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Bridge too Far VS FACT


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#1 BratwurstDimSum

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Posted 20 January 2004 - 10:41 AM

I often mention on this forum that my Polish British Para vet often scoffs at the movie "a Bridge too Far" so much, that whenever I mention it, I feel I might send him to an early grave. Posted Image

So I leave tend to leave the conversation at that, but can any of you tell me why he could have thought it was *that* bad? tongue.gif

I guess my question then is in too parts...

How accurate was the Movie vs Reality?

How accurate was the Book vs Reality?

[ 20. January 2004, 04:43 AM: Message edited by: BratwurstDimSum ]
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#2 No.9

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 12:08 AM

I've never made a serious study of Market Garden and watching the film on TV with Elliot Gould telling the Royal Engineers what to do etc was enough to make view it as more Hollywood casual entertainment.

However, at the time when the film was due for release in Britain, I was working for Lt.Col. Brian Hodges who was there with the Paras. I walked into his office one morning to find him in a flushed rage - they only time in two years I ever saw him that way. The reason for his rage was that film. He told me he and his comrades were contacting their MPs and other influential people they knew, to get it banned or at least edited.

Of course, nothing happened about the film as its success meant bucks for the UK cinemas and the British investors and the future bucks from US film work in the UK. Attenborough (not the animal one but the smarmy sh/t my old man slapped many years ago - way to go dad Posted Image) has shown on numerous occasions he's only interested in lovie points and bucks and if that includes selling out British history, so what. graemlins/no.gif

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#3 Martin Bull

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 07:10 AM

Funnily enough, No 9, I was just discussing Elliot Gould & the Royal Engineeers with 'Sapper' off-Forum.

A few years back my Dad & I went on a 'Holts Battlefield Tour' to Market-Garden. the guest-speaker was Major-General Tony Jones RE who, as a Lieutenant, got the MC for removing demolitions charges from Nijmegen Bridge.

He said that he couldn't bear to watch the scene in 'Bridge Too Far' where Gould, cigar clenched in teeth, asks the British Officer :
'Do you know what a Bailey Bridge is, son ?'

I remember the General said :'That scene always makes me livid. If I'd been there, I'd have said, 'Of course I do, you damned fool ! We've been building the bl**dy things all the way from the beaches !' ' :rolleyes:
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#4 No.9

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 07:28 AM

Are you sure he was British Martin? I would have thought the British reaction would have been to blow a whistle and shout; "Right, everyone down tools. Uncle Sam's going to show us how to build a bridge,......go on then, away you go, we’re all watching." - (cue slow hand-clap) :rolleyes: :D

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#5 BratwurstDimSum

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 08:28 AM

ok, so Gould is a cheesy American in this Movie (actually in ALL movies smile.gif ) who is a bit over condescending to the Brits.

I would've thought that was because of the inherent (albeit friendly) rivalry between the forces. Any movie that shows this has to can't be blamed for that. :rolleyes: Surely that is not the only reason the movie is scorned ... how about actual operations vs events and (more importantly) how the soldiers conducted those operations?
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#6 Martin Bull

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 11:40 AM

I feel like a 'devil's advocate' here as I have to say that I like the film and enjoy watching it many times !

I see why they used a 'big-name' cast to try to draw the punters in. Interesting how some of the 'names' made a very good job of their roles ( especially Edward Fox as Horrocks ), some just cruised through and picked up the money ( eg Robert Redford ) and some then-new-faces saw a great opportunity to make their mark ( Anthony Hopkins ). To me, Elliot Gould was mis-cast and just too 'hammy' compared to the others.

There are many, many factual changes in the film which had to be made to try to present a coherent story of what was a complex operation. The real controversy seems to surround Dirk Bogarde's very plausible portrayal of 'Boy' Browning. It deeply upset Browning's family and Hamish Mahaddie, who acted as aviation consultant on the film, insisted on having his name removed from the credits; he felt so strongly that Browning had been maligned in the film.
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#7 Christian Ankerstjerne

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Posted 22 January 2004 - 12:00 AM

I agree with Martin - I very much liked the movie, and I think it give a realistic picture of how the battle took place. I'm not saying it was realistic, but it seemed realistic (unlike e.g. 'Battle of the Bulge').

#8 No.9

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Posted 22 January 2004 - 03:45 AM

But those are the sentiments whenever a film is made about the British for the American market Martin. All the British officers are pompous nunces, all the British soldiers are ‘gor blimey gov’ thickos, and everyone wishes the Yanks were there to ‘save their ass’. In short, it’s another load of Hollywood type bollocks.

