April 16, 2011

Hearts in Bondage

The civil war is replete with instances where last minute reinforcements arrived to win the day. Frequently it was the  railroads that hauled the men and guns to save the day. Johnston's arrival at First Bull Run, Hood at Chickamagua, and Ricketts at Monocacy are just some examples. But possibly the most incredible example of last minute rescue was the Battle of Hampton Roads, a naval battle.

The story of how the ironclad USN Monitor arrived just in time to stop the CSN Virginia (nee USN Merrimac) is truly amazing. The outcome of the battle and its subsequent effect on naval warfare was one of the most significant military events of the war.
A scene from the movie showing some of the fine modeling and simple but effective special effects.

Before the era of CGI, Hollywood relied on skilled model 
builders for scenes like this showing the CSN Virginia 
at dock at Gosport Naval Yard, Norfolk, VA.
I recently watched a fine little movie about this battle called, "Hearts in Bondage." Although filmed 75 years ago the movie features some excellent model making and special effects considering the era it was made.  I especially liked Frank McGlynn as Lincoln and Irving Pichel as Gideon Wells. But what was with Commodore Farragut's eyebrows (but I liked how his character was portrayed)?

The plot is a bit melodramatic, the issues portrayed simplistically and stereotypically (especially the view of African Americans), but overall I recommend it. It's available for instant viewing on Netflix. You can also watch it on-line for free below though this transfer is not as good as the Netflix one.

There is another made for TV film on the same subject from Turner Movies in 1991, but it is not available on-line. It stars the lovely Virginia Madsen as a union spy, so that makes it worth investigating. But in the meantime, take a peek at Hearts in Bondage. It's a good way to spend a rainy day if you're not working on the layout.


5 comments:

  1. What an interesting film. Thanks for posting it.

    The battle scenes are very well done and the model making is convincing.

    Commodore Farragut's character looks like he's been based on Mr Micawber from David Copperfield(1935).

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  2. The other film you mention...Ironclads(1991)

    From what I've read; it's a load of crap!...
    though the scenes showing the building of the two vessels have some merit.

    http://www.locatetv.com/movie/ironclads

    If the above Link works, you can see a trailer of the film.

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  3. I couldn't get the link to work. I was unable to find a DVD of the Ironclads movie. It might not be released.

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  4. The Link to the trailer works...but you have to copy this....
    http://www.locatetv.com/movie/ironclads

    then either paste it into search engine (Google) OR directly into your internet display bar.

    Re' the DVD of Ironclads. There isn't one.
    It looks like they only brought out a VHS version for sale to the public!

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  5. That worked. Looks interesting. I wonder if they'll offer a DVD. I still have a VHS player, but its days are numbered.

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