Monday, April 26, 2010

Movie of the Week

This week,

PATTON (1970)

Starring- George C. Scott, Karl Malden

This is the greatest war biopic ever made. Not only did this film win Best Picture, it also won Best Actor for George C. Scott's fabulous portrayal of the eccentric World War II General George S. Patton.  Based on historical accounts by men close to Patton, there are many great anecdotes that turned into iconic scenes that are the stuff of film legend.

The film begins as the U.S. enters the war in North Africa, with Patton as the great wild card for the allies.  He is successful in his command of the desert tank battles, and achieves great success as he vies for glory with his chief rival, General Montgomery of the British Army. Patton is a larger than life character whose passion for battle and excessive hubris drive him to succeed, and also prove to be his undoing. After a few memorable incidents of shooting his mouth off, and the slapping of a soldier, he is removed from duty and left feeling empty as the allies storm into Europe without him.

Patton is a redemptive character though, and after some help from his old friend, and polar opposite, General Omar Bradley, he is given command of Third Army as they sweep into France following the D-Day invasion. It is great to see Patton humbled and then renewed by his return to the battlefield. Not only is this film a great character study of one the most enigmatic figures of the 20th Century, it is also a valuable history lesson about our nation's finest hour.

I feel that it is necessary for everyone to know about their past, and have a grasp on how our country was able to confront the greatest threat we ever faced. Patton is a great film to see in order to gain some of this valuable information. I showed parts of it to my class when I was teaching history so that they could get a feel for who was at the core of our success in World War II.  Scott's work as Patton is also a great example of how to completely immerse yourself in a role to achieve absolute authenticity.

Things to watch for-

Jerry Goldsmith's iconic score
Patton's Poetry
The opening speech
The invasion of Sicily planned in a lavatory

"Do you read the Bible, General?"
"Every Goddamn day."

1 comment:

  1. This is a good review of a great film. George S. Patton was revered all over the world for his excellent leadership during World War II. He was laid to rest at the Luxembourg American cemetery in 1945, and his gravesite has been visited by many tourists over the years. On Memorial Day 1947, Grand Duchess Charlotte gave a speech from Luxembourg to the USA in which she expressed her appreciation of Patton and the men who fought and died in the Ardennes. She was joined on the same broadcast by the general in charge of the American Graves Registration Command (1947-1950). Here's the video: