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Johan Gemvik




Location: Stockholm, Sweden
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PostPosted: Sun 02 Feb, 2014 1:14 pm    Post subject: How accurate is Black sails?         Reply with quote

There's a new and quite entertaining pirate show on HBO right now called Black Sails.

IMO they got the gritty pirate feel of it all down pretty good but my question is the obvious one for this forum -how authentic are the weapons being used?

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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David Fictum





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PostPosted: Sun 02 Feb, 2014 2:41 pm    Post subject: Re: How accurate is Black sails?         Reply with quote

For the weaponry, from what I can spot, not very accurate at all. I see a lot of later 18th-century swords (including a "figure-8" cutlass) and a lot of later 18th century flintlock firearms (the muskets appear to be some kind of mid-18th century Brown Bess, or at least the ones seen in that first fight scene, and a french pistol from the 1780s was recognized right away). For Black Sails, when they promote "real", they don't mean material culture, they mean real as in pirates are portrayed as bad guys and criminals who do engage in pretty severe violence for a change.
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Feb, 2014 3:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's on Starz, not HBO.

I watched part of the first episode. I couldn't get a really good look at it, but it appeared that Captain Flint was using a Hanwei Mortuary sword - the original would have dated from the middle of the 17th century.



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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
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PostPosted: Mon 03 Feb, 2014 4:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If I was being glib I'd say 'its a drama on tv so its not in anyway accurate'. I haven't seen it but there is so much 'wrong' in the one pic that's been posted I'd have to say it will be utterly made up tosh. However never let accuracy get in the way of a good yarn.

Over here we are screening the new series 'The Musketeers' which I was prepared to watch and either throw things at the tv or winge and moan about on forums etc but despite its preponderance of leather fantasy clothing its a jolly romp, has some period feel to it (well mud, rain and the lovely rustic locations of Czechoslovakia doubling for filthy 17th cent France) and held my attention. Which is more than can be said about 'The White queen' which should be arrested for crimes against costume, arms and armour and historical entertainment in general.

The costume designer on the recent BBC series of Shakespeare history plays states they put all the men into leather trousers to enhance their masculinity. Go figure. The lead in Henry V was given a rubber cuirass (of a distinctly fantasy nature) and other bits of armour so he could 'move about better'. Go figure again. I'd be happy to be told it was because he wasn't used to it or it made him cold etc but unable to move....? But the words are fab, he acted well so I wasn't that bothered.

TV and film works like this. You have various depts all working to make it 'real'. I know, its part of my work, I do a couple of productions a year. But authenticity costs and you usually end up with a fudge, despite what the PR people say. They may have hand dyed, hand woven, hand distressed the stars costume etc but its still been designed and cherry picked from history. POTC veers from the 1690's to the 1760's visiting la la land on the way, despite the fact that the first one can be accurately dated by circumstance of one particular happening to a specific date.

Its mainly down to budget of course. A few years back a 3 week shoot on the crusades I was on in the middle east turned into a week in Spain, then a weekend in a sand quarry in the uk then 1 day in front of a green screen errected in a borrowed dilapidated indoor horse school. That's showbiz!

For accurate Pirate info look here:

http://www.the-flying-gang.org/
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Bryan Heff




Location: Philadelphia
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PostPosted: Mon 03 Feb, 2014 4:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Do any of the pirates have 1 or possible 2 cutlass strapped to their back?

So far I have seen in various shows and movies

1 - Ninja-Romano-British (Movie King Arthur)
2 - Ninja-Ancient Hebrews (History channel show - The Bible)
3 - Ninja-Persian Immortals (Movie 300)
4 - Ninja-Vikings (History channel show -Vikings)
5 - Ninja-Pirates???

Please let there be Ninja-Pirates!!! Wink
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Mon 03 Feb, 2014 6:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Roger Hooper wrote:
It's on Starz, not HBO.

