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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    I have also posted this in the cinema section, but realised I might get a better response posting it here:



    In the 1980s myself and my friend picked up an extra copy of the excellent film 'A Bridge Too Far' from a car boot. We already had original copies but this was one in slightly different packaging that we hadn't seen before.



    Unusally when we watched it, the film had a number of differences, some of these were very subtle and some very obvious, but it was a totally different cut from all the other versions we had in our possesion, original videos, as well those recorded from the tv.



    The most notable scene that I have only ever seen on this version and never any others, involved a patrol of Americans roving around the streets of Nijmegen City trying to locate the bridge, at which point they're ambushed by Germans from doors and windows and scatter to cover. The scene ends with two of them running round into a small road where they're mowed down by the faceless gun carrying halftrack (The same vehicle seen later in the scene of 'The human roadblock' in Arnhem) The acting in this scene and the dialogue, was well below par 'Nijmegen bridge must be around here somewhere...' which is probably why it was cut from the definitive version of the film. Which begs the question why did it make it onto one version (and one version only) of the releases of video over the years? It would have also been nice to have the deleted scene on the recent DVD release.



    Another boggling sequence was the use of actual black and white footage to depict the advance of XXX Corps up the highway, several shots of these were inserted into the film on top of what was already there, where there had been none before.



    The attack over Arnhem Bridge by the 9th SS recon unit was also different, some of the shots were taken from different perspectives and some had been replaced or swaped for others. The scene basically being a different edit of the same sequence.



    Now this is not a case of a version that was different from TV, I am well aware the film has recently been appallingly badly cut for television on its last two showings. However its original screening on ITV 1 in 1983/2 was no different from the DVD currently available, both of which I have. (Other than the ratios for viewing)



    Alas my friend who had the copy of this bizarre cut lost it recently during a move, which is a real shame. This is not a case of bad child hood memories I can assure you, as we watched it several times and examined all the scenes in detail at the time.



    My theory is that somewhere at UA a rough cut ended up being copied by accident (rather than a final master) at some stage when the film was repackaged (It has been about 6 times now) and this version may have been released and then quickly withdrawn by accident.



    Anyone else got any other ideas?



    Did anyone else ever see or own this version?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: Australia
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    Very interesting Azanti.



    Your piece also reminded me of the film 'Their's Is The Glory' (1946) which was the first to re-enact the Battle of Arnhem.

    What is amazing is that the actors appearing in this film were some of the actual allied soldiers that fought in the battle.

    Which makes some of the performances seem very wooden but still very fascinating all the same.



    Dave.

  3. #3
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Yes, very interesting. Lord Dickie and others have said how some scenes like the SS unit being repelled on Arnhem bridge were a "just one attempt at it" type of thing and they had a lot of cameras on it. It sounds like this video your friend found could have included some of the footage from those other cameras.



    I've always been interested in this particular action and I saw it at the cinema a few times when it was first released. I don't remember the additional scenes you mention but that memory could be influenced by the many times I've since seen it on TV, video and now on DVD



    A bit of a mystery



    Steve

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    David, yes I have that as well, excellent film, all things considered.



    Steve - a friend of mine who also saw the orginal cinema release also recalls a shot where a paras leg is split opem upon landing landing, but no one else I know remembers that and it was not on the video that we had. Was it in the version you saw at the cinema?

  5. #5
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azanti
    Steve - a friend of mine who also saw the orginal cinema release also recalls a shot where a paras leg is split opem upon landing landing, but no one else I know remembers that and it was not on the video that we had. Was it in the version you saw at the cinema?
    I don't remember it exactly although it rings a faint bell, but it was a long time ago and I've seen the TV & DVD versions a lot of times since. There were also a lot of wounds like that in other places so it's hard to say exactly where it happened.



