Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew, and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew, and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew, and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.
Eric Lidell was aware months before the team left for Paris that heat was scheduled for a Sunday and was always slated to run in the 400 -- no last minute switch to avoid running on the Sabbath. (Something like what was depicted did happen in the 1912 Olympics, but the runners were Americans from Penn, if I recall correctly.) Jennie Lidell never discourage Eric from training for Olympics. Jackson Scholz barely met Eric Lidell and never gave him an encouraging note. (I talked to Scholz by phone before he died at his home in Del Ray Beach and he told me that if he had given Lidell a note it wouldn't have been a biblical quotation because "my religious training was, well, a little casual.")
Scholz and Jennie Lidell, who were listed as technical advisers to the movie, were both more than a little offended by the inaccuracies in the movie and Scholz refused to see it because he felt it portrayed the Americans as overbearing and egotistical; he said that, in reality, "you couldn't have wanted to meet a bunch of nicer guys."
Does it matter? Probably not, but if it doesn't, why pretend the movie is true? Why not "based on actual events," or something of that sort? It really takes something away from the movie when you realize that none of the main characters had any of the personal, social or religious motivations the movie relies on to create drama. It makes one wonder what really motivated the real characters. I wrote and called Colin Welland a few times, but he never responded.
I still enjoy the movie, but now it's about a bunch of fictional characters, about whom it's harder to feel much interest. Sort as if one learned that Becket was, in fact, not killed by Henry II's barons, but was merely mugged in the park. Somehow the movie wouldn't be the same afterwards.
I wonder what kind of a movie could have been made about the real characters and events of the 1924 Olympics?
- Aug 9, 1999