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Thread: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

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    Mad Professor Senior Member Hurin_Rules's Avatar
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    Default Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    Ridley Scott's new Crusades film 'panders to Osama bin Laden'
    By Charlotte Edwardes
    (Filed: 18/01/2004)

    Sir Ridley Scott, the Oscar-nominated director, was savaged by senior British academics last night over his forthcoming film which they say "distorts" the history of the Crusades to portray Arabs in a favourable light.

    The £75 million film, which stars Orlando Bloom, Jeremy Irons and Liam Neeson, is described by the makers as being "historically accurate" and designed to be "a fascinating history lesson".

    Academics, however - including Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith, Britain's leading authority on the Crusades - attacked the plot of Kingdom of Heaven, describing it as "rubbish", "ridiculous", "complete fiction" and "dangerous to Arab relations".

    The film, which began shooting last week in Spain, is set in the time of King Baldwin IV (1161-1185), leading up to the Battle of Hattin in 1187 when Saladin conquered Jerusalem for the Muslims.

    The script depicts Baldwin's brother-in-law, Guy de Lusignan, who succeeds him as King of Jerusalem, as "the arch-villain". A further group, "the Brotherhood of Muslims, Jews and Christians", is introduced, promoting an image of cross-faith kinship.

    "They were working together," the film's spokesman said. "It was a strong bond until the Knights Templar cause friction between them."

    The Knights Templar, the warrior monks, are portrayed as "the baddies" while Saladin, the Muslim leader, is a "a hero of the piece", Sir Ridley's spokesman said. "At the end of our picture, our heroes defend the Muslims, which was historically correct."

    Prof Riley-Smith, who is Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Cambridge University, said the plot was "complete and utter nonsense". He said that it relied on the romanticised view of the Crusades propagated by Sir Walter Scott in his book The Talisman, published in 1825 and now discredited by academics.

    "It sounds absolute balls. It's rubbish. It's not historically accurate at all. They refer to The Talisman, which depicts the Muslims as sophisticated and civilised, and the Crusaders are all brutes and barbarians. It has nothing to do with reality."

    Prof Riley-Smith added: "Guy of Lusignan lost the Battle of Hattin against Saladin, yes, but he wasn't any badder or better than anyone else. There was never a confraternity of Muslims, Jews and Christians. That is utter nonsense."

    Dr Jonathan Philips, a lecturer in history at London University and author of The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople, agreed that the film relied on an outdated portrayal of the Crusades and could not be described as "a history lesson".

    He said: "The Templars as 'baddies' is only sustainable from the Muslim perspective, and 'baddies' is the wrong way to show it anyway. They are the biggest threat to the Muslims and many end up being killed because their sworn vocation is to defend the Holy Land."

    Dr Philips said that by venerating Saladin, who was largely ignored by Arab history until he was reinvented by romantic historians in the 19th century, Sir Ridley was following both Saddam Hussein and Hafez Assad, the former Syrian dictator. Both leaders commissioned huge portraits and statues of Saladin, who was actually a Kurd, to bolster Arab Muslim pride.

    Prof Riley-Smith added that Sir Ridley's efforts were misguided and pandered to Islamic fundamentalism. "It's Osama bin Laden's version of history. It will fuel the Islamic fundamentalists."

    Amin Maalouf, the French historian and author of The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, said: "It does not do any good to distort history, even if you believe you are distorting it in a good way. Cruelty was not on one side but on all."

    Sir Ridley's spokesman said that the film portrays the Arabs in a positive light. "It's trying to be fair and we hope that the Muslim world sees the rectification of history."

    The production team is using Loarre Castle in northern Spain and have built a replica of Jerusalem in Ouarzazate, in the Moroccan desert. Sir Ridley, 65, who was knighted in July last year, grew up in South Shields and rose to fame as director of Alien, starring Sigourney Weaver.

    He followed with classics such as Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise, which won him an Oscar nomination in 1992, and in 2002 Black Hawk Down, told the story of the US military's disastrous raid on Mogadishu. In 2001 his film Gladiator won five Oscars, but Sir Ridley lost out to Steven Soderbergh for Best Director.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...8/ixworld.html
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    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    Lord of the Rings portrayel of the West is to nice and totally ignores the years of fascist rule over the orcs...

    Really it is just another movie. If it was a book it would be in the fiction not fact section.
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    "It's trying to be fair and we hope that the Muslim world sees the rectification of history."

    The acedemics seem to think its not so much a rectification and more of a distortion.. i really dont want to see a movie that demonizes Christians and glorifies Muslims.. something just doesnt seem right about that.