    Steve

  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: Scotland julian_craster's Avatar
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  7. #7
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    Alex von Tunzelmann's comments that the film is too long is complete poppycock. Exactly what you would expect from a girlie. What did she want, a love interest between the stars? How about Liv Ullmann and Laurence Olivier.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    It has been a while since I have seen the film,but IIRC,when Browning said that Monty that Monty thought it was a "90% success",the Gene Hackman character asked "Well,what do you think?",Browning said "As I said to Monty right from the start,'I think we are going a bridge too far'".

    All films have their inaccuracies - they use them to keep people like Alex Von Tunzellman on their toes.

    Ta Ta

    Marky B

  9. #9
    Senior Member Country: England mallee59's Avatar
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    I like the film and bought it recently in a collection with 2 others, good price as well

    Having now read the review I think the last paragraph sums it up, if you don't like war films you probably won't like this, as surprisingly its a war film......



    Think it best to avoid her reviews in future and do as I always do nowadays, watch the film for myself.



    Yet another thought, perhaps we should have a review of critics?

    mallee

  10. #10
    Senior Member HUGHJAMPTON's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marky B

    All films have their inaccuracies - they use them to keep people like Alex Von Tunzellman on their toes.

    Ta Ta

    Marky B
    I'd agree with that to a point, the fact is, that all real life stories when filmed, are in someways compressed or juggled around when it comes to the plot, just to make it more filmic. IMO it's never meant to be 100% factual/accurate.



    The film itself, has always impressed me with the logistics involved in it's making. I think it's on of Dickie's best directorial efforts.

  11. #11
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    Bogarde hadn't worked for 2 years when he took the part but came to regret it and blamed Attenborough. He took a pasting for his portrayal of Browning, especially from Browning's widow Daphne Du Maurier and the establishment for being, among other things, too camp and effeminate. He thought Attenborough had done it deliberately in order to stop him getting a Knighthood!



    There was also genuine animosity between Bogarde and Connery.All the stars on the pic were earning the same fee, $250,000 a week, but as Bogarde only had what amounted to a cameo and a weeks shooting at most and Connery had a bigger role and 3 weeks shooting hence 3 times the money Bogarde was on, which he resented hugely! Attenborough apparently had to tread very carefully in the one confrontational scene they had together.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Country: Aaland dremble wedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pelam123
    Bogarde hadn't worked for 2 years when he took the part but came to regret it and blamed Attenborough. He took a pasting for his portrayal of Browning, especially from Browning's widow Daphne Du Maurier and the establishment for being, among other things, too camp and effeminate. He thought Attenborough had done it deliberately in order to stop him getting a Knighthood!



    There was also genuine animosity between Bogarde and Connery.All the stars on the pic were earning the same fee, $250,000 a week, but as Bogarde only had what amounted to a cameo and a weeks shooting at most and Connery had a bigger role and 3 weeks shooting hence 3 times the money Bogarde was on, which he resented hugely! Attenborough apparently had to tread very carefully in the one confrontational scene they had together.
    He was a bit potty Dirk, wasn't he?

  13. #13
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    As this is one of my favourite movies of all time, I will quite happily disect (butcher) this arrogant review -



    Operation Market Garden was a daring attempt by allied forces to push into northern Germany in 1944. Led by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, it planned to drop paratroopers in the German-occupied Netherlands, seize bridges behind enemy lines, and make way for a full invasion. In the event, the Germans managed to delay the allied advance by blowing up one bridge at Son, and defending another at Arnhem during a prolonged battle. The operation failed.[I]



    I guess that is it in broad brush strokes, though the reasons for the operations failure were many. The Germans weren't defending Arnhem Bridge though, we were, with a mere 800 men. They were defending the routes to it, thus preventing it from being reinforced.



    Most of the film's characters are either real people or closely based on real people. Plus – in a refreshing change from the weirdness of watching Nazis speak colloquial English in the likes of Valkyrie – Germans speak German, Dutch speak Dutch, and Brits say things like, "I'm awfully sorry, but I'm afraid we're going to have to occupy your house." It's even possible to overlook Sean Connery talking like Sean Connery, seeing as his character, Maj Gen Roy Urquhart, was a Scotsman; albeit a Scotsman who had attended St Paul's School and Sandhurst. The chief linguistic offender is Gene Hackman, who plays Polish general Stanislaw Sosabowski with an accent foundering somewhere between vampire and pirate. Meanwhile, Ryan O'Neal distinguishes himself from the refined performances given by the rest of the A-list ensemble by delivering every one of Brig Gen James Gavin's lines as if he were reading it from an idiot board to an audience sitting on the other side of a canyon.