I watched part of the first episode. I couldn't get a really good look at it, but it appeared that Captain Flint was using a Hanwei Mortuary sword - the original would have dated from the middle of the 17th century.


Roger that Roger. I also see a "Murdoch" Scottish all metal pistol tucked into his sash which is probably one of the Indian-made pistols that has been discussed here from time to time. Definitely from the early to mid-18th c. and not appropriate for the time period being portrayed.

I also agree that the sword is probably a Hanwei Mortuary Hilt. I have one and compared it to the one in the photo. From a time period perspective it is probably accurate but I have no way of knowing if that was the sort of thing pirates used, although I suspect they carried whatever got the job done.

We won't be watching this since I cancelled Starz a few months ago when I discovered that we had not watched it for a very long time. Most historical movies and TV series have to take some license with their equipment for budgetary and technical reasons but I wish they would make more effort than they seem to be taking to improve their accuracy. It is a curse for those of us familiar with antique arms to see otherwise good productions spoiled - at least in our critical eyes - by that sort of inaccuracy. I will never get over the scene in The Patriot where "Col. Tavington" shoots a patriot fleeing on horseback with a smoothbore pistol at what appears to be 75 yards or so!

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Marik C.S.




Location: Germany
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PostPosted: Mon 03 Feb, 2014 6:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's not just Arms, Armour and Costumes it is basically a good idea to assume everything shown in a movie is wrong on some level, even Trees Wink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rCh7FjDsSM

If you have a hobby or something you are quite knowledgeable about you will invariantly see it misrepresented in most forms of media. To an extend that is okay, because whether it is books, movies or games these are meant for entertainment and their main concern should be the story.
But that still is no excuse for not trying harder.

Europe - Where the History comes from. - Eddie Izzard
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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Feb, 2014 4:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
everything shown in a movie is wrong on some level, even Trees Wink



hahaha, its not just me then! I made a camera crew swivel 180 degrees once as the background was a selection of 19th century plant hunters imports for a scene we were shooting on the Black Death. They couldn't see the point but my professionalism got the better of me.

But plants can also help you, I have bags and bags of plastic ivy to wrap around downpipes, cables, alarm boxes etc. Not that any self respecting historical property owner would allow that, but the Lord of the Manor is even less likely to have a broad band cable or electrical junction box on his pile.
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Marik C.S.




Location: Germany
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Feb, 2014 5:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Forget about disease, death and war - no broadband makes the past sound kinda cruel.

This thread got me thinking though, which films&series would you consider to be closest to the mark?

I would be struggling to name many.

I quite like Alatriste, though I'm far from familiar enough with the Period to notice flaws in smaller details - I'm sure that there are quite a number, I'd be really surprised if not.
What really impressed me with that movie was the fighting. Not overly fancy to show of the hero's ability and skill but rather quite short and to the point.
Kill the opponent and move on, that's the way to go, you don't want to engage for longer than necessary if you can avoid it.

Europe - Where the History comes from. - Eddie Izzard
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Mike Janis




Location: Atlanta GA
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Feb, 2014 8:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lin said: "I also see a "Murdoch" Scottish all metal pistol tucked into his sash which is probably one of the Indian-made pistols that has been discussed here from time to time. Definitely from the early to mid-18th c. and not appropriate for the time period being portrayed."

I'm confused. Black Sails is set in 1715. That IS early 18th c. So how can something from early 18th c. not be appropraite for the early 18th c?

MikeJ
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Tue 04 Feb, 2014 12:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike Janis wrote:
Lin said: "I also see a "Murdoch" Scottish all metal pistol tucked into his sash which is probably one of the Indian-made pistols that has been discussed here from time to time. Definitely from the early to mid-18th c. and not appropriate for the time period being portrayed."

I'm confused. Black Sails is set in 1715. That IS early 18th c. So how can something from early 18th c. not be appropraite for the early 18th c?


Mike...

