Battle of the Bulge [Blu-ray]
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Battle of the Bulge (BD)]]>
The German offensive in December 1944 became the basis for this all-star Hollywood take on the Battle of the Bulge. Henry Fonda is an officer who predicts the assault, Robert Ryan and Dana Andrews are Army brass skeptical of his intuitions, and Robert Shaw (his hair dyed yellow and his eyes glinting with malice) is a German officer leading the tank attack. Shaw is certainly the most compelling thing about the film, especially in his philosophical debates with ambivalent underling Hans Christian Blech. Elsewhere, the movie jumps around to sidebar stories (cowardly James MacArthur becomes a leader, wheeler-dealer Telly Savalas falls in love) while messing around with the historical facts of the battle. There are interesting episodes, such as the Malmedy massacre of American POWs and the Germans' use of English-speaking spies, but overall Battle of the Bulge has the feeling of having been patched together from different scripts. On the physical level the movie comes up short, with the Spanish locations rarely suggesting the wintry misery of the battle, and the use of models and studio sets highly inadequate. A number of war films from this era are compelling on their own terms, but in the wake of Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers, this one looks antique. --Robert Horton
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Top Customer Reviews
Many items in the movie did not exist at the time of the BOTB including the airplane in which Henry Fonda rides, the plastic explosive named in the film, etc.
Since the battle was so important from the American point of view, I hope someday someone will make a better film on the subject.
I was surprised and grateful to see many scenes in this version that hardly ever showed up on TV Broadcasts and were not on my particular VHS Version. One extended scene that stands out is more footage of the English Speaking German Soldiers preparing for their sabotage mission on U.S. Troops in the Ardennes Forrest, which should have never been cut out in the first place. In particular, the part where the German Colonel Hessler is surrounded by them at a German Headquarters and he really thinks they are Americans. There are other scenes like this added back in to this version but again, this one stands out.
Speaking of Col. Hessler as played by Robert Shaw, he may be an Irishman in real life but he is totally convincing as the German Villain in this story and a real treat to watch... There are many good supporting cast members in this one who went on to even greater fame in the 1970's such as Charles Bronson and Telly Savalas. However, during the 60's both of these guys tended to show up in ensemble cast WWII Productions as I recall. Henry Fonda is OK in the nominal lead role although many others could have played his part with equal, if not better chops in this particular vehicle.
There are definitely some historical inaccuracies in this one but what the hey, it is Hollywood afterall... A fine score accompanies the film and along with "The Great Escape", this ranks as one of my favorite all-time WWII Movies and you can't go wrong at $5.00 in adding this to your collection.
The sounds is pretty scratchy
There were interesting Captured German film that presented their view and spin on how it all was unfolding.