Lepanto is Ready for Its Close Up Mr. DeMille



Mark Judge has advised Hollywood that a movie on the battle of Lepanto would make a ton of money.  Go here to read his post.  Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, dreads what Hollywood would do with it.

Mark Judge dreams big dreams:

Memo to Hollywood: if you want to replicate the blockbuster success of American Sniper, make a film about Lepanto.

The Battle of Lepanto was fought on October 7, 1571, in the Gulf of Lepanto south of Greece. It was a seminal victory of the Western world turning back Islamic imperialism, which in the 16th century had been spreading west for one hundred years, since the time of Mohammed.

It would make a ton of money.  But I think that Mark is smart enough to know that there is a five-word reason why a Lepanto movie will never see the light of day.  Roman Catholics win.  Muslims lose.

I’ll just be blunt about it: Lepanto would be a film about Islamic imperialism and the attempt by the Christian West to turn it back. It would depict Muslims — not all Muslims, but more than a few — as violent hegemonic oppressors intent on taking over the world.

Yeah, Mark, considering what Hollywood just did to Noah, here’s that pitch meeting.

“Okay, we LOVE the script.  Our tech people tell us that CGI-ing the sea battle itself will be a piece of cake so we’d LOVE to take this project on.  There are just a couple of very MINOR changes we’d like to make.

“What kinds of changes?

“Well, for a start, is it absolutely NECESSARY that the opposing fleet be Muslim?”

“Because…that’s what they…were?”

“I’ll take your word for it but remember, we’ve got foreign markets to consider.  What Muslim country will show this movie?

“What self-respecting Turk is going to pay good money to watch his own fleet getting blown out of the water?  No, we’ve got to lose the Muslim angle.  How about we make the other fleet Protestants?”

“Because Protestantism was barely 50 years old at the time of the battle and didn’t have a fleet.  Why would you even suggest such an absurd…”

“Artistic license.  What say we move the whole thing to land then?  Protestants v. Catholics.”

“Then it wouldn’t be a sea battle, would it?”

Will you work with me here?!!  How about this?  The enemy fleet is filled with Vikings.”

“Great!! Except for the fact that the Viking Era ended roughly 500 years before this battle took place.  Tell you what.  Thanks for your time and we’ll get back to you.” Continue Reading

New Orleans Is Ready For Its Close Up Mr. DeMille



American history tends to be ignored by Hollywood and therefore it is unusual for a battle to receive treatment in a Hollywood feature film. It is doubly unusual for a battle to be treated in two Hollywood feature films, but that is the case for the battle of New Orleans, the two hundredth anniversary of which is coming up this week on January 8, 2015. The 1938 film The Buccaneer was directed by the legendary Cecil B. DeMille and had Frederic March, an actor largely forgotten today but a major star in his time, as Jean Lafitte. Two future stars have bit parts in the film: Anthony Quinn and Walter Brennan. Hugh Sothern who portrayed Andrew Jackson would also portray Jackson in 1939 in the film Old Hickory.


The 1958 remake was also to have been directed by Cecil B. DeMille, but he was seriously ill at that time, and relegated himself to the role of executive producer, turning the director’s chair over to Anthony Quinn, his then son-in-law, the one and only film that Quinn ever directed. DeMille was unhappy with the film and it received fairly negative reviews, although I think the battle sequences are superior to the first film. Yul Brynner plays Jean Lafitte and Charlton Heston is a commanding Andrew Jackson. Like Hugh Sothern, Heston would portray Jackson twice, the first time being in The President’s Lady (1953), the tale of the great love story of Rachel Jackson (Susan Hayward) and Andrew Jackson. Future stars in this version include Inger Stevens, Claire Bloom and Lorne Green. Adequate coverage of the battle is given in each film, although not much detail. The battle of course is merely an adjunct to the romantic tale of Jean Lafitte. Without the pirate turned patriot, I am certain the battle of New Orleans would have likely received the same indifference that Hollywood has shown for most of American history.