Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter says Argo gives short shrift to Canada

“The main hero, in my opinion, was Ken Taylor,” Carter says

Former American president Jimmy Carter has weighed in on Oscar-nominated film Argo, saying he believes the movie deserves an Academy Award, but isn’t entirely accurate.

In an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, Carter said he believes the film was a “great drama” and deserved to win an Oscar for best film. However, Carter noted that although “90 per cent of the contributions to the ideas and the consummation of the plan was Canadian,” the film “gives almost full credit to the American CIA.”

“With that exception, the movie’s very good,” Carter said, going on to praise former Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor’s role in resolving the Iran hostage crisis.

“The main hero, in my opinion, was Ken Taylor, who was the Canadian ambassador who orchestrated the entire process,” he said.

Taylor hasn’t been shy about voicing his opinion on how the film measured up to reality. “My concern is that we’re portrayed as innkeepers who are waiting to be saved by the CIA,” the 77-year-old former ambassador said in an interview with Maclean’s following the film’s premiere.

Director Ben Affleck did manage to smooth things over: Taylor and his wife were later flown to Los Angeles to meet Affleck, see the film and share a commentary for the DVD, and in the process Taylor revised the film’s postscript. The former ambassador was also in attendance at a special reception at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, where Affleck spoke glowingly about Canada’s role.




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Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter says Argo gives short shrift to Canada

  1. SOP for America forever….take credit for everything. And we let them.

    Consequently all our triumphs disappear, and they get cheered for things they didn’t do.

    And now millions of people will believe this movie version….the same way they got their ideas from other American movies. The Devil’s Brigade, WWII in general, the Mounties….even Canadarm.

    Thank you President Carter and Mark Lijek…here today:

    http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/02/19/what-really-happened-2/

    for trying to set the record straight.

    • I don’t think the problem is “we let them”. That makes it sound like “we” have a choice about what “they” do. They have a big propaganda machine….Hollywood and a big audience…300 million people. We have no big machine and a small audience. No one in the US wants to pay money to make a film about Canada saving the day because no one in the US wants to go to a film like that. I wonder how many theatres movies like Dieppe and Men with Brooms opened in down south. Of course they always save the day….so what if they are a little late to the party. In their minds the party doesn’t start until they get there anyway.

      • This comment was deleted.

        • There are Canadians making good movies…Adlam Egoyen and Sarah Pollock…that people are watching internationally. That isn’t the issue.

          No country has the “Hollywood Machine”. Like Ken Taylor said in the newspaper today, trying to change something in a film is like “standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square”. It isn’t about lacking confidence, it is about being powerless in the face of a multi-billion, perhaps trillion-dollar industry.

          • Actually other countries DO have major movie industries. And they manage to do just fine.

            We could have one too….we just don’t.

          • Have you watched the “bollywood” films? China also has a MAJOR movie industry….Jackie Chan is a BIG star there.

          • Yes indeed! Bollywood films are light and funny and I enjoy the dancing ….which does some really raunchy moves but doesn’t allow kissing! And every year between Xmas and New Years I catch up on any Chinese and/or Hindi films I may have missed. Some of the Chinese ones are so visually beautiful, it’s like watching a living oil painting.Chinese movies really mean a ‘cast of thousands!

            And I’ve watched the Mongolian Ghengis Khan, [beautiful country!] and A Kid From Tibet….and I think I’ve seen every film Jackie Chan has ever made. LOL [Hard seeing the outtakes at the end though]

            Years ago I used to watch Japanese space films….they cracked me up…and I always checked out Gamera ones. The only equivalent American ones were the two ‘Attack of the Killer Tomatoes’….okay I rolled on the floor laughing.

            I like Russian Sci-fi….and fondly remember the Bolshevik revolution…sweeping!

            The Swedish ‘Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ trilogy, although I liked the books better…..and I watched Brit movies all my life starting out with the Carry On Gang when I was in grade 5, and seeing some brilliant Peter Sellers ones along the way in later years..

          • Sarah Polley, Atom Egoyan.

  2. I directed the documentary “Escape From Iran – The
    Hollywood Option”, which is to be included in the Blue Ray release of Argo. I
    had the good fortune to interview most all players in this incredible story
    over a decade ago; this includes all 6 of the American hostages, senior US state
    department officials, the CIA’s Antonio Mendez, and all senior players on the
    Canadian side of the story. What few people realize is once the American’s
    escaped, they attempted refuge at several other allied embassy’s and were
    turned away; when they finally got in contact with the Canadian Embassy, the
    staff said, “Where the hell are you and why did you not contact us sooner.”

    From that moment on without question Ken Taylor’s team, and
    the Canadian government assisted the Americans as if they were family. I agree
    with President Carter’s assessment that Canada was more heavily involved than
    Affleck’s Argo leads viewers to believe.
    However, Carter’s assessment …“90% of the contributions to the ideas and
    consummation of the plan was Canadian” is perhaps high. Let’s not forget, it
    was Hollywood make up artist Bob Sidell and Mendez that came up with and executed
    the fake movie studio idea ‘with support by the Canadians’, but it was Sidell
    and Mendez’s idea. Not withstanding this is the most successfully
    Canadian/American collaboration of all time and highlights how allied countries
    should support each other in any time of crisis.

    • It is interesting though that according to Ken Taylor in reality Mendez, who is played by Ben Affleck spent only 1 and 1/2 days total in Iran during the crisis.

      I think the thing that really upset Taylor was a statement at the end of the original cut of the movie saying that the CIA chose to let the Canadians take the credit, suggesting that the Canadians really did nothing and that this was some sort of ” now you know the real story”. Meanwhile, Ken Taylor has received over 100 citations for bravery related to the Iran crisis. This film makes it sound like he didn’t deserve them…..and even if much of the film is inaccurate and fiction, who will recognize it as such?

    • It would have been a better movie if it presented a more balanced telling of the real story. I particularly dislike how it glorifies the CIA, that American agency, not accountable to the elected US government which is more famous for getting America INTO trouble than out of it.

  3. Leave it to the libs to screw it up

  4. That’s the USA for you, a proud revisionist of historic truths and facts. Minimizing Ken Taylor and Canada’s central role in rescuing US embassy staff in Iran is only one example.

    What about all those Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) that prompted the invasion of Iraq? Once they realized there were no WMDs , the reason for the invasion became a need for a regime change in Iraq, and that’s the way history will portray it.

    • You can be sure that the movie version will find a way to “celebrate” somebody or something American because otherwise it won’t be a blockbuster.

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