And Brat, I don’t dislike Gould, he’s just had some cr@p roles. However, in Mash. Busting and the remake of The Lady Vanishes he’s great. My favourite performance is a spin-up between the latter two, but, I have to credit him for Mash as it must have been hard to have to compete with Sally Kellerman’s jugs? tongue.gif tongue.gif :eek:

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#9 Martin Bull

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Posted 22 January 2004 - 07:13 AM

Christian - I always keep in mind General Urquhart's own comment about the film : -

' A reasonably accurate spectacular - NOT a documentary '.
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#10 PzJgr

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Posted 22 January 2004 - 04:29 PM

Originally posted by BratwurstDimSum:
I guess my question then is in too parts...

How accurate was the Movie vs Reality?

How accurate was the Book vs Reality?

As in any movie regardless of country of origin, will always have descrencies in them. There will always be some kind of deviation from fact because of the entertainment value. I believe as long as the plot is accurate and a MAJORITY of the movie follows fact, then it is a good movie. If I want accuracy, then I look at documentaries.
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#11 BratwurstDimSum

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 12:45 PM

Ok some comments from our collegues in the Axis history forum:

...the 9th SS Panzer Division Hohenstaufen’s Recon Battalion under HaputsturmFuhrer Viktor Graebner attempted to attack the south of Arnhem bridge held by Colonel Frost..

Where do you find a SS Captain stand in the full view for the enemy at the recon car without even firing any weapons at all against the Brits? He only shouted feuer!! Feuer! And when his command vehicle got burned, he didn’t try to get out but let himself burned….

Some historical doubts or inaccuracy regarding the first SS attack on the bridge

a) the SS collar patch of the commander only shows that he is a Obersturmfuhrer where in real life, Viktor Graebner is a Haupsturmfuhrer (Captain)
B) a command vehicle leading the attack don’t stick pennant flag on the vehicle itself
c) why does the untersturmfuhrer who try to rescue his commander (before he was shot down by the brits) say something like Herr Hauptmann! Herr Hauptmann
I thought SS officers address their leader or their men as Herr Haupsturmfuhrer? Also Gruppenfuhrer Bittrich address Brigadefuhrer Ludwig as General

But I’m also surprised that some of the vehicles of the Hohenstaufen’s auflakrung abetilung had the Hohenstaufen symbol as well as the tactical syombol of a recon unit. You had to paused frame by frame to see it.

my favorite one is in the scene where Maximilian Schell in his role as Hohenstaufen's divisional commander Willi Bittrich looks up at the sky where an seemingly endless formation of allied aircraft passes, causing him to remark: "Einmal nur solches Material zur Verfügung haben...!" Can't put my finger on it, but something about Schell's delivery of that line is just great.)

a very good film a bridge too far. love the bit when model automatically assumes he is the obvious target for the paratroopers, what sheer arrogance. does the para drop into his back garden or is bittrichs. some of the cgi films are excellent but the oldies, some of them at least (not battle of the bulge whos only memorable moment is the singing of the Panzerleid), do have a lot of character and should not be ignored by younger generations brought up on the glitz of modern day hollywood

Also, in the movie ... there is a German General Ludwig. But there wasn't any General Ludwig near Arnhem!! I believe they mean SS-Colonel Harmel. Or during the battle at Nijmegen during the movie, General Ludwig calls for a officer called "Captain Krafft". But SS-Major Sepp Krafft was active at Arnhem and not at Nijmegen!!


[ 26. January 2004, 07:19 AM: Message edited by: BratwurstDimSum ]
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#12 PzJgr

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 03:00 PM

It is a known fact that Waffen SS units took to calling each other by the Wehrmacht ranks since they do work alongside those units. This was at first resisted by Himmler but later on let it go.
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#13 Lustmolch

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Posted 18 February 2004 - 07:04 PM

[quote]Originally posted by BratwurstDimSum:
[QB] Ok some comments from our collegues in the Axis history forum:

[QUOTE]
...the 9th SS Panzer Division Hohenstaufen’s Recon Battalion under HaputsturmFuhrer Viktor Graebner attempted to attack the south of Arnhem bridge held by Colonel Frost..

Where do you find a SS Captain stand in the full view for the enemy at the recon car without even firing any weapons at all against the Brits? He only shouted feuer!! Feuer! And when his command vehicle got burned, he didn’t try to get out but let himself burned…. [/quote]From what I can recall, the film was based primarily on Cornelius Ryan's book of the same name. I think at the time (late 1970s) that there were few books detailing the Arnhem operation, (but am prepared to be proved wrong). In the book, it mentions that Graebner was killed during the assault on the bridge but didn't go into detail how.

The film shows Graebner in a (replica?) Sdkfz 251 halftrack - I recently found out that he had a captured British armoured car (Humber?)
[quote]
Some historical doubts or inaccuracy regarding the first SS attack on the bridge

a) the SS collar patch of the commander only shows that he is a Obersturmfuhrer where in real life, Viktor Graebner is a Haupsturmfuhrer (Captain)
B) a command vehicle leading the attack don’t stick pennant flag on the vehicle itself
c) why does the untersturmfuhrer who try to rescue his commander (before he was shot down by the brits) say something like Herr Hauptmann! Herr Hauptmann
I thought SS officers address their leader or their men as Herr Haupsturmfuhrer? Also Gruppenfuhrer Bittrich address Brigadefuhrer Ludwig as General [/quote]Apparently it was quite commonplace for W-SS officers to address each other with the Heer rank equivalent. Technically, their rank would be e.g. "SS-Brigadefuehrer und General der Waffen SS" or similar (don't pull me up if I got the ranks wrong, I don't have my books to hand!)
I suppose it could be down to a glitch in the script writing - most war films have such errors, which go unnoticed by the majority of the viewing public - it's only us obsessives that pick up on such details! smile.gif
[quote]
But I’m also surprised that some of the vehicles of the Hohenstaufen’s auflakrung abetilung had the Hohenstaufen symbol as well as the tactical syombol of a recon unit. You had to paused frame by frame to see it.
[/quote]An early example of the movie industry striving for authenticity, maybe - shame about all the dark grey vehicles, though tongue.gif
[quote]
my favorite one is in the scene where Maximilian Schell in his role as Hohenstaufen's divisional commander Willi Bittrich looks up at the sky where an seemingly endless formation of allied aircraft passes, causing him to remark: "Einmal nur solches Material zur Verfügung haben...!" Can't put my finger on it, but something about Schell's delivery of that line is just great.)
[/quote]A lot of Schell's role appears to have been a portmanteau of General Bittrich and General Kurt Student, who actually made the comment. A bit of artistic licence, to keep up the pace of the film (and I presume, to avoid employing another actor).

[quote]
a very good film a bridge too far. love the bit when model automatically assumes he is the obvious target for the paratroopers, what sheer arrogance. does the para drop into his back garden or is bittrichs. some of the cgi films are excellent but the oldies, some of them at least (not battle of the bulge whos only memorable moment is the singing of the Panzerleid), do have a lot of character and should not be ignored by younger generations brought up on the glitz of modern day hollywood
[/quote] [quote]
Also, in the movie ... there is a German General Ludwig. But there wasn't any General Ludwig near Arnhem!! I believe they mean SS-Colonel Harmel.[/quote]You are correct.
[quote]
Or during the battle at Nijmegen during the movie, General Ludwig calls for a officer called "Captain Krafft". But SS-Major Sepp Krafft was active at Arnhem and not at Nijmegen!!
[/quote]Then again, 25 years ago, I guess that the interest in accuracy was as yet undeveloped - the only people who would have picked up would have been the ones who were actually there or who had read the book.

Trivia point - the scene where the Leapard tank smashes through the house during the street fighting was apparently an accident but kept in for its atmosphere.
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#14 Ali Morshead

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Posted 21 April 2004 - 05:39 AM

Also, The brave British Para runs out into a field to bring back a Stores Containers, nearly makes it back only to be killed as he reaches safety, The Container falls open to reveal it's full of Red Berets.

Nearly right, except the Brit doesnt get shot & die, only a little exaggerated.

I would like to see a movie of the Arhnem part only, The race for the Bridge, the efforts of 2 Para at the Bridge, The battle for Oosterboek and the landing of the Polish Bde should have been enough to keep one in suspense.
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#15 Martin Bull

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Posted 21 April 2004 - 06:04 AM

Then you need 'Theirs Is The Glory'...! ;)
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#16 Carl G. E. von Mannerheim

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 03:21 AM

Yea, but its always better when its a good movie ;)

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#17 urqh

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 10:14 AM

The real thing I want to know from this thread is why did number 9's dad hit Richard Attenboro???

Martin wasn't the scene whre Gould asked do you know what a Baily bridge is...from 2 scenes, first where he drives up to an hq and tells the GI to get our British cousins to make sure they do this right and have it at the front of the column... that was him to a GI, and another where he is helping build the thing, saying to another GI havent you ever built a Baily bridge before son or summit like it..Only time I recall him speaking to Brit officer was to Joe when he asked if they had the Baily crap...and he replied surely you mean that ingenious great industrial whatever or something like that? Good movie for all its misdemeanours...

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#18 Martin Bull

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 05:32 PM

I'll have to watch it again, urqh...I always wince at the Gould scenes; to me they just don't 'fit' with the rest....
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#19 Stefan

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 07:25 PM

I like the film, it answered a fair few questions for me. I always wondered why XXX corps was stopped, now I know the answer, their tanks were fiberglass shells on top of motorbikes!

I always figured the thing about Elliot Gould is that he does not seem to be an officer, rather too much like Groucho Marx.

As for the rest, well, it is entertaining and not hugely inaccurate (in the U-571 sense).
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