane was shot down right over the main characters, and the German pilot survives the crash).

Last edited by CoolHandCox; 02-10-2020 at 02:03 PM.
  #155  
Old 02-10-2020, 03:37 PM
Drum God's Avatar
Drum God is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Central Texas, USA
Posts: 2,285
Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolHandCox View Post
Just saw the movie and this did not occur to me as a plot hole at all.

Within the movie, there were both German and British planes shooting at each other. Whether you send the message on the ground and get shot at or in the air and get shot at, it didn't appear a plane would easily/automatically make it to their intended destination. Definitely not a huge plot hole to me.

The only reason there were planes shown in the movie was to insert a sympathetic German in the middle of nowhere (the German plane was shot down right over the main characters, and the German pilot survives the crash).
Sympathetic German? LCpl. Blake was trying to help the downed pilot and ended up getting stabbed for his efforts. I didn't find the guy sympathetic at all.
__________________
At the feast of ego, everyone leaves hungry.
  #156  
Old 02-10-2020, 04:10 PM
CoolHandCox is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,147
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drum God View Post
Sympathetic German? LCpl. Blake was trying to help the downed pilot and ended up getting stabbed for his efforts. I didn't find the guy sympathetic at all.
ha, yea the German didn't turn out that nice. I just meant sympathetic enough in that he was on fire inside the crashed plane and Blake thought enough of the German/situation to save him. Maybe sympathetic situation (versus sympathetic German) would have been more accurate.

A few moments later the German did his thing.

Last edited by CoolHandCox; 02-10-2020 at 04:11 PM.
  #157  
Old 02-10-2020, 06:32 PM
Mk VII is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: England
Posts: 3,004
There are collecting posts for stragglers, where the Corps of Military Police will direct them.
  #158  
Old 02-10-2020, 06:40 PM
Bijou Drains is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 11,231
What caused the big fires? Bombing from planes or were they set from the ground?
  #159  
Old 02-10-2020, 08:05 PM
GMANCANADA is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Toronto
Posts: 485
I just saw it on the weekend so I waited to read this thread.

For those of you saying it sounds ridiculous, it's very much not. It's a really solid well done film. It's definitely not perfect, but I would strongly argue the ideas about "plot holes" by the OP and others are what's ridiculous.

The entire point of the film is to put the viewer into the boots of two low-level grunts who just get orders and are told to do them. The movie is solely from their perspective. We only see and hear exactly what they do. The director never allows us to see of hear any conversations or info they themselves don't personally see or hear.

As Corporals, they would never know anything more about the reasons or rationale for their mission other than what they were explicitly told by their commander. Their job is to follow orders without question.

The ridiculous idea is that somehow the British commanders would ever justify any mission to the grunts. "By the way, the reason we're doing this is because we're worried about planes getting shot down or the pigeons dying or ..."
  #160  
Old 02-10-2020, 08:12 PM
Miller's Avatar
Miller is offline
Sith Mod
Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Bear Flag Republic
Posts: 44,947
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drum God View Post
What prevents him from just deserting at that point? It sounds like he would be wandering around the French countryside accountable to no one. What if he gets killed on the way back? Who would know?
The same thing that keeps him from deserting at almost any other part of the war. If he deserts, the government is going to mark him down as missing in action. If he goes home and tries to pick up his life, the government's eventually going to notice that, for example, this guy who's supposed to be dead in France is somehow back on the tax rolls. And then they come and lock him up.
  #161  
Old 02-10-2020, 09:20 PM
dropzone's Avatar
dropzone is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Bedlam
Posts: 30,632
I've been saving--in THIS thread, at least --my favorite factoid about message runners, to wit: you usually see Adolph Hitler proudly wearing his Iron Cross. This was not a medal he gave himself, but one he earned running messages in the trenches. Nearly got killed a number of times. He may have been evil incarnate, but you can't say he wasn't crazy brave.
  #162  
Old 02-10-2020, 09:29 PM
spifflog is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 2,514
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drum God View Post
What prevents him from just deserting at that point? It sounds like he would be wandering around the French countryside accountable to no one. What if he gets killed on the way back? Who would know?
Talk about a plot hole. He deserts and then what? Just walks back to the coast past hundreds of thousands of other soldiers and swims back to England?
  #163  
Old 02-10-2020, 09:42 PM
Drum God's Avatar
Drum God is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Central Texas, USA
Posts: 2,285
Quote:
Originally Posted by spifflog View Post
Talk about a plot hole. He deserts and then what? Just walks back to the coast past hundreds of thousands of other soldiers and swims back to England?
I was thinking more like the fact that he happens to know where a cute French woman is holed up. Of course, at the end of the movie, we learn that he has a wife and kid back home.

