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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Battle of the bulge (released in 1965) - starring Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Telly Savalas, Robert Ryan, Dana Andrews and Charles Bronson, history of the famous battle of the same name

Battle of the Bulge is a war epic based on the real battle which ranged across Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg during the Second World War. The movie was released in 1965 on the 21st anniversary of the battle. The movie starred Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Telly Savalas, Robert Ryan, Dana Andrews and Charles Bronson. The Director Ken Annakin had reorganized the chronological events of the battle for maximum impact.
The movie begins with Lieutenant Colonel Riley and his fellow officer flying re-con over the Ardennes forest to check on German positions. Col Riley has his suspicions about a German counterattack and is not taken seriously. The war is dragging itself to the end and all the allied troops are in a complacent mood. When Riley produces pictures of a Tiger tank on the move it is deemed as a coincidence by his superiors, General Grey and Col Pritchard.
Riley, convinced that something is brewing on the German side leaves to collect evidence to the Siegfried line. Here he interviews some German PO W's captured by Major Walenski and Captain weaver. He finds all the PO W's are teenagers and feels that experienced German soldiers are withdrawn to prepare for the ultimate battle. Again his suspicions are dismissed by his superiors.



But actually German are undertaking massive preparations to mount an attack on the allied positions. This is led by Colonel Hessler who is heading to the town of Ambleve to see Gen Kohler to plan the attack. He is shown a massive contingent of Tiger tanks, arms and heavy ammunition. Gen Kohler tells him that he has all the fuel necessary for 50 hrs of battle after which they have no supplies. Hessler feels that he can decimate the allies with this fire power.
When the GI's are asleep Hessler launches his attack and completely decimates the allied positions. Major Walenski tries to withdraw to the Belgium town to fight another day. But the SS troops are disguised as Americans and rearrange the signs dispersing a confused allies and in the end massacring the whole unit.
Gen Gray, Colonel Pritchard, and other officers are evacuated from the the head quarters and ask the men to fight till the last stand. Kiley meanwhile deduces that the Germans are low on fuel and devices a strategy to slow the attack so that the fuel is used up. In the mean time the Germans led by Lt. Schumacher are disguised as Americans and intercept these messages. Many Soldiers fight for their loved ones decimated in Ambleve, and Hessler in his desperation attacks the fuel depot. In this ultimate battle scenes you find an injured Riley and a host of other officers defend the depot. They use barrels of gasoline as burning missiles and hurl them down to the advancing Tiger tanks. The American tanks are pounded but they stand their ground and retreat slowly, hastening the burning up of fuel by the Germans. A desperate Hessler tries to go it alone and launches an attack on the Germans and his tank is blown up by the gasoline maelstrom.
With their fuel completely used up and their arms rendered useless the Germans abandon their positions and the battle is won. In the last scene the German loss is shown with Hessler's Man Friday Conrad disgusted with the battle and its cruelties throwing off the gun and heading home on the Siegfried line. There are lot of historical inaccuracies but the movie is a brilliant portrayal of the battle where the allies were with their back up to the wall, but still rallied to win. Good watch for action movie buffs.

Battle of the bulge (released in 1965) - starring Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Telly Savalas, Robert Ryan, Dana Andrews and Charles Bronson, history of the famous battle of the same name

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