Beware writers and entertainers the world over. Slapping a “Based on True Story” or “Adapted From Real Events” may not be enough to protect your art when you blatantly lie about what really happened or about the people said events happened to. Honestly, it’s about time. Movies like “Remember the Titans”, “Glory Road”, “Cool Runnings”, and countless dozens have been making a mockery of history in the name of drama for years, particularly when it comes to sports movies.
Upselling the drama by making racial tensions greater than they were, lying about whether or not a team was the underdog, or just plain creating entirely new circumstances have been “tools” of the craft for years. Disney’s “true-stories” about various high school, college, or even collegiate level teams have been widely exaggerated and dramatized leaving people with a very skewed understanding of history.
Queen’s Gambit is a show on Netflix about a female chess player in the sixties named Beth Harmon. The character herself is entirely fictional (though loosely based off real-life chess champion Bobby Fischer) but the time in which she exists is not. Nor are a myriad of chess players mentioned or portrayed as a competitors for Harmon.
So where did Netflix mess up this time?
According to Vanity Fair, the big mistake was mentioning a real-life Soviet Union chess player by the name of Nona Gaprindashvili. A character tells Harmon that Gaprindashvili “never faced men” in an episode that takes place in 1968. Well, Nona got wind of the episode and needless to say she was infuriated, especially considering she’d already faced 59 men by 1968! Read more