History vs. Hollywood: A Bridge Too Far - This Friday, 3/22/02

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dave Hahn, Mar 20, 2002.

  1. Dave Hahn

    Dave Hahn Second Unit

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    The description from The History Channel Website:
    Examines the 1977 film about the largest and most daring airborne operation ever conceived. Set in motion on September 17, 1944, Operation Market Garden, designed to use paratroopers to strike and hold a series of bridges in the Netherlands, resulted in the worst Allied defeat in WWII. Richard Attenborough directed the William Goldman screenplay from the Cornelius Ryan novel, with Robert Redford, Elliott Gould, and James Caan. Interviews include Goldman, Gould, and German, British, and U.S. veterans. TV PG
    I hadn't seen this film for ten years or so and finally watched it on dvd last week. What a thrilling surprise! It actually reminded me of Black Hawk Down, and I believe Scott owes much to Attenborough, who preceeded him. Why this film isn't mentioned in "Best War Film" lists is beyond me, I found it magnificent.
    Now, we get to see how truthful the movie was to the facts. Much blame for the failure of the operation was placed on Montgomery. He did, after all, plan the whole thing, " . . . to get the boys home for Christmas." I'm also interested in how authentic the Germans were portrayed. I hope this television show really gets into the film and doesn't gloss over any blatant "Hollwoodisms."
    I always remembered the quiet yet strong performance by the actor playing the British Colonel in charge of holding the bridge in Arnhem. I did not remember his name, nor did I know him as an actor when I first saw the film. The character, Lt. Colonel John Frost is played by none other than Anthony Hopkins, before he had made a name for himself. A tremendous performance.
    Of course, the big Hollywood names like Gene Hackman, James Caan, and Ryan O'Neil got most of the publicity, along witht he better known British actors like Sean Connery and Michael Caine. For my money, Hopkins stole the show.
     
  2. Tim Bagby

    Tim Bagby Auditioning

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    i'd have to agree with you, this is definitly one of the best war movies out there. excellent action and great affects. and with all the different storylines (for a long movie)it really moves along. i don't have it on dvd just video, i've been debating it everytime i go to best buy.
     
  3. Guy Martin

    Guy Martin Second Unit

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    In his famous book about screenwriting, Adventures in the Screen Trade, William Goldman devoted a whole chapter to ABTF. He really goes into the decisions he, Attenborough, and producer Joeseph Levine had to make in order to slim down the huge operation into a workable movie. In short there was alot of wonderful material that they just couldn't get into the movie no matter how hard they tried. It's a wonderful book and well worth a read for ABTF fans or anyone else interested in screenwriting. And in Goldman's sequel, Which Lie did I Tell? More Adventures in the Screen Trade he relates the story of the time he actually met General Frost (a captain at the time of the battle) who was played by Anthony Hopkins in the film. Apparently the real Frost was worried that Goldman and Attenborough had made him into too much of a hero!

    - Guy
     
  4. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Tim, what the hell are you waiting for?!! The damn thing is $9.99!!! I bought it sight unseen a couple of weeks ago. Best 10 bucks I ever spent. I believe this movie is somewhat underrated because I never see it mentioned in the greatest war movies threads. You always see Platoon, Apocalypse now etc...

    --

    Holadem
     
  5. Rob Willey

    Rob Willey Screenwriter

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    I saw this episode of History vs. Hollywood a couple of months ago. Great insights into the making of the movie with some interesting stories. I was surprised how many of the scenes in the movie were taken from actual events. Recommended.

    Rob
     
  6. Rod Melotte

    Rod Melotte Stunt Coordinator

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    I read the book twice before I saw the movie. The problem is that the movie would have to be 8 hours long to cover the details the book went into. Stephen Ambrose is a fantastic author (his dad was my mom's dentist lol) and his books are always a good read.

    Band of Brothers (the TV show) was very close to the Ambrose book but again - a lot was left out.

    In Market Garden SO MANY things went wrong it was silly and you can put the blame on any number of things. The problem was everything had to go right for it to work, and everything went wrong.

    As Ambrose says - you can blame a lot of people but "we were not there" to make the call. SO many things were happening at that time that no one new WHAT was happening.

    OK - I'll shut up - WWII is a love of mine!
     
  7. rick bie

    rick bie Stunt Coordinator

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    Great movie, fairly accurate. I saw it when it came to the theater and immeditely went out and bought a magazine detailing the making of the movie and the actual historical event.What I have read of the actual operation (I am a military history buff) seems to be echoed in the movie quite well.[​IMG]
    Rick
     
  8. Rod Melotte

    Rod Melotte Stunt Coordinator

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    Gotta agree with rick - but then all my life I thought Betsy Ross made the American flag and I find out she made flags but not that one. Some noname guy made it.

