What ‘Deep Throat’ Really Wanted | The Weekly Standard

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I used to have this annual argument at Christmas with my brother-in-law, a well-regarded film editor in Hollywood. I would arrive brimming with complaints about a movie like Argo, said to be “based on actual events” but with an entirely fictitious Keystone Kops-like airport chase scene. I would rail about the disservice to history and the misleading effects as an increasing number of Americans learn their history from Hollywood features. He would defend dramatic license. I’d respond by saying a driver’s license doesn’t give one the right to do anything one wants on the road. Round and round we’d go, until we reached his final redoubt: “It’s only a movie.”Eventually I conceded that films “based on actual events” have the right to composite characters, to elide real-life figures, rearrange chronologies, invent fictitious subplots, and the like for the sake of entertainment. As the Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan once noted, historical films “are constitutionally incapable of being completely accurate.” The mere fact of turning a camera lens on a real event means its distortion. But I insisted a line is crossed whenever a film violates the historical essence of an event. History may be a never-ending argument, but one is not entitled to one’s own facts, and not all facts are equal.

Source: What ‘Deep Throat’ Really Wanted | The Weekly Standard


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