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Review: Inglourious Basterds

August 15, 2009

Inglourious Basterds

A French farmer is hiding a Jewish family from the Nazis on his farm during World War II.  When Nazi soldiers search his farm and promise he and his family won’t be punished, he reveals the hiding place of the Jewish family.  Sixteen year old Shoshanna manages to escape, flee to Paris and make a new life for herself, vowing revenge against the Nazis.

A team of top-notch, Jewish-American soldiers is put together by Lt. Aldo Raine during World War II.  Disguised as civilians, they are dropped into German occupied France with the mission of sabotaging the Nazis.  They are fulfilling the mission well by killing German soldiers, but always leaving one alive to tell the tales of the terror they’ve implemented.  The Germans begin to call this team of American soldiers “Basterds.”

One fateful night, the Basterds’ plans and Shoshana’s plans converge for a surprise ending!

Inglourious Basterds by Quentin Tarantino is the first screenplay I’ve ever read.  I have to admit that it bugged me that both words in the title are misspelled and it was never explained why.  I expected it to read like a play, and for the most part, it does.  I was surprised at the descriptiveness of some of the stage (screen?) directions, for example:

Hans LUNGES forward, putting his strong mitts around Bridget von Hammersmark’s lily-white, delicate neck. and with all the violence of a lion in mid-pounce, SQUEEZES with all his MIGHT.

I’ve never seen a Quentin Tarantino movie, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  The story is unique and violent, and I’ll be interested to see how it translates to the screen, although I’m sure I’ll be closing my eyes a lot.  (For some reason, I can read violence, but I can’t stand to watch it.)  I’ve already seen one scene from the movie that has a different setting than the screenplay does.  The ending totally shocked me!  The story is not based on fact and is not historically accurate.

Review copy provided by Hachette Books.

This is my 6th book  for the World War II Challenge.

WWII challenge

41 Comments leave one →
  1. August 15, 2009 6:24 am

    I wonder how the movie will be as well. It doesn’t seem like anything I would enjoy so I will wait to see what you say, if you see it.

  2. August 15, 2009 7:48 am

    Well it sounds like it was an interesting thing to read. I’ve never read a screenplay before, but I have to admit all the misspellings would drive me crazy!

  3. August 15, 2009 7:59 am

    I saw the trailer for the movie last night, and I’m thinking I’ll wait for it to show up on the movie channels. I’ve seen a few movies by Tarantino, and he just doesn’t do it for me. But because of my interest in the subject matter, I’ll probably watch the movie at some point.

  4. August 15, 2009 7:59 am

    Oh, and I’ll get this review up on War Through the Generations soon.

  5. August 15, 2009 8:21 am

    I’m looking forward to this movie and tend to like Quentin Tarentino. Some of his work is too much for me. There can be a lot of torture and, while he does this tastefully, it’s too much for my stomach. Reservoir Dogs I couldn’t finish watching because of a particular scene. Pulp Fiction had just enough humor, however, to make it something I can watch over and over. Plus, it has Samuel L. Jackson saying my favorite movie quote ever – but I won’t repeat it hear because it’s riddled with the cuss words that you know I love. LOL!

  6. August 15, 2009 8:31 am

    I find it fascinating, that you read the screenplay. I’m so intrigued by the words no one but the actors and director ever hears or sees — those telling notes of the sort you quoted here. Love this post!

  7. August 15, 2009 8:44 am

    I tried reading the screenplay of Shawshank Redemption once, but gave up. I prefer a proper novelisation of the movie. And as for Tarantino movies, I don’t think the screenplay can actually bring out the quality of the movie, which essentially resides in the direction.

  8. August 15, 2009 8:48 am

    And I think the title’s spelling is due to censorship reasons.

  9. August 15, 2009 9:29 am

    Like you, I can read violence but cannot view it, so I’ll pass on the movie. Thanks for the review.

  10. August 15, 2009 10:02 am

    Sounds really interesting! I’m not sure I could read a screenplay, though 😦 Some of Tarantino I like such as Pulp Fiction and the episode of CSI he directed is the best episode ever! but I watched Kill Bill 2 and wanted to leave the theatre about 10 mins into it, spent practically the whole movie with my coat over my head. I like war movies though, even when they are graphic so I may just watch this.

