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Comment Archives: Stories: Film

Re: “FDR meets the King in Hyde Park on Hudson

The story is ludicrous - any reading of Geoffrey Ward's book, "Closest Companion," which tells their story through her letters and diaries, indicates no intimate relationship. I have been writing and lecturing on FDR for decades and I have not seen the film. From reading countless reviews and seeing outtakes I have no doubt that this film is more of a parody and its conclusions should not be taken with any seriousness. FDR was a powerful personality that attracted women admirers for decades. He was also an incredibly private individual who kept his inner thoughts to very few people. These few people did not keep notes, few wrote any memoirs (Louis Howe, Missy LeHand, Harry Hopkins and others wrote nothing) and the ones that did, knew little of his relationships and inner thoughts. That era was fraught with romanticism and life was quite fragile, relationships were close, warm and very often not intimate in the least. The idea that anyone could hear, report or remember even fragments of private conversations they were not part of is specious.

Historians and fiction writers make conclusions that are quite often totally unsupported by the facts. FDR kept no diary, his letters were not ones of intimacy and there are volumes of them to peruse. Margaret “Daisy” Suckley liked to listen, had no romantic relationships in her long life, and never bothered FDR with details, demands or pressure. He was able to relax with her and he often would give her insights and updates on some of the events that had unfolded or were about to happen. She, like the president, was quite discreet. Even her siblings didn’t even know that she knew the president.

He was very careful about what he wrote and he almost never revealed any clue of his intentions. I have over 400 books on FDR, thousands of articles, artifacts and collectibles and have devoted 27 radio broadcasts over six years on FDR, the New Deal, Eleanor Roosevelt and related subjects.

Richard J. Garfunkel
Host of The Advocates
WVOX 1460 am radio
New Rochelle, NY

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Richard J. Garfunkel on 01/03/2013 at 7:49 AM

Re: “Django Unchained

ELIJAH - In the movie, they specifically refer to the explosive as "dynamite," which wasn't yet invented.

0 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Neil Morris on 12/29/2012 at 6:20 PM

Re: “Django Unchained

Fellerath is wrong both about the explosive and the rifle used in the long distance kill neither of which he believes was invented at the time the movie was set.
1. It of course wasn't dynamite which had not been invented: it was gunpowder which was invented by the ancient Chinese and which was the basis of mixtures widely used for mining prior to dynamite. In the movie Django in fact acquires the explosive from transporters employed by a mining company.
2. Fellerath found the long distance kill unrealistic because the rifle employed was not available in 1858. Wrong, the gun was a Sharp Co. rifle which came out in 1848 The Sharp was very accurate and did have a very long range.

Dont you have anyone check facts? Often wrong, never in doubt

6 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by ELIJAH on 12/29/2012 at 5:16 PM

Re: “Django Unchained

Mr. Fellerath: Tough to walk the critical line between art and exploitation, you did it well with your fair-minded assessment of Django. The bloodfest described in the last hour of Django reflects a pornography of violence that too many are quick to dismiss as art for the greater good. I'll pass on Tarantino this year. Thanks.

1 like, 3 dislikes
Posted by JosefWoodman on 12/29/2012 at 9:42 AM

Re: “Three-hour opener to Hobbit trilogy

Hm, guess I'll save my money, unless you you think it could be the butt of a burst of many future jokes. Which, in hindsight, was the best reason to go see avatar.

Posted by Oliver McIrwin on 12/13/2012 at 8:29 PM

Re: “Searching for Sugar Man tells the strange tale of vanished counterculture icon Rodriguez

One of the top ten documentaries of 2012.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by rgj5366 on 11/28/2012 at 6:09 PM

Re: “Searching for Sugar Man tells the strange tale of vanished counterculture icon Rodriguez

Searching for Sugar Man is one of the best documentaries I've seen in a long time. What an awesome and inspiring story. I would suggest this movie to anyone! It's got a very good chance of being in the running for best documentary in the academy awards. Sixto Rodriguez is such a humble and thankful person. Even though he hasn't had the best of luck in his succes as a musician, he is thankful for the life he has. And now he deserves all the success that's coming to him. We really enjoyed having Sixtoin our studio to perform, check him out and go see the movie!