    Gene's accent is certainly the weak link in the chain, though that aside his performance is actually not that bad. Ryan O'Neil reading from idoit boards? I don't think so. How is that an understated performance and slow delivery is award winning when your name is Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan? Ryan O'Neil's performance is decent enough and better than most in many other film. Elsewhere in the film, the other performances are of an excellent standard - Edward Fox, Elliot Gould and Liv Ullman should receive special mention.



    Committed second world war buffs may spot microscopic inaccuracies, such as a few anti-tank guns being painted the wrong colour, but overall the recreation of the battles was acclaimed by real veterans. The action scenes are a triumph, visceral and memorable: swarms of planes, massive explosions, hundreds of paratroopers floating through the sky like jellyfish through the sea. If you never tire of watching things blow up while big old bits of machinery rumble around, this is the movie for you. For the rest of us, though, it's kind of boring. The cast, while impressive, is so large that few characters manage more than a cameo appearance. The fighting scenes, while impressive, drag on for so long the mind wanders. The attention to every aspect of the operation, while impressive, hampers narrative pace and direction. By the beginning of the third hour, it seems Attenborough is trying to make his audience feel like they, too, have trudged for days through muddy Dutch fields without food or sleep. Which is an achievement of sorts. Though, when you keep hoping Gene Hackman would turn up with a parrot and an eyepatch and sink his fangs into the Nazi field marshal's neck, you've probably had enough.



    I am a world war two buff but not to the point where I check colour scheme of vehicles in a movie. I actually knew nothing about Operation Market Garden before thisI saw this film and I know everything about it now. The two major action sequences in the movie are grabners charge across Arnhem Bridge and the assault across the river Waal by the 82nd Airborne, the latter of which is considered to be the most daring assualt of World War 2 - This is reality honey. People often go on about the beach scene at the beginning of Saving Private Ryan, which was undenyably spectacular, but for me this moment did that 20 years earlier. Filming a practically live river assault, recreating what 18 year old boys did to let us all live today (With no CGI I might add) in 1977 was nothing short of amazing, and that comment goes for the rest of the movie. (It was also not easy to get hold of Russian T-34 tanks in 1977 to covert to German Tigers) Third hour?? Then you must have seen the film with the missing scenes as the film runs at 2 hours 49 minutes. As for the ensemble cast, this is an ensemble piece. it's not a study at platoon level but of a massive and complex operation on which many different people played a part. Even the smallest leading Cameo's have at least three scenes and you remember absolutely who everyone was. The Towering Inferno I might point out, made around the same era, has an even larger cast with many big names sharing smilar screen time as here. While this is never going to be a girls film, few war movies are, lets face it - it makes a good argument as many of its predessors equally well - namely that war sucks and is often an unpleasant and a dirty business, where the decisions of a few individuals lead to the deaths of many others and where the heroic actions of a few can make all the difference and remind us we are still human. There are so many scenes in this film that achieve this as equally as any other anti war film, the human roadblock being a case in point. If Attenborough is trying to make the audience live through the operation then surely that is the point, though with the exception of a few seconds in the last quarter, there is almost no footage in the muddy fields of Holland. (The reporter must have decided to make that note, when that shot came up - wow how intellectual of you)



    Conspicuous by his absence from the film is "Monty" Montgomery himself. As a result, there's a sense that responsibility for the operation's failure rests mostly with Lt Gen "Boy" Browning (Dirk Bogarde). In the closing scenes of the film, Browning is permitted a subtle dig at the still-unseen Monty ("He thinks the operation was 90% successful") and says that he always felt the allies "tried to go a bridge too far." In reality, Browning made that comment directly to Monty before the operation began.