  11. August 15, 2009 10:57 am

    Tarantino usually doesn’t appeal to me either, but since Brad Pitt is in this movie I may watch it anyway! lol
    They preview made it seem like there may be just an undertone of humor…did you pick up on that as you were reading the screenplay?

  12. August 15, 2009 11:02 am

    I am a fan of Tarantino’s movies and quite honestly the violence does not bother me. Especially in the context of this movie. It is WWII after all. And then add in his usual quirky take on things and a bit of humor…

    And Brad Pitt looks quite dashing in the trailer !

  13. stacybuckeye permalink
    August 15, 2009 11:23 am

    My husband really wants to see this, but I have no interest. I’m not a Tarantino fan.

  14. August 15, 2009 11:25 am

    I’m not sure if I’ve ever read a screen play or not. I think I have – it was War of the Gods I think it’s called. I’ve seen a few Tarantino movies and liked them.

  15. August 15, 2009 11:28 am

    See, I have this dilemma–love Brad Pitt so much. Don’t like violence. THough I did enjoy Kill Bill in a sick way, I sort of felt like I needed a shower for my soul after watching it. 🙂

    I like to read screenplays as well. In fact, you’d be surprised by how much the f-bomb is used in a LOST script. 🙂

  16. August 15, 2009 11:38 am

    Oh I do love Tarantino. His humor is the same as mine. Pulp Fiction is a favorite. I liked the portion of Sin City that he directed as well. I’ve never read a screenplay but would think that such descriptive writing would be useful to the actors, director and everyone involved would know exactly the emotion intended behind the actions, the scene, etc. If screenplay writing is like that I imagine it is much more interesting to read than just stage directions. Cool review. Now that I know the overall plot I’m a lot more interested in seeing the movie!

  17. August 15, 2009 12:00 pm

    I love Tarantino’s movies (violence and all). I have this one on my TBR and it will be my first screenplay too.

  18. August 15, 2009 1:06 pm

    I’m not a big Tarantino fan, inconsistent? Well yes, I am. I don’t mind violent books, but really get kind of grossed out by Tarantino’s slo-mo blood spattering type of movie.

    I’ve been thinking about reading the screenplay, I doubt I’ll hit the movie, but I sure can’t wait to read what you think of it!

  19. August 15, 2009 1:07 pm

    That’s so cool that you read the screenplay for this! It’s definitely a unique experience to read how a movie has been scripted. I can’t wait to see this, even though I’m not crazy about Pitt being the lead.

  20. August 15, 2009 4:37 pm

    I think it is so cool that you got to read the screen play. I do enjoy some Quentin Tarentino movies. They are very violent, many are really good though but a few I thought were just stupid. I am looking forward to watching this movie though.

  21. August 15, 2009 4:57 pm

    That’s odd about the misspellings.

    I never ever will go see Quentin Tarantino movies, but my husband loves them, so it is at these crucial times that we call upon his son for a father-son bonding opportunity!

  22. August 15, 2009 5:44 pm

    I’ve read a couple of screenplays – they’re interesting to compare with the finished movie. I’ll definitely be seeing this movie at some point and, like you, I’ll probably close my eyes for guishy parts!

  23. August 15, 2009 6:28 pm

    Tarentino’s films can sometimes be very graphic with the violence, but I heard this one was not. Brad Pitt’s accent cracks me up so I have to watch it.
    I have never read screenplay before.

  24. August 15, 2009 7:01 pm

    I don’t have any desire to see this film in the theater. I’ve seen plenty of Tarentino films to last me a life time. My sons, 17 and 14 are the reason!!!

  25. August 15, 2009 7:55 pm

    I love that you read the screenplay … I was wondering if it was one or not when I saw you had it. I’m a huge Tarantino fan — “Pulp Fiction” is one of my favorite movies of all time — but he does have a bit of a bloody violent twisted sense of humor. I ‘ll be seeing this for sure … but I’ll probably be looking at it through my hands too.

    And I don’t think I’ve ever read a screenplay either.

  26. August 15, 2009 9:13 pm

    I like that you read a screenplay. I’d like to try that some time. I’m reading a Broadway play now for my Literary Road Trip and it reads a little odd after so many novels. Nice to shake things up a bit.