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    Member Member sharrukin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    Asking Hollywood to make a historically accurate movie is like asking Dolphins to mountainclimb. They are not capable of it. I mean have they EVER made a historically accurate movie. They fantasize and cannot see that history is more interesting than anything they are capable of dreaming up.I would settle for a good movie which they are not too swift at either, but it is at least possible.
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    Quote Originally Posted by sharrukin
    Asking Hollywood to make a historically accurate movie is like asking Dolphins to mountainclimb.


    That's Ridley Scott too. Black Hawk Down,

    This is just a controversy ploy ala' Mel Gibson's Passions. More controversy, more buzz, more viewership, more cash.

    I can already picture them brainstorming this "idea". It's so obvious.

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    PapaSmurf Senior Member Louis de la Ferte Ste Colombe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    Quote Originally Posted by PanzerJager
    "It's trying to be fair and we hope that the Muslim world sees the rectification of history."

    The acedemics seem to think its not so much a rectification and more of a distortion.. i really dont want to see a movie that demonizes Christians and glorifies Muslims.. something just doesnt seem right about that.
    An interesting opinion of yours... A self confessed bias.

    No way muslims can do any good?

    Louis,
    [FF] Louis St Simurgh / The Simurgh



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    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    Quote Originally Posted by PanzerJager
    "It's trying to be fair and we hope that the Muslim world sees the rectification of history."

    The acedemics seem to think its not so much a rectification and more of a distortion.. i really dont want to see a movie that demonizes Christians and glorifies Muslims.. something just doesnt seem right about that.

    They are French knights though...
    Our genes maybe in the basement but it does not stop us chosing our point of view from the top.
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    Boondock Saint Senior Member The Blind King of Bohemia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    Look at the date.....its nearly a year and a half years old, and the film comes out this week. I doubt they even started filming it by that point, and those guys haven't even seen it yet!

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    Scruffy Looking Nerf Herder Member Steppe Merc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    Well I certaintly am not having any high hopes for history with this, but I'm gonna go see it... But is it bad to show the Muslims as not evil? Preferably, neither side would be good or bad, and show both their faults, but I understand it's Hollywood...
    And I fail to see potraying Saladin as not a monster is bad...

    "But if you should fall you fall alone,
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    A very, very Senior Member Adrian II's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    Quote Originally Posted by Steppe Merc
    And I fail to see potraying Saladin as not a monster is bad...
    I believe it's the 'confraternity of Muslims, Jews and Christians' that the professor takes issue with. Seems like utter nonsense indeed.
    The bloody trouble is we are only alive when we’re half dead trying to get a paragraph right. - Paul Scott

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    Robber Baron Member Brutus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    Probably just as well as depicting the crusaders like Guy de Lusignan and the Templars as really, really evil villians with probably a ridiculous scheme to rule the world...
    However, if anyone has ever read Steven Runciman's 'History of the Crusades', it does the same... (depicting all western Christians as either totally oblivious barbarians without any sense of decency or as power-hungry madmen who stop at nothing to get to their goals... most funny amongst them is Reynald de Chattillon, who seems to be in the movie as well. In the book he comes out as the eternal arch-villain, doing intentionally everything that is wrong and coming back over and over again...) but of course that work is half a century old and very much disputed by most historians, most prominent amongst them being Jonathan Riley-Smith!
    Last edited by Brutus; 05-03-2005 at 14:48.

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    Nec Pluribus Impar Member SwordsMaster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    well, first, the article is written at the time the filming was at the very beginning and all those academics probably didnt go to the previews....

    Secondly, the guy is an "expert in ecclesiastical history", dont you think he is a bit biased towards the Templars? or any other order of knight-monks for that matter.

    Or maybe he , just as Jager cant picture the christians being the bad guys. Or maybe he was wasted when he wrote the article, or maybe his dog was kidnapped by some guy named Saladdin Or something...
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    Ah, whatever. I see difference between this and the "historical" crap that has seemingly taken Hollywood by storm lately. Alexander, Troy, Augustus, a remake of Spartacus, King Arthur...it's all bunk. I might see this movie, but I won't pay for it.

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    Ambiguous Member Byzantine Prince's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    Fellini's Satyricon was pretty accurate if you know what I mean.

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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    Quote Originally Posted by Byzantine Prince
    Fellini's Satyricon was pretty accurate if you know what I mean.
    Nope. Explain.

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    Mad Professor Senior Member Hurin_Rules's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    I teach a course on the crusades, and I can attest to the fact that there is absolutely no evidence of a 'confraternity between Christians, Muslims and Jews'.

