HiT The Dig


A very English drama about the dig on the eve of WWII which reveal one of the most dramatic discoveries in English archaeology – the 7th Century burial ship of Raedwald (probably) king of the East Saxons and one of Bede’s Bretwalda

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10 thoughts on “HiT The Dig

  1. Very enlightening review…Wife had a major issue with Cary Mulligan casting and was only ok with it assuming that since the son was so young, Mrs. Pretty must’ve been an older looking late 30’s early 40’s woman.. due to illness…not so apparently

  2. Good to see the show back and a good review of the film. Overall I agree with your assessment, but maybe you were a little too harsh when you consider most other “historical” or “based on history” films. This film at least attempted to introduce a lot of real history. Still, I agree with the sub-plots hurting the overall film.

    I usually love seeing Lily James (particularly in Darkest Hour, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Moma Mia 2, and Cinderella), but her role was as you said terrible in The Dig and it brought the whole film down.

    You should have gone for a Voldermort reference for fun. But seriously, Ralph Fiennes was fantastic. The contrast of him in Harry Potter vs Basil Brown reminds me of Geoffry Rush being in both Pirates of the Caribbean and The Kings Speech in terms of playing polar opposite characters. You come away thinking, they are great actors to put both parts off.

    I hope you cover the movie The Imitation Game. I enjoyed it as a “film” but it is about the most historically inaccurate film ever made (it might give Braveheart a Run if they had just set the Immitation Game someplace other than Bletchley Park). They turn Turing into a semi-autistic gay comic book superhero. Most of what they showed him doing was done by someone else. Turing did great things, just not much of what they showed. Also, Joan Clarke when to Cambridge and was brought in by Gordon Welchman (who was ignored by the film).

    Another good movie for your list would be “The Darkest Hour.” Another enjoyable film that fudge more than a few times on history. Particularly the 15-minutes between tube stops on a ride that Churchill didn’t make.

    Another one for the list would be Midway. Once again they had to make one person into a comic book superhero. This time it was Dick Best that got the Captin Americal treatment. Best did make one of the most important single decisions in WW 2 in pealing off to attract the other carrier. If he does not pull out of his dive, the whole battle might have ended up differently if the Japanese had 2 carriers rather than just 1 left. But there are so many great true stories of the battle of Midway and to give it all to Best is more than a little disservice. Not to mention all the technical inaccuracies like the US not having any fighters.

    1. Yes we should think Imitation Game…I think our heads might explode though! Darkest Hour, yes; the tube section was an historical outrage, but did rather transform the film…it’s entertainment I guess.
      Interesting how response to the Dig is falling out; two sort of trends really, one the ‘way Peggy Piggot was treated was an offense to the real person’, and ‘ah this is a film about relationships and power’. I personally, just wanted a film about Sutton Hoo. I think it’s why I didn’t like the book; Ralph Fienes was so good I enjoyed this anyway.
      Midway was a great film I seem to remember; it;s a good suggestion, I’d have to learn a lot about the history…

      1. My favorite scene in The Imitation Game is the one where Joan Clarke visits Turing after the war and she when through all the people she just met that would not be alive except for Turing. It was a great emotional scene that expressed the gratitude that should have flowed to Turing after the war, but of course, like the Churchills’ tube ride, it never happened. I could forgive the movie for that scene as it was a good movie moment and drove home how important was the work Turning did But still, The Imitation Game is cringeworthy from a historical perspective.

        There are quite a few good documentaries on YouTube about Midway and many of these include interviews with some of the actual pilots. Midway, in addition to giving Dick Best “the comic book superhero treatment,” make the same mistake as other movies on Midway by trying to include Pearl Harbor and the Jimmy Dolittle raid on Japan, they then rush through the Battle of Midway.

  3. My opinion is that “The Dig” was a good educational film for those who didn’t know about Sutton Hoo or had not visit the Museum. For those that did it was okay, and I thought the stratification of British pre-war society was representative.

  4. Hi David,
    I dimly recall seeing a film called “Oliver Cromwell” from the seventies. It had Richard Harris in the lead role. A bloke had his ears cut off if I’m not mistaken. Could be candidate for HiT as we are fast approaching the real thing on the main channel. Regards Simon

    1. Ah yes absolutely! I love that film, alec Guiness is THE perfect Charles I, amd it’s stuffed full of national myth. We constantly talk about doing it but…it’s never quite the right time,,,

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