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2020 Film & History Break at The Green Park with Ian Garden

The Art of Mixing Fact and Fiction

Film and Media: Propaganda during World War Two

Sunday the 16th of February until the morning of Thursday the 20th of February 2020

The line between fact and fiction is often blurred, and during World War Two those involved in producing films and newsreel became adept at manipulating true facts and events for propaganda purposes.

Following on from the success of Ian Garden’s last two Film and History Breaks and drawing on much of the research from his books and film classes, this year’s break will be mixing fact and fiction in a number of compelling ways.

Two of the morning sessions will explore which side was being more truthful in its media reporting of two vitally important events from the war – namely, the St Nazaire Raid and the Battle of the Bulge. Powerpoint presentations will compare respective press coverage and include excerpts from relevant newsreel footage and feature films. The third morning session will give a fascinating insight into the truth behind the Germans’ ‘Paradise Camp’ film. While all of these are factual events – the media coverage actually contained a good deal of fiction and misinformation.

During the afternoon sessions, and in a complete change of tone, we are going to be looking at three light-hearted feature films produced during the war – one British, one German and one American - which are all works of fiction, but rather surprisingly do contain many factual elements within them.

The films to be screened are Cottage to Let – a charming British comedy/thriller starring Alastair Sim and John Mills; Münchhausen – the 1943 epic full of notable German actors and designed by the Nazis to prove that, even in the midst of war, Germany could still produce fantastic colour films brimming with special effects which were a match for anything being produced by Hollywood; and The Great Dictator – the famous Chaplin film which so infuriated Hitler but which Chaplin would eventually wish he had never made.

Given the variety of the material to be covered, Ian is confident that you will find this new programme interesting and informative and that you will be thoroughly entertained by the various films - several of which you will be unlikely to have seen previously.


There is no supplementary charge for single accommodation on any of our activity breaks, and as normal, we can arrange free transport (on arrival and departure) between the hotel and the bus and railway stations.

Details about all of our activity breaks are readily available - either download a copy from this section, ask for them during you stay, or just telephone the hotel and ask us to forward a programme for whatever activity you are interested in.

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