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PostAn Allied Invasion of Gascony? Churchill and Europe's "Soft Underbelly" (Edward Jajko, USA, 08/15/19 4:02 am)
In reply to David Pike and JE (August 14th), Churchill always had a strange (and mistaken) idea of the "soft underbelly" of Europe. Gascony was just south enough to qualify. Or it could have been the wine that made it interesting. Or perhaps it was a memory from having read Roy Horniman's superb Israel Rank.
JE comments: We associate "soft underbellies" with the Italian campaign of WWII, but Churchill had advocated a similar approach at Gallipoli in 1915. Both times the underbelly wasn't very soft--Europe's "Abs of Steel"?
Nigel Jones addressed this topic back in 2012:
David Pike (next) goes further into Churchill's strategy.
Roy Horniman's "Israel Rank"
(Edward Jajko, USA
08/16/19 5:25 AM)
My reference to Roy Horniman's novel of 1907, Israel Rank, in the context of an invasion of Gascony contemplated by Churchill may have left people wondering.
Apparently I am the only one in WAIS who has read the book (a benefit of having worked in research libraries). Israel Rank is the source text for the 1949 movie Kind Hearts and Coronets and the more recent West End-Broadway musical The Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder.
I first saw Kind Hearts when I was a boy and many times since, in theaters and on TV. It is a great film, beautifully photographed and written. I will see the B'way show in a local production this fall.
The relevance in this context? In Kind Hearts, the sort-of-hero seeks his inheritance and recognition from his mother's family, the D'Ascoynes (she having been cut off for marrying an Italian singer). But in Israel Rank, she was cut off for marrying a Jew, and she was ... a Gascoyne.
JE comments: It would be interesting to speculate why the scandalous marriage was changed to an Italian. Different sensibilities in the wake of WWII? Kind Hearts and Coronets is a British film starring Alec Guinness, who plays nine roles. I've never seen it, but all the pieces are there for a classic dark comedy.