Arnhem - A Bridge Too Far (DVD)

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Arnhem - A Bridge Too Far (DVD)

Documentaries & Biographies - Original Language: English - Classification: Exempt - Studio: SIMPLY MEDIA, GEM LOGISTICS

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Review of "Arnhem - A Bridge Too Far (DVD)"

published 20/10/2017 | 2mennycds
Member since : 28/08/2015
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Best wishes to all, and thanks for your kind rates and comments, have been half-expecting the latest announcement for at least the last year. Have thoroughly enjoyed being a member over the last couple of years or so.
Super
Pro True story, fairly accurate, exciting, moving
Cons A lot of changes of scene
exceptional
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Story
Characters / Performances
Special Effects
Soundtrack

""Do they know something we don't?""

Bridge Too Far title shot

Bridge Too Far title shot


Operation “Market Garden” was a bold plan – ambitious and risky. The idea was to drop US and British airborne forces German lines in Holland, to secure a string of key bridges along a route that would lead to the industrial heartland of the Ruhr. It was also necessary to try to neutralise the V2 rocket threat to Britain.

These forces – 34,600 of them – would secure AND HOLD the bridges until reinforcements arrived. “Market” was the airborne part of the operation, that would involve a total of 5,000 aircraft. “Garden” was the ground force part of the operation, “XXX (Thirty) Corps”, consisting of tanks and infantry already in France.

Would the crossing at Arnhem prove to be abridge TOO FAR, however? Faulty radios and bad weather that delayed the landing of some of the airborne forces, plagued the operation form its early stages. Add to the mix that, far from a motley band of ineffective, inexperienced soldiers, the German army had an elite armoured division (9th SS Panzer) regiment based at Arnhem, and the odds were heavily stacked against the 10,000 men landed there.

For the British and Polish troops at Arnhem to be able to hold out, relief needed to be speedy, no more than three days; their supplies of food and ammunition were severely limited.

This war movie, replete as ever with its star-studded cast (including Edward Fox, Dirk Bogarde, Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, Michael Caine, Gene Hackman and Robert Redford, Elliott Gould, Denholm Elliott) is based on the events of September 1944 as portrayed in the book of the same title by Cornelius Ryan. Had the movie been an American production, the story would almost certainly have been changed almost beyond recognition!

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>>> FILM ONLY REVIEW > DIRK BOGARDE (Lt.Gen. Frederick Browning) is suitably laconic, matter of fact about the risks, and dismissive about them. “I shouldn’t worry about them”, he quips when he is shown reconnaissance photographs of the half-hidden German tanks. He also conveys his character’s authority well.

>>> SEAN CONNERY (Maj.Gen.Urquhart) is cast true to type, a suitably dour Scot leading his men at Arnhem itself. Again, I feel he conveys his authority – and scepticism – effectively. He gives some of his men a tongue-lashing over the problems they are experiencing with the radios. When the men meet some escaped inmates from a lunatic asylum (one played by Richard Attenborough!) who laugh and chuckle at them, Connery quips “I wonder if they know something we don’t”.

In my favourite quip – which in another review I think I wrongly attributed to Michael Caine – he questions sourly how much good a cup of tea is likely to achieve when offered one.

>>> GENE HACKMAN (Maj.Gen. Stanislaw Sosabowski) is, in my view, very convincing as the sceptical Polish officer who has a fair idea at the briefing of the likely outcome, and who isn’t afraid to say so. I like the part where he approaches an officer at a briefing, checks him out, and retorts “I was just checking which side you are on…”

>>> MICHAEL CAINE (Lt.Col. J.O.E Vandeleur) also plays his part well as the commander of the British tank element of the relief XXX Corps, with all the challenges entailed.

>>> EDWARD FOX (Lt.Gen.Horrocks) puts in a solid performance, hale and hearty, as he makes banter with his men.

>>> ANTHONY HOPKINS (Lt.Col.Frost), to me, convinces as an officer in charge of his men in the street fighting, grim and determined to hold out as long as possible.


GERMAN SPEECH is delivered in German with English subtitles. I always think this works best, even though I’m no lover of subtitles. Firstly, it helps to identify them as Germans. Secondly, I can’t stand hearing English spoken in fake German accents (sometimes almost comically so); on the other hand, it never sounds quite right, either, to hear Germans speaking in English or American accents!

There is of course plenty of pathos, especially regarding some of the civilian deaths. There’s also a moving moment where one American airborne soldier tries to get his buddy to guarantee that he won’t die.

I’ll comment below on the action scenes. Suffice to say here that I think that the frustrations, anger, and outrage at the risks being confronted are well conveyed, both verbally and non-verbally.


Effects

This is a war movie, right?! The effects I think are good, not quite over the top, or, if they are, not entirely so.

The Sherman tanks are convincing, though probably not entirely authentic; sadly the same can’t be said for the German tanks, I certainly don’t recognise their model and they look too modern by far. To be fair, I can’t mark the film down for that, though!

As is to be expected with a war movie of this certificate, the violence is relatively moderate.


Soundtrack

Composed by John Addison, the theme tune is suitably rousing and “military” in sound. Its triumphal sound is at odds with the story at times; no doubt this is the whole point.


Action

I think that the action is well captured. The desperation of the street fighting in Arnhem itself, the desperate bid to erect a “Bailey Bridge” (in prefabricated sections) over water, more desperate mass crossing by boat by Americans seeking to secure the far side of a bridge, make for suspenseful moments.

Obviously, there are many scenes of fighting, including firing hand-held anti-tank weapons (“PIATS”) at approaching German tanks, that make for exciting and nail-biting moments.

Concluding comments

I’ve reviewed a book, “We Fought At Arnhem”, on Ciao. It’s the story of the battle as told by three British survivors.

I rate this movie 4 stars. I don’t know why, and can’t think of anything particularly wrong with it, but somehow it just didn’t do it enough for me to give it 5 stars.


I LIKE…

>>> the “big picture” approach, with the Arnhem battle firmly rooted in the context of the whole Operation. I think that at times the changes of scene can get confusing at times, but the movie would make less sense – and be more confusing – without it

>>> the poignancy; this isn’t a triumphal movie!

>>> the acting, with telling outbursts, cynicism, heart-rending disappointments, stiff upper lip, bravado and raw fear. The star-studded cast wasn’t wasted, in my view!

>>> the moments of great excitement. I’ve mentioned some already, I also like the effective way that the tension is built as the massive airborne force takes off

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Comments on this review

  • danielclark691 published 06/11/2017
    suoer review
  • RICHADA published 02/11/2017
    Please accept an honorary E on this one. Interesting counterpoint between the book "they were there" and this film "they pretended to be" - Four Stars about right on this one from what I remember of it. Another great subject choice here. R.
  • euphie published 23/10/2017
    e :o)
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Product Information : Arnhem - A Bridge Too Far (DVD)

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Documentaries & Biographies - Original Language: English - Classification: Exempt - Studio: SIMPLY MEDIA, GEM LOGISTICS

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Listed on Ciao since: 18/04/2001