But even setting aside straight-up desertion, he is away from his chain of command. The local bosses don't know him or necessarily know what to do with him. It seems like he could just wander around his new unit, hanging back, performing odd jobs in the rear and let the guys that actually belong there go over the top. I think I would seriously be tempted to keep busy but inconspicuous.
__________________
At the feast of ego, everyone leaves hungry.
  #164  
Old 02-10-2020, 10:19 PM
ASL v2.0's Avatar
ASL v2.0 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Various
Posts: 993
Quote:
Originally Posted by dropzone View Post
I've been saving--in THIS thread, at least --my favorite factoid about message runners, to wit: you usually see Adolph Hitler proudly wearing his Iron Cross. This was not a medal he gave himself, but one he earned running messages in the trenches. Nearly got killed a number of times. He may have been evil incarnate, but you can't say he wasn't crazy brave.
Eh.... crazy brave? I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that he was more of a regimental staff weenie, and the reason he got the medal was the same reason people in administrative roles today tend to get more recognition for comparable or lesser acts than what a solider serving closer to the action might. High-ranking officers have to approve such awards, and the closer you are to such officers (ie: in the rear, with the headquarters staff) the easier it is to get an award approved.

So, a REMF coming under shellfire once in a while delivering messages is a "hero" and "crazy brave." A guy hunkering down in the trenches under near-continuous bombardment, and then going over the top with the rest of his regiment is just more cannon fodder and "doing his job."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drum God View Post
But even setting aside straight-up desertion, he is away from his chain of command. The local bosses don't know him or necessarily know what to do with him. It seems like he could just wander around his new unit, hanging back, performing odd jobs in the rear and let the guys that actually belong there go over the top. I think I would seriously be tempted to keep busy but inconspicuous.
Seriously? They know he’s not in the regiment. You don’t just blend in as a random stranger in the military. Not forever, anyway. At some point, someone's going to wonder WTF he’s doing still hanging around.

Last edited by ASL v2.0; 02-10-2020 at 10:24 PM.
  #165  
Old 02-10-2020, 10:52 PM
dropzone's Avatar
dropzone is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Bedlam
Posts: 30,632
My mistake. I will go back to being unimpressed by Hitler and anything he did. Thanks for the correction.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mili...f_Adolf_Hitler
  #166  
Old 03-22-2020, 09:00 PM
Moris is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Mediterranean shores
Posts: 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by bump View Post
I think the most likely explanation for why they sent two runners is because radios weren't in common use at that point, jeeps hadn't been invented yet, the telegram/phone wires had been cut, and in all likelihood, any air assets weren't in the chain of command of the general Colin Firth plays in the movie. So he works with what he has- runners.

The thing is that it's only a crazy adventure from the perspective of the two runners; to the General, sending runners is probably extremely commonplace. They're probably just two of any number of runners he's sent off at various times when the wires get cut by artillery, marauding Germans, etc...
That's exactly what I was thinking. What was general supposed to do, wave at the airplanes from the trench? "Come down here, we have a message that you need to deliver!" Airplanes probably had a different chain of command and an airstrip 50 miles away. With all the war mayhem, it was probably quicker to send foot soldiers than try to reach airforce HQ, time was of the essence.

As for the signal flares as a method of messaging, enemy can see them too. They could be coded, but codes could be cracked.

Shooting messages in an artillery shell sounds really far-fetched.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:57 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017