Sunday, July 5, 2015

"A Bridge Too Far", Movie casting mirrored real personages

The movie “A Bridge Too Far”, based on Cornelius Ryan’s best selling book of the same name, chronicling the WWII Operation Market-Garden (Battle of Arnhem), premiered in 1977 with an all-star cast. Each of the major actors/actresses were already an established star unto themselves. Although not garnering any significant film awards, it represents one of the last truly epic historical war films produced.

Am not certain who was responsible for casting the characters in the movie, however Joseph E. Levine and his son Richard produced the movie and Richard Attenborough was the director. With only a few noteworthy exceptions the coincident physical features of the actors portraying the actual significant personages was, in my opinion, rather remarkable. This is obviously the case with some of the individuals more than others. See if you don't agree in the similarity in facial appearances in the following examples:

Knowledgeable individuals will recognize Maj. General Frost in his final rank, not his rank of Lieut Colonel, commanding 2nd Bn, the Parachute Regiment, at the time of the battle.

Lieut. General Frederick Arthur Montague "Boy" Browning GCVO KBE CB DSO, OC, 1st Allied Airborne Army. (played by Dirk Bogarde)

Lieut. General Sir Brian Horrocks KCB KBE DSO MC, OC, XXX Corps (played by Edward Fox)

Maj. General Robert “Roy” E. Urquhart CB DSO OC, 1st Airborne Division ( played by Sean Connery)

Maj. General Stanislaw F. Sosabowski, OC, 1st Independent Polish Parachute Brigade ( played by Gene Hackman)

Brigadier J.O.E. Vandeleur DSO & Bar, OC, 32nd Guards Brigade, Guards Armoured Division (played by Michael Caine)

Maj. General John D. Frost CB, DSO MC, as Lieut Colonel, OC, 2nd Bn, the Parachute Regiment (played by Anthony Hopkins)

Maj. General James M. Gavin U.S.A., OC, 82nd Airborne Division (played by Ryan O’Neal, and not as good a resemblance as some of the others)

Maj. General Maxwell Taylor, OC, 101st Airborne Division (played by Paul Maxwell)

Brigadier Gerald Lathbury, OC, 1st Parachute Brigade (played by Donald Douglas)

Major Brian Urquhart (named “Fuller” in movie), Intelligence Officer, 1st Airborne Corps (played by Frank Grimes)

Mrs. Kate Ter Horst (played by Liv Ullman)

SS Obergruppenführer (Lieut General) Wilhelm Bittrich, OC, II SS Panzer Corps (played by Maxmillian Schell, again not quite as good a resemblance as some of the others)

SS Standartenführer (Maj General) Heinz Harmel (named ”Ludwig” in movie), OC, 10th SS Panzer Division (Frundsberg) (played by Hardy Kruger)

Field Marshal Walter Model, OC, Army Group B (played by Walter Kohut)

Major Allison Digby Tatum-Warter DSO, OC, A Company, 2nd Bn, The Parachute Regiment (named “Carlyle” in movie) (played by Christopher Good)

SS Hauptstrumführer (Captain) Paul Graebner, OC, Reece Bn, 9th SS Panzer Division (Hohenstaufen) (played by Fred Williams)


Robert Warn said...

Excellent movie. Great cast.

Anonymous said...

One of, if not the best war films ever made and the music is fantastic. Thank you

Staz Matt said...

Fantastic post. Probably the greatest war film ever made.

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