    On the other hand, I think ol' Jonathan Riley-Smith and Philips seem oddly riled up by a more sympathetic portrayal of Muslims. But unlike them, I'm going to wait till I see it this weekend before I make any judgements.
    "I love this fellow God. He's so deliciously evil." --Stuart Griffin

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    Ambiguous Member Byzantine Prince's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    Quote Originally Posted by NeonGod
    Nope. Explain.
    The whole movie is the same as the play. Everything about is true.

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    Scruffy Looking Nerf Herder Member Steppe Merc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    I believe it's the 'confraternity of Muslims, Jews and Christians' that the professor takes issue with. Seems like utter nonsense indeed.
    Agreed. I also think it's quite stupid... but I was mainly reacting to how he seemd to be saying that Muslims were evil, and that the Franks were good... Which is bull.

    "But if you should fall you fall alone,
    If you should stand then who's to guide you?
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    I'm going to see it, however I have a fear it may be bull

  20. #20
    Ambiguous Member Byzantine Prince's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    My question is why do they have to make romance out of everything. Is it like a rule in hollywood that every story however romance-less has to be injected with bs?

  21. #21

    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    I agree, there is no point to it, all that i'm interested in is the battles

  22. #22
    Scruffy Looking Nerf Herder Member Steppe Merc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    Agreed. Romance tends to kind of mess things up, unless it's done perfect. You think that they can save most of the romance stuff for the pre teen girls, you know?

    "But if you should fall you fall alone,
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    If I knew the way I would take you home."
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  23. #23

    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    I can't get my head around it

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    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    Prof Riley-Smith added: "Guy of Lusignan lost the Battle of Hattin against Saladin, yes, but he wasn't any badder or better than anyone else. There was never a confraternity of Muslims, Jews and Christians. That is utter nonsense."
    But in Jersalem weren't all three faiths living in relative harmony before the Crusades?

    And didn't the Crusaders kill anyone of all three faiths who got in there way?

    As for 'fairer' portrayels of Muslims take a look at the historical figure of El Cid or even the hollywood movie...
    Our genes maybe in the basement but it does not stop us chosing our point of view from the top.
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    A very, very Senior Member Adrian II's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    Quote Originally Posted by Steppe Merc
    (..)I was mainly reacting to how he seemd to be saying that Muslims were evil, and that the Franks were good... Which is bull.
    Sure, the 'rectification' quote is the embodiment of Liberal idiocy if you ask me. But there may be a mistake of perspective here, and I'll wait to see the movie for myself before I can be sure -- but I think the movie doesn't glorify or whitewash Saladin so much as make him look interesting, give him depth, at least more so than the run of the mill, semi-literate Franks opposite him. And if that is the case the director is quite right, because Saladin was indeed a fascinating character. That doesn't necessarily make him morally better or worse than the opposition.
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    Ambiguous Member Byzantine Prince's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    I just hope good and evil are not included in this movie because every time such themes are added the movie itself becomes automatically weaker.

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    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    Quote Originally Posted by Byzantine Prince
    I just hope good and evil are not included in this movie because every time such themes are added the movie itself becomes automatically weaker.
    Why? Good and Evil exist. It is just the 'feeble masses' who don't understand that they do.
    Our genes maybe in the basement but it does not stop us chosing our point of view from the top.
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  28. #28
    Master of the Horse Senior Member Pindar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    Scott is a talented Director. The Period chosen is also a very interesting choice. I'll pay my money first and judge afterwards.

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  29. #29

    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    An interesting opinion of yours... A self confessed bias.

    No way muslims can do any good?

    Louis,


    I see no point in pandering to Muslims as the article seems to indicate the movie is doing by demonizing the Christians and glorifying the Muslims.

    Me thinks that if the "Christian World" hung wemon in soccor stadiums for getting raped and cut peoples heads off, maybe hollywood would show them in a favorable light? Interesting..

  30. #30
    Member Member sharrukin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven accused of being propaganda

    Quote Originally Posted by PanzerJager
    An interesting opinion of yours... A self confessed bias.

    No way muslims can do any good?

    Louis,


    I see no point in pandering to Muslims as the article seems to indicate the movie is doing by demonizing the Christians and glorifying the Muslims.

    Me thinks that if the "Christian World" hung wemon in soccor stadiums for getting raped and cut peoples heads off, maybe hollywood would show them in a favorable light? Interesting..
    We should meet the Muslim world halfway in the Interest of 'confraternity' and hang rapists in our stadiums.
    Last edited by sharrukin; 05-12-2005 at 06:40.
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
    -- John Stewart Mills

    But from the absolute will of an entire people there is no appeal, no redemption, no refuge but treason.
    LORD ACTON

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