Cigar-smoking leader

| December 27, 2017

The makers of a Churchill biopic have been criticised by historians after they felt it was necessary to warn viewers that scenes with the former prime minister smoking a cigar were ‘based solely on artistic consideration’, according to a story by Callum Adams for the Electronic Telegraph.

In the opening scenes of Darkest Hour, ‘Churchill’s’ face is lit by a cigar as he sits in a darkened room, and, indeed, the former British prime minister is shown smoking throughout the film.

Historians and biographers have criticised the disclaimer, which appears in the final credits, alerting viewers to the ‘serious health risks associated with smoking and with second-hand smoke’.

‘The depictions of tobacco smoking contained in this film are based solely on artistic consideration and are not intended to promote tobacco consumption,’ the health warning begins.

Mary Beard, professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge, reportedly told the Mail on Sunday newspaper that, in her opinion, the disclaimer only added to the temptation, while the historian, Richard Evans, a specialist in modern European history at Cambridge University, said he didn’t suppose the film would prompt many to rush out and buy cigars.

The idea that ordinary people are unlikely to rush out and buy cigars is supported by financial considerations. According to a story by John Houck for Inquisitr, the moviemakers, wanting the film to be as authentic as possible, used the Cuban brand smoked by Churchill, Romeo y Julieta – at a cost of $20,000 over the length of the filming.

Meanwhile, the royal biographer Hugo Vickers suggested that the film-makers should have added a further line stating: “Sir Winston Churchill lived to be 90”.


Category: Breaking News, Cigars

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