Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Bridge at Remagen (1969)

War Movie #4 (Hey, this would have worked for my tribute to George Segal). 

Synopsis: It’s basically two hours of: “Blow up the bridge! No, wait – DON’T blow up the bridge! Blow up the bridge! No, DON’T blow up the bridge!!....” 

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “March, 1945. The war in Europe is nearly over, but the fighting is more bitter than ever as US and German troops converge on The Bridge at Remagen.” 

What Did I Learn?: I’ve never smoked a day in my life, but damn – suddenly, I’d love to own a gold cigarette case. 

You Might Like This Movie If: You have a bit too much time on your hands.
Really?: 1) Isn’t the looting of dead soldiers a pretty big no-no in the US Army? Couldn’t Lt. Hartman (Segal) bring Sgt. Angelo (Ben Gazzara) up on charges if he wanted to do so? 2) I realize Major Krueger (Robert Vaughn) is trying to save the remnants of a German army on the wrong side of the Rhine, but gee... he witnessed the execution of a fellow officer who didn’t obey orders to the letter. If I were him, I’m not sure I’d play fast-and-loose with directives from the top, even if they are short-sighted and cold-blooded. 3) The credits list E.G. Marshall as a “Guest Star.” This is a movie. How can a movie include a “guest star?”

Rating: The Bridge at Remagen is a suspenseful action picture that includes complex characters and a noticeable anti-war message. Vaughn exchanges bullets with Segal and Gazzara, but he plays Major Krueger with world weariness and humanity, and he certainly isn’t the villain – that honour is reserved for the military brass on both sides who think nothing of sacrificing their own men without a second thought. My only complaint would be that the film should have found a way to include a face-to-face encounter between Segal and Vaughn. Highly recommended. 9/10 stars.

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