Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Re-watching ‘Michael Collins’: It was a sign when they didn’t spell ‘guerrilla’ right

My wife and I both recently read the two volumes of Ernie O’Malley’s memoirs of the Irish war of independence and the subsequent civil war (thanks to a BD contributor recommendation), so we decided to watch the film Michael Collins. I was surprised at how cheesy and Hollywoodish the whole thing seemed, with a dull ...

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Wikimedia
Wikimedia

My wife and I both recently read the two volumes of Ernie O'Malley's memoirs of the Irish war of independence and the subsequent civil war (thanks to a BD contributor recommendation), so we decided to watch the film Michael Collins. I was surprised at how cheesy and Hollywoodish the whole thing seemed, with a dull love story embedded in the middle, with the female love interest played woodenly by Julia Roberts. 

But I shoulda know the jig was up during the introduction that gave the historical context, and it informed us of the "guerilla" war in Ireland against the British -- that is, with one "r."

I know, I know, we should have been watching The Wind That Shakes the Barley. But my wife already has seen it twice. The first time, we were in a theater, and she gasped when the priest refused communion to the anti-Free Staters. She said, "My mother told me that happened to her father" (in County Clare).

My wife and I both recently read the two volumes of Ernie O’Malley’s memoirs of the Irish war of independence and the subsequent civil war (thanks to a BD contributor recommendation), so we decided to watch the film Michael Collins. I was surprised at how cheesy and Hollywoodish the whole thing seemed, with a dull love story embedded in the middle, with the female love interest played woodenly by Julia Roberts. 

But I shoulda know the jig was up during the introduction that gave the historical context, and it informed us of the “guerilla” war in Ireland against the British — that is, with one “r.”

I know, I know, we should have been watching The Wind That Shakes the Barley. But my wife already has seen it twice. The first time, we were in a theater, and she gasped when the priest refused communion to the anti-Free Staters. She said, “My mother told me that happened to her father” (in County Clare).

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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