The Ritchie Boys
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Run out of Germany by the Nazis, a small contingent of German Jewish intellectuals exacted the perfect revenge--returning to Europe as U.S. soldiers to defeat the enemy. Groundbreaking and unforgettable, THE RITCHIE BOYS is the never-before-told tale of a handful of German nationals who used their language and cultural knowledge to wage psychological warfare against the Nazis and to liberate Europe. Still sharp as octogenarians, The Ritchie Boys --a medley of hilariously unlikely soldiers--vividly recall their treacherous and heroic slog through World War II, from their training at Camp Ritchie, Maryland to the beaches of Normandy, from dark weeks spent in a German POW camp to D-Day ebullience. Now highly successful artists, businessmen, and professors, The Ritchie Boys laugh at their clumbsy fit within the U.S. military, cry at the horrors of war, and marvel at the unorthodox--but effective--forms of interrogation and subterfuge that helped them to defeat the Nazis.
Shortlisted for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and widely acclaimed upon its release, THE RITCHIE BOYS mixes newsreels with razor-sharp interviews to spin a touchingly personal saga of men whose chutzpah, ingenuity, and playful camaraderie had a lasting effect on world history. A great human tale (San Francisco Chronicle), THE RITCHIE BOYS is a documentary of staggering importance.
DVD Features: Individual War Stories; Filmmaker Biography
- Individual war stories
- Filmmaker biography
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The men who trained at Camp Ritchie were almost exclusively European Jewish refugees who had just recently escaped from the Nazis. Yet they all volunteered to return to Europe to serve their newly adopted country.
They all took this very seriously but the dvd does make use of the usual humorous soldier stories. Such as the one where two of the Richie Boys who are now with the US Army in a forward area doing POW interrogations complete a fake prisoner interrogation report stating that they have captured Hitler's latrine orderly and he gave them very detailed information on the fuhrer's private parts. They sent it to their immediate superiors and they all had a good laugh. Until someone forwarded it to a higher HQ and a Colonel from Washington showed up to meet the latrine orderly for himself!
This is a must for any student of WW II.
to America, and, wanting to do something to fight Hitler, became an intelligence
unit for the Army.
While occasionally very sad and moving, more than most WW II documentaries there
is a big dose of ironic Jewish humor in these men, as well as a very positive life force.
Simple in its construction -- mostly talking heads intercut with photos and newsreel
footage -- it manages to capture the awful insanity of war and the power of refusing
to give up a sense of humor at the same time.
A rare and powerful combination.
It is deeply saddening that this particular skill seems now completely lost. If we think about Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and the cruel techniques we have seen used recently on prisoners of war and the poor results such demeaning 'techniques' have given we cannot help but wonder why the art of collecting intelligence is now practically .... defunct.