Monday, March 26, 2012
Patton (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
#89 on the 1998 AFI Top 100 American Films
Patton is a 1970 American biographical war film about U.S. General George S. Patton during World War II. It stars George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Michael Bates, and Karl Michael Vogler. It was directed by Franklin J. Schaffner from a script by Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North, who based their screenplay on the biography Patton: Ordeal and Triumph by Ladislas Farago and Omar Bradley's memoir A Soldier's Story. The film was shot in 65mm Dimension 150 by cinematographer Fred J. Koenekamp, and has a music score by Jerry Goldsmith.
Patton won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
The opening monologue, delivered by George C. Scott as General Patton with an enormous American flag behind him, remains an iconic and often quoted image in film. The film was a success and has become an American classic.
In 2003, Patton was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant"
* George C. Scott as General George S. Patton. Rod Steiger had first turned down the role, later admitting that it was the worst decision of his career.
* Karl Malden as General Omar Bradley
* Stephen Young as Captain Chester B. Hansen
* Michael Strong as Brigadier General Hobart Carver
* Michael Bates as Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery
* Frank Latimore as Lieutenant Colonel Henry Davenport
* Morgan Paull as Captain Richard N. Jensen
* Karl Michael Vogler as Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
* John Barrie as Air Marshal Arthur Coningham
* Siegfried Rauch as Captain Steiger
* Richard Münch as Colonel General Alfred Jodl
* John Doucette as Major General Lucian Truscott
* Paul Stevens as Colonel Charles R. Codman
* Jack Gwillim as General Harold Alexander
* Gerald Flood as Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder
* Ed Binns as General Walter B. Smith
* Peter Barkworth as Colonel John Welkin
* Lawrence Dobkin as Colonel Gaston Bell
* Lionel Murton as Third Army chaplain James H. O'Neill
* David Healy as Clergyman
* Douglas Wilmer as Major General Francis de Guingand
* James Edwards as Sergeant William George Meeks
* Tim Considine as Corporal Charles Kuhl
* Clint Ritchie as Tank captain
* Alan MacNaughtan as British briefing officer
Patton opens with Scott's rendering of Patton's famous military "Pep Talk" to members of the Third Army, set against a huge American flag. Coppola and North had to tone down Patton's actual words and statements in this scene, as well as throughout the film, to avoid an R rating; in the opening monologue, the word "fornicating" replaced "fucking" when criticizing The Saturday Evening Post. Also, Scott's gravelly and scratchy voice is the complete opposite of Patton's high-pitched, nasal and somewhat squeaky voice, a point noted by historian S.L.A. Marshall. Yet Marshall also points out that the film contains "too much cursing and obscenity [by Patton]. Patton was not habitually foul-mouthed. He used dirty words when he thought they were needed to impress."
When Scott learned that the speech would open the film, he refused to do it, as he believed that it would overshadow the rest of his performance. Director Franklin J. Schaffner assured him that it would be shown at the end. The scene was actually shot on the stage of the theater at the Joint Forces Training Base (JFTB) in Los Alamitos California.
All the medals and decorations shown on Patton's uniform in the monologue are authentic replicas of those actually awarded to Patton. However, the general never wore all of them in public. He wore them all on only one occasion, in his backyard in Virginia at the request of his wife, who wanted a picture of him with all his medals. The producers used a copy of this photo to help recreate this "look" for the opening scene. However, the ivory-handled revolvers Scott wears in this scene are in fact Patton's, borrowed from the General George S. Patton Memorial Museum.