    Our history is full of wrong information. :-(
     
  9. rick bie

    rick bie Stunt Coordinator

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    Right there is a reason history buffs as myself and others such as Rod get annoyed at pseudo-historical movies such as Pearl Harbor,Battle of the Bulge(which I still think is a great movie)to name a couple which portray events just a bit cock-eyed.I think we can all agree that a hugh amount of people are exposed to movies everyday and I shudder at the thought of the percentage who take them as an accurate recreation of an historical event, especially when you take into effect that everyday there are less and less people who are around that actually took part in some of these events which then leaves the rendering of the past to ether the media(TV,Radio), authors or the other media Movies. Before anyone starts flaming, I understand that you should take them with a grain of salt and I hope most people do and that a purely historical recreation would probably have a theatrical draw($$) which would put a movie studio CEO in tears and at the same time be rather dry. You should see the look on my girlfriend's face when I start correcting or accurizing during a movie, I have to use alot of self control sometimes so she can enjoy the movie. Eod of psuedo rant.
     
  10. Rod Melotte

    Rod Melotte Stunt Coordinator

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    Rick - I still like U-571, no matter what the Brits say LOL.

    My father-in-law (Mel Jacob) is a living survivor of the USS Indy, he was a marine on the ship. At the moment there are two studios bidding for the rights to his and other survivor stories.

    One company (the BIG one) wants a big action film with Mel Gibson as Cpt McVay. It would be based on the book "In Harms Way (The action parts) The movie would NOT be totally accurate and they will give VERY LITTLE money to the Survivor Organization. It would be a big budget movie and give the USS Indy plenty of publicity.

    The small studio wants an accurate account of the entire episode. Start to finish including the Navy cover-up. It would not be a big grossing movie but will give A TON of money to the Survivors.

    It's a quandry.

    BTW - His picture is on page 248 of the book.
     
  11. Dave Hahn

    Dave Hahn Second Unit

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    I have to agree with those who find that movies containing historical errors can be, well, bothersome. U-571 and The Patriot have gotten much ink on this subject here at HTF, while others like A Bridge Over the River Kwai pass without any ruckuss. Go figure.
    I mean, if we're going to hold historical films to a certain standard of truth, then we ought to hold all films to that standard. Trashing pictures by those we don't care for while at the same time turning a blind eye to films by those we admire, when they all contain historical inaccuracies, well, that's nothing more then hypocrisy.
    Now, I admit that I get upset if I find that a writer/director/producer has placed inaccurate information in a film to further a political or philisphical position. Revisionist history, political correctness, and all that, however; we are talking about historical fiction, and not documentary. There in lies the difference, and an important difference.
    All the films I've mentioned are historical fiction. They are stories about characters, some real, some invented, that take place in a historical setting. Artistic license must be granted to anyone writing fiction. Historical events are going to be overstated. Individual efforts will be enlarged or reduced. Heros and villians will emerge. These embellishments are inevitable, and should surprice nor anger anyone. That's not to say you can't find fault, just how one find's fault with such embellishments is the point.
    I think it fair if we are, well, dissapointed with the artist's artistry. If you want to get angry at Roland Emmerich for locking townspeople in a church and burning them alive, in The Patriot that's okay. It was closer to cheap manipulation then artistic license, yet it was still artistic license, he just did it poorly, very poorly.
    On the other hand, Sir David Lean pretty much white-washed the way allied soldiers were treated during the building of the Burma Railroad by the Japanese Army. He went so far as to invent a character, an English Officer who cooperated with the enemy to build a bridge which would enhance enemy operations against his own people. We forgive Sir David for all of this because in using this artistic license, he created one of the greatest tragic heros in cinema history.
    David Lean used artistic license well, Roland Emmerich did not. Both made an inaccurate film about historical events. We can rant against the artistry, or lack thereof, in film, but not about the historical inaccuracies, not without hypocrisy anyway.
     
  12. Tim Bagby

    Tim Bagby Auditioning

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    [Tim, what the hell are you waiting for?!! The damn thing is $9.99!!!]

    i know, i'm just a cheap SOB sometimes.....
     
  13. Rod Melotte

    Rod Melotte Stunt Coordinator

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    Dave Hahn - nice post. People actually whined here about The Patriot? Even with the explaination on the DVD? sheesh
    As long as the film is not called "TRUE STORY" people have to lighten up and remember - IT'S ENTERTAINMENT not a documentary.
     

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