    Well Monty is conspicious by his absence because he was in fact absent, rather uncharacteristically from the battle once it's inception had begun. In reality, there is considerable doubt that Browning made that comment at all. I have to say that I think his portrayal, while not prehaps quite accurate is appropriate as Browning made a huge number of very questionable decisions, not least of which was insisting that his entire HQ was flown out in the first lift, when it wasn't really needed - this resulted in 34 gliders being taken from other serials when they were desperately short of the craft. In the film Sosabowski (Hackman) and to a greater degree in real life was scapegoated to some degree for some of the failures. Knowing Sosabowski's family personally (They even gave me his rare family autobiography, signed) he infact remained good friends with General Browning for years afterwards despite the tension that did exist over the operation. There is also considerable doubt that Browning ever made the comment 'Well I think we might be going A Bridge Too Far' at all, to Montgomery or otherwise, this is why it is instead placed, ambigiously, at the end in the scene with Connery, where prehaps it could have been said, which seems reasonable. (Brownings wife maintained that he said he never said it at all)



    The production had several veterans of Market Garden on hand, including John Addison, composer of the splendid score, who served with the British XXX Corps. Dirk Bogarde was there for real, too, though his memoirs imply that he spent most of September 1944 "liberating" champagne from local wine cellars and avoiding the advances of an amorous, eccentric major-general known as "Uncle". According to Bogarde, Uncle was "gobbling up half the Highland Infantry" and thought wearing helmets into battle was "common" and "not the behaviour of a gentleman". In this light, William Goldman's tally-ho-old-boy screenplay begins to sound quite convincing



    People have to remember, that in the 1940's we did indeed as a nation speak somewhat differently, just as we did in the 1960's, the 1980's and well look at how the youth speak today - It might be hard to swallow sometimes, but it is real never the less.



    Films that attempt to convey the scale and majesty of a large scale operation such as this, or D-DAY (The Longest Day) will always be grandiose ensemble affairs, as they are not studying the microcosim of the battle but rather the consequences of the whole operation at every level. When fictional love interests or iffy tweaked story lines are thrown in under the purported purpose of dramatic cinema, ask yourself which is the superior film for something like 'Stalingrad' or 'Enemy At The Gates'.



    If the film has a weak spot, in my view it is the overly long sequence with James Caan rescuing his friend Eddie, though I like this sequence and it is a true story, its probably longer than it needs to be.



    A Bridge Too Far was way ahead of its time. It covered a hithertoo little known Allied disaster which could have actually ended the war a year earlier should it had been sucessful. It protrayed some of the most heroic actions ever achieved under almost impossible conditions and it showed them with no CGI and very limited access to original equipment and materials and superb use of locations. The fact that covered the whole operation with most (but not all) of the key events in under three hours is a stupendous achievement. It made a huge anti war statement at a time when war films were no longer good cinema and achived a box office profit before it was even released (Down to presales in Europe)



    So stuff that review, basically. lol.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Country: United States will.15's Avatar
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    A better movie than many on that Time Out list.

  15. #15
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    Quite, if isn't on there, that is shameful.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Country: England Number Six's Avatar
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    Excellent review Azanti - you only forgot one thing - the fantastic musical score and what is probably the best war film theme too!!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Number Six
    Excellent review Azanti - you only forgot one thing - the fantastic musical score and what is probably the best war film theme too!!
    I have the album with an autograph by Dickie.

    Ta Ta

    Marky B

  18. #18
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    I also have the album on Yinyl - John Addison, the composer was actually there on the operation.

  19. #19
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    sorry if i missed this how much did it cost to make the film? cheers.

  20. #20
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brettsinclair
    sorry if i missed this how much did it cost to make the film? cheers.
    The IMDb says:

    Budget

    $26,000,000 (estimated)



    Gross

    $50,800,000 (USA)

    SEK 5,280,644 (Sweden) ( June 1978)



    Rentals

    $20,375,406 (USA)



    Steve

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