Posted by Cece De Mattos on 11/02/2012 at 3:06 PM

Re: “Ben Affleck's directing career continues to impress with Argo

Loved it but I thought Affleck's acting was the weakest part. Plus Mendez was Hispanic. Would it have killed him to employ an actor of color?

Posted by jw9788a on 10/19/2012 at 11:04 AM

Re: “Dueling college a cappella groups in Pitch Perfect

Can't wait to see it! Found this cool video of No Diggity played entirely by saxophones - yeh even the drums! It's called Saxapella -

Posted by Reg O'Reily on 10/03/2012 at 6:57 AM

Re: “Rashida Jones sparkles in Celeste and Jesse

Fair point, caab.

And jw9788a, I *wanted* to like WALTZ. Glad Sarah Polley, Michelle Williams et al. found a more receptive viewer in you.

Posted by David Fellerath, Indy Culture & Sports Editor on 08/31/2012 at 1:53 PM

Re: “Rashida Jones sparkles in Celeste and Jesse

I think her having three occupations is pretty accurate for a 30-something today - a lot of my friends do more than one thing and I have lawyer, band manager/vocalist, and blogger on my list of income streams...

Posted by caab on 08/31/2012 at 12:34 PM

Re: “Rashida Jones sparkles in Celeste and Jesse

Love the angle you took on this review, but I really liked Waltz!

Posted by jw9788a on 08/30/2012 at 1:41 PM

Re: “A front-row seat to the 2008 credit implosion

One more note on this. I received very firm text messages from Indy photographer Jeremy Lange about this review, which read in part:

Lauren Greenfield "has made her career tackling female body issue topics from child beauty pageants to bulimia... She is one of the preeminent photojournalists of the last 20 years. Not war, but serious projects on domestic issues mostly as they relate to women."

Again, the insufficient characterization of her work in the review is my doing, not the writer's.

This is a wonderful film, by the way.

Posted by David Fellerath, Indy Culture & Sports Editor on 08/23/2012 at 11:35 PM

Re: “A front-row seat to the 2008 credit implosion

As the editor of the review, let me speak to this: You're correct that Greenfield has worked in the social-documentary vein. The characterization of her as a fashion photographer was intended, not as a slight, but as a reflection of the circumstances under which she met Jackie Siegel. As recounted in the film's press notes, Greenfield was on assignment for the fashion magazine ELLE to photograph the fashion designer Donatella Versace when she met Siegel, who had been flown in for the occasion as one of Versace's most valued customers.

Greenfield has worked within and without the fashion industry, and it's a credit to the complexity of her work that the line between being a "fashion" photographer and a "social-documentary" photographer isn't always clear. For example, there's this:

Perhaps calling her a "photographer" would be most precise.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by David Fellerath, Indy Culture & Sports Editor on 08/22/2012 at 5:49 PM

Re: “A front-row seat to the 2008 credit implosion

Wait a minute! "Greenfield, a fashion photographer, . . ." ??? I'm sure you meant "Greenfield, a renowned social-documentary photographer. . ."

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by SoniaK1 on 08/22/2012 at 4:31 PM

Re: “A writer with power in Ruby Sparks

Thanks for writing, David. I thought it was interesting that Calvin created a perfectly perfect girlfriend on the first try, and that this incarnation of Ruby was sufficiently independent to extract herself from the relationship.

I think I might have been more interested in how the film played out if Calvin had had to figure out how to woo her back. Without spoiling the ending for those who haven't seen it, I don't think what happened there represents a true comeuppance.

