Thread: War Shillelagh
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Old 6th March 2009, 05:19 PM   #24
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,685

Right you are Gav!! and frankly I'm glad they dont use 'rolling pins' anymore, remember the old cartoon cliche', I think the strip was "Andy Capp" or something like that, where the frustrated wife always bopped the unwary husband with her 'tool of the trade'. I guess she baked a lot.

Good points David, and the fact that this movie character was based on a figure completely outside the Irish gangs and of later period clearly shows the licence used by film directors to gain aesthetic effect.

I have really enjoyed looking into the authenticity of certain weapons often portrayed in some movies over the years. One that I recall was the unusual 'gunstock' club used by Russell Means as the warrior Chingachgook in "The Last of the Mohicans". I recall being intrigued by the stunning blue color of this odd boomerang looking thing with dagger blade protruding. I went berserk as usual with research and ended up talking with the guy who actually made the weapons for the movie, if I recall he made three, and somewhere in 'the archives' are photos he sent. In speaking with arms authority Norm Flayderman, he noted these were of course, not made from gunstocks, just colloquially called that, and they were used mostly by Plains tribes rather than woodland.
Just the same, the weapon chosen seems to have lent well to the movie.

If I may, one more example;
In "Sleepy Hollow" the 'Headless Horseman' played by Christopher Walken uses a terrifying looking sword that is purely fantasy. I looked deeply into history of the Hessian troops that were in upstate New York during the Revolutionary War, and these troops of the cavalry units from Germany were inadvertantly not mounted. Thier horses had been left behind, though they did carry, in some degree, the huge cavalry swords of the period, brass hilts with odd birdhead pommels and long straight blades. They were so long and cumbersome, and virtually useless fighting dismounted.
But the one in the movie, and used on horseback with a wild stallion....frightening!!!

As they always say...hooray for Hollywood!

All the best,
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