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"Simcoe’s heirs should sue " Topic

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Winston Smith03 Jul 2018 9:55 a.m. PST

The Tarleton estate considered suing The Patriot over the depiction of "Tavington".
And Hook's descendants were not all that thrilled over his depiction in Zulu. They pursued legal action.
That must be a British thing. I don't see anything like that in the Stayes, but that could be because Yanks are just generally despicable. grin

I am of course talking about the depiction of John Graves Simcoe in Turn. He is one of the most loathsome villains I've ever seen on a TV show. He needs a cape to swirl and a moustach to twirl. If railroads existed in 1778, he would be tying virgins to the tracks.
The actor, Samuel Roukin, does a marvelous job. I saw a TV interview with him. He has a normal fine baritone speaking voice. He said he "found the character" when he used a high pitched squeaky voice. It works. Mel Gibson would cast him immediately as a "typical English Evil Fop".
It's very over the top. Insane, ruthless, treacherous…

It's hard to reconcile him with the later Governor General of Canada who freed the slaves. grin

I know. It's a TV show.
Hollywood has no obligation, moral or otherwise, to " get it right". It's only obligation is a fiduciary one to its investors. And that is to produce shows that people will watch.
History is just that. "His story". It's something screen writers can use as they please, leaving out some stuff, embellishing others. Just come in at 45 minutes of "must see" action.
Turn succeeds admirably in that.
If you want it straight, read a book.

But why do I keep expecting Benedict Arnold to bang a dead parrot on the counter top, or complain about the lack of cheese?
If I were doing a Flashman movie, I would choose Owain Yeoman, since John Cleese is getting on in years.

clibinarium03 Jul 2018 10:15 a.m. PST

Well in English law defamation is a personal action, which only the injured party can bring, it cannot be brought on their behalf by someone else like an heir or relative. So generally the dead can't be defamed, or at least no action can be brought. So when I see stories of people taking legal advice over the defamation of their ancestors, I always picture their lawyer saying "He's dead right? So; No. I'll send you an invoice."

I seem to recall Greek lawyers considering suing over over the depiction of Alexander in Oliver Stone's movie. The mind boggles as to how that was going to work, but maybe Greek law would allow it (presumably not, since it went nowhere). Mind you the movie was bad enough to give rise to possible actions on simpler grounds.

rmaker03 Jul 2018 10:28 a.m. PST

I seem to recall Greek lawyers considering suing over over the depiction of Alexander in Oliver Stone's movie.

This despite the frequently asserted "Alexander wasn't Greek, he was Macedonian."

Dadster Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2018 1:16 p.m. PST

Simcoe is much more than Snidely Whiplash, he is Frankenstein's monster, Snidely Whiplash, Attila the Hun, and the man who can not be killed. But he is also a very complex character.

I think the show depicted him as being somewhat against slavery – so that is not such a leap of faith in seeing what the bonafide real life Simcoe did.

Bill N03 Jul 2018 2:09 p.m. PST

In the past you have been relatively tolerant of Hollywood foibles, or at least have pushed a view that we history buffs should not expect much from Hollywood. Why the change Winston?

Winston Smith03 Jul 2018 2:23 p.m. PST

What makes you think I changed my mind?
I love it.

KSmyth03 Jul 2018 4:52 p.m. PST

He was a pretty nasty booger during the Northwest Indian Wars, according to Hoagland's Autumn of the Black Snake. Definitely had no love for Americans. Haven't given Turn much of a watch, so I don't have a basis for comparison.

AussieAndy Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2018 5:59 p.m. PST

You only need to look at what the media has to say about dead folk to realise that they can't sue for defamation (at least in common law jurisdictions).

axabrax04 Jul 2018 7:46 a.m. PST

It could be worse. I think he's an amusing character. The show's probably written for the average American TV-watching nincompoop who's maybe looking for something similar to Game of Thrones. Given that fact, the show goes much farther than usual to present something vaguely historical and founded in a tiny germ of facts. I thought it was a fantastic series overall. Well worth watching.

arthur181505 Jul 2018 2:08 a.m. PST

If the descendants of the dead could sue for defamation of their ancestors, it might be difficult to publish history books or biographies which showed their relatives in anything other than a favourable light.

Imagine the lawsuits that would be brought by distant relatives of Napoleon, for example, if some of the debates on the Napoleonics boards are anything to go by!

So, whilst I every sympathy for the family of Henry Hook in respect of the film 'Zulu', it perhaps as well that English law is as it is, otherwise more recent books demonstrating that Chard and Bromhead were not quite the clever heroes shown in the same film, and giving due credit to Commissary Dalton, might never have been published…

Winston Smith06 Jul 2018 2:31 p.m. PST

The war ends at Yorktown.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2018 2:43 p.m. PST

Well thank God for that! It was going on, rather

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