Saturday, November 20, 2010

"The Eagle" Trailer Released

Sometime about A.D. 117, the Ninth Legion, which was stationed at Eburacum, where York now stands, marched north to deal with a rising among the Caledonian tribes, and was never heard of again.

During the excavations at Silchester nearly eighteen hundred years later, there was dug up, under the green fields which now cover the pavements of Calleva Atrebatum, a wingless Roman Eagle, a cast of which can be seen to this day in Reading Museum.  Different people have had different ideas as to how it came to be there, but no one knows,  just as no one knows what happened to the Ninth Legion after it marched into the northern mists.

It is from these two mysteries, brought together, that I have made the story of the Eagle of the Ninth.

So begins Rosemary Sutcliff's wonderful, classic novel, "The Eagle of the Ninth".  And now it is official - the new film, "The Eagle", a renamed adaption of the book, will be released on February 11, 2011.  Ever since word got out that this adaption was being produced, I've been excited about seeing how Sutcliff's literary material gets translated to the screen, and now that the official trailer has been released, it looks like there is reason to be optimistic.

Click the play button below to see the new trailer:

Although I enjoyed "Centurion", despite its obvious shortcomings, purely as an action movie, that film was definitely light on the history, for both scholars and wargamers alike.  The scenes shown in "The Eagle" trailer though indicate that this film is going to be faithful, at least in spirit if not in all the particulars, to the novel, which is a much more serious work than "Centurion" was.  And it also looks like the producers made some serious efforts, even with a limited budget, of trying to be as historically accurate as possible.  Yes, the Romans are wearing the Hollywood-ubiquitous leather armor, but thumbing through my copy of the novel, I found this line - "There was a Cohort of leather-clad Auxiliaries on the road today...", so the kit in the film actually matches the language in the novel.  Sutcliffe obviously assumed that Auxiliaries would be equipped less lavishly then Legions, and that probably was not unreasonable of her.  So this may actually be a production of a quality to not only satisfy people who enjoy independent-type films, but also Ancient wargamers alike.  And the scene where the Romans march out of their fort to confront an Ancient British warband before forming testudo in the face of a chariot assault, looks just like it was lifted right off the pages of the book.  If this production doesn't blow it, "The Eagle" has the potential of being a Sword-and-Sandal classic.  I can't wait.

If this film is successful at the box office, my next hope is that an adaption of Wallace Breem's, "Eagle in the Snow", will also get produced someday.....

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed reading your post. As Rosemary Sutcliff's literary executor, and more importantly a close family member who grew up knowing her and her writing at first hand, I too await the film, and audiences reactions, with anticipation. (see )

    I have had the privilege in the last few days of seeing not just the trailer but the film. It is indeed very " ... faithful, at least in spirit if not in all the particulars, to the novel". In fact, in its attempts to "be as historically accurate as possible" it is also true to the spirit of Rosemary Sutcliff, whose attention to research and accuracy was legendary.

    It is a production of "quality", and I fervently hope one that will past the test of the expert and interested scrutiny of you and your fellow Ancient wargamers, as well as my less expert eyes.