Whilst researching “A Bridge Too Far”, I came across this film which is about Arnhem and Oosterbeek, the towns where there were the most casualties, and where the campaign failed. I found it on YouTube.
What was especially interesting about this film was that it was filmed only a year after the actual battle, and used the actual locations as well as soldiers that fought there, two hundred people in all. A lady who helped tend to wounded soldiers also appeared in the film, singing a song to some troops.
The locations were pretty much destroyed by the battle, the houses the troops were using in Arnhem were just shells basically. Even though the buildings in “A Bridge Too Far” were made to look damaged, they did not compare to the real thing at all.
The actual bridge at Arnhem was destroyed, so in this film they used a rather convincing looking painting of the bridge before the battle started. There was also a lot of actual footage used.
So this was a unique film to watch. Knowing that you were watching the real soldiers re-enact what they went through, and in the same place was quite amazing. They were not actors of course, but you could see that they were reliving the battle, and putting everything they had into it. I suppose they were thinking of the thousands of men who did not make it as well.
The difference between the acting of all the big names in “A Bridge Too Far”, and that of the soldiers in this film was quite starkly different. The actual soldiers were of course playing themselves, and were back in army mode again, so they were efficient, almost emotionless, and were just doing what they were trained to do. Compare that to the brooding, angry, wise-cracking, action men that the real actors were portraying in “A Bridge Too Far”, it all seems rather silly. But, of course that is how we want to be entertained.
This is very much worth a watch if you like a bit of war history, and want to see something that is quite unique and real.
Date watched: November 10th
Film count 2016: 176