Posted by David Fellerath, Indy Culture & Sports Editor on 08/10/2012 at 2:54 PM

Re: “A writer with power in Ruby Sparks

Clearly Ruby was never meant to be a complex character. Calvin's mania and anguish were the main protags/an tags here. I think it got dark when needed, as in the final scene after the party, which was quite uncomfortable.. And it was an inventive look at the notion of male-control in relationships, an often overlooked issue in current media, unless it involves more intense physical or emotional abuse. Ultimately, Calvin's breakdowns led to breakthroughs, and we hope he has learned through them.

I do agree re the scene with the mom and Mort. Antonio Bandera's presence garnered the biggest laugh, but otherwise that whole situation seemed sort of pointless, unless I'm missing something. You're right, the scene with Jessica (True Bloods most sexy) was a show-stealer. Her emotion and insight articulated our growing concerns with the generally likable Calvin.

Posted by David Gill on 08/10/2012 at 11:54 AM

Re: “Mi parolas Esperanton: The Universal Language

Sam Green's film is an interesting and entertaining documentary, which gets a good percentage of the facts right. It's easy to get some of the facts wrong on any subject, since most articles are written by reporters who have just begun to research a subject, in order to write an article. Reporters interview reporters, and continue to spread information that is seldom traced back to original, or even reliable, sources. Even when reporters are doing their best, it's best to take most statements with a grain of salt. For example, in this article, we are told that Esperanto's "popularity has waned", completely without citation or attribution. Is it true? Who did the research that supports this conclusion? It might be correct, but I suspect that the statement was simply made up by someone, because it might sound credible. As a counter-indication to waning popularity, the biggest free Esperanto learning site,, has 125,000 active user accounts, indicating a remarkable number of people engaged in learning the language. Lernu's online Esperanto courses offer learning help, guidance, and explanations in 37 different languages, and counting, thereby fulfilling the role, within that context, of a language facilitating international communication, connection and friendship building.

The other strikingly questionable statement in this article is that English is spoken by 1.5 billion people. While this figure can be found on Wikipedia, it exceeds all the estimates that I have previously seen put forward by anyone knowledgeable in linguistic demographics. English is clearly the most important and widely-used language for international communication, but 1.5 billion speakers is an exaggeration. Assuming that by speakers, we mean people who can actually hold a useful conversation on a variety of simple topics. No doubt that quite a lot of people have studied English at one time or another, but now have no useful capability in it.

It will be interesting to see how well English maintains its influence, now that the economic power of its largest countries, the US and UK, are in decline, following thirty years of sending most of their jobs and money to Asia (and to billionaires). In any case, the number of English speakers in the world is a smaller fraction now than it was in 1970 (which was roughly the peak of the world's use of English, on a percentage basis.) While the number of native English speakers continues to rise, it has been surpassed by Spanish in the last twenty years.

Posted by Vere Nekoninda on 07/19/2012 at 10:11 PM

Re: “Mi parolas Esperanton: The Universal Language

Bill Chapman is right. Esperanto is in fact more widespread than people imagine. It is now in the top 100 languages, out of 6,800 worldwide. It is the 29th most used language in Wikipedia, ahead of Danish and Arabic. It is a language choice of, Skype, Firefox, Ubuntu and Facebook and Google translate recently added this international language to its prestigious list of 64 languages.

Native Esperanto speakers, (people who have used the language from birth), include World Chess Champion Susan Polger, Ulrich Brandenberg the new German Ambassador to and Nobel Laureate Daniel Bovet. Financier George Soros learnt Esperanto as a child.

Esperanto is a living language - see…

Their online course has 125 000 hits per day and Esperanto Wikipedia enjoys 400 000 hits per day. That can't be bad :)

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Brian Barker on 07/19/2012 at 7:37 AM

Re: “Mi parolas Esperanton: The Universal Language

I'm not sure that Esperanto's "popularity has waned". I find a very dynamic, widespread speaker-population on my travels. I've just come back from France - where I used the language, of course.

Posted by Hilary Chapman on 07/18/2012 at 2:55 PM

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