Not having seen the thing or heard much about it, I did not know when it was set. The pistol itself is probably more in the 1750s era although it only superficially resembles any Scottish all metal pistol from any time frame. If it is from 1715, then I have to retract what I said about the sword. It is about seventy years earlier than the time frame of the story so, while these might still be around, I would not expect to find one in the hands of a pirate captain. Just my opinion.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Ray Harrington




Location: Lodi CA
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Feb, 2014 5:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Roger Hooper wrote:
It's on Starz, not HBO.

I watched part of the first episode. I couldn't get a really good look at it, but it appeared that Captain Flint was using a Hanwei Mortuary sword - the original would have dated from the middle of the 17th century.


It looks Like they mounted a cutlass blade on the Hanwei Mortuary hilt.

It shows it around 1:50
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIQCwOPJARM
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William P




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PostPosted: Tue 04 Feb, 2014 9:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

300 can be excused from the line of being not too accuate because i get this feeling frank miller was going for the fantastical angle all along, history be damned
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Bryan Heff




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PostPosted: Wed 05 Feb, 2014 4:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
300 can be excused from the line of being not too accuate because i get this feeling frank miller was going for the fantastical angle all along, history be damned


Good point and I agree. Certain movies, 300 being one of them are really just fantasy movies even though there is a story they are using that is historical. Still....enough already with every movie army having some sort of "Ninja" fighter. I guess its just a pet peeve of mine. Wink
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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Thu 06 Feb, 2014 6:11 am    Post subject: Re: How accurate is Black sails?         Reply with quote

David Fictum wrote:
For Black Sails, when they promote "real", they don't mean material culture, they mean real as in pirates are portrayed as bad guys and criminals who do engage in pretty severe violence for a change.


Can I just say, promoting this show as "real pirates" is a bit ironic considering it's apparently a prequel to Treasure Island, the book that more or less invented the stereotypical pirate. (Peg legs, parrots, maps to buried treasure, all of it.)

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Dave Leppo




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PostPosted: Thu 06 Feb, 2014 9:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Do they wear boots or shoes / barefoot? According to my occasional perusal of Pirate reenactor sites, Boots were definitely NOT part of sea-going fashion during the age of piracy, and a dead giveaway...


http://www.sea-thieves.com/education_pages/se...thes_2.htm

-Dave


Last edited by Dave Leppo on Sat 08 Feb, 2014 7:23 am; edited 1 time in total
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Fri 07 Feb, 2014 12:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dave Leppo wrote:
According to my occasional perusal of Pirate reactor sites


Do they have critical mass? What kind of radiation do pirates emit when too many of them hang out together, I wonder? Big Grin
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Dave Leppo




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PostPosted: Sat 08 Feb, 2014 7:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Dave Leppo wrote:
According to my occasional perusal of Pirate reactor sites


Do they have critical mass? What kind of radiation do pirates emit when too many of them hang out together, I wonder? Big Grin


corrected. Anything else?

-Dave
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sun 16 Feb, 2014 11:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, since I'm lazy and not too inclined to go beyond the photographs already posted in this thread . . . well, the funniest thing to me is that the captain (and apparently a few others) wears fall-front breeches. This is pretty weird since waistcoats in the Golden Age of Piracy were still long enough to cover the crotch and thus there was no need to have the fall front, which originally appeared in the mid- to late 18th century to avoid the embarrassment of exposing buttoned-up fronts (like the fly of modern dress trousers but without the extra layer to hide the buttons and buttonholes). Of course, the idea of covering the button-up front of the breeches is rather funny in itself when we consider that people in the early and mid-17th century didn't seem to feel embarrassed about it....
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Kel Rekuta




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PostPosted: Mon 17 Feb, 2014 7:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The show seems to be dated within a couple years after the first Jacobite Rebellion in 1715 according to some dialogue in the third episode. I don't know how that might relate to the accuracy of clothing and props as its not my period of study.

The show is a good romp so I will continue to watch it. Wink
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