  27. August 16, 2009 6:59 am

    I adore Tarantino and I can’t wait to see this whacky film. and now, thanks to you, I actually know what it’s really about! I read the screenplay last year of All About Eve and enjoyed the experience – it helped that I was able to watch the film almost immediately thx to Netflix.

  28. August 16, 2009 5:24 pm

    I’ve seen a lot of T’s films, but I am not sure I want to watch this one.

  29. August 16, 2009 10:17 pm

    I love reading screenplays, but particularly when there’s a book so one can compare the novel to the screenplay. It’s fascinating to see how they change things. Sometimes it makes sense to me why changes are made and other times I’m completely baffled. This sounds like the kind of movie I skip.

  30. Carol permalink
    August 17, 2009 9:26 am

    I’m not a big Tarantino fan. I think the only one I’ve actually enjoyed was Pulp Fiction. I’m also not big on war movies, so I think I’ll definitely be skipping the movie. I’ve never read a screenplay, though. That might be interesting.

  31. August 17, 2009 11:24 am

    Forewarning Quentin Tarantino’s films are extremely violent and show a good deal of blood. Not that the screenplay doesn’t already indicate to you this level of violence but you will see it all with great affect I imagine. I tend to be a bit too squeamish for his movies….I’d likely wait for it to come out on DVD so I could FF through the icky parts to see how it all lines up. But then again, I tend to be a big baby, haha.

  32. August 17, 2009 12:27 pm

    Thought I had already commented on your review, but guess I hadn’t. The capitalized words are generally cues on the focus of the moment, in a manner friendlier to a reader than putting in something like “RACK FOCUS ON…”
    Sounds also used to be capitalized, but that’s fallen out of usage for the most part.

  33. August 17, 2009 5:00 pm

    I really cannot wait to see this movie. I just LOVE Quentin Tarantino’s movies. This is one of those movies that will make me laugh and cringe at the same time.

    I haven’t read the screenplay.

  34. justicejenniferreads permalink
    August 18, 2009 11:00 pm

    I’ve never read a screenplay before, but this sounds like one I would definitely want to read. Tarantino isn’t my favorite – I don’t exactly adore his work – but I usually get around to seeing his movies because they are INTERESTING, FUNNY and ENTERTAINING. This one should be no different, which is why I’m sure I’ll be heading out to theaters to see it soon.

  35. August 19, 2009 12:24 pm

    Hmm, I saw that this was going to be coming out in theaters soon, and the only thing I knew for sure about it was that Brad Pitt was the star. I am not sure if I would go to see the movie, or read the book, as I seem to be a little burned out on WWII literature and movies right now. Maybe in time I will feel differently and change my mind.

  36. August 21, 2009 11:25 pm

    By the way, I read earlier this week in The Globe And Mail that the spelling for “Inglourious Basterds” was basically just artistic stamp. The interview with QT can be found here.

  37. August 21, 2009 11:32 pm

    Kathy, I saw the movie. I have to say this was a kind of movie, that is different than I have ever seen before. My son wanted to see it. I did not know what to expect. If you want to know my thoughts about the movie. I will say for me it was a waste of money. Look for my review in a few days on my blog…. I can’t believe this was made into a movie. What were the producers thinking….

  38. August 22, 2009 12:08 am

    The trailer for this looks interesting (and gross) but Tarentino movies are. The plot sounds good. I don’t know if I could read the screenplay. I need the novel myself! Tarentino was on David Letterman’s show last night and he asked about the spelling too. He said that he just felt like changing it. Great review!

  39. August 26, 2009 5:55 pm

    I didn’t even know this was a book first! My husband really wants to see this movie, but I think I might let him watch it on his own.

  40. December 20, 2009 4:14 pm

    We’ve posted a link to your review on the War blog. Thanks for participating. we hope you will participate in the 2010 Vietnam War reading challenge as well.

  41. May 10, 2011 6:17 pm

    I agree, great flick. One of the best of 09. I was freaking laughing my ass off the entire time! Plus, there was some serious intense scenes: i.e. opening and the tavern basement. Seeing Hitler’s face get chewed up by a Tommy gun was pretty sick too. Good review, check out mine when you can!

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