One of the things I always have trouble with, in the WW2 movies, or really, almost any war movie, is that I can never tell the different characters apart.
They all look somewhat uniformly handsome, they wear uniforms. As the movies progress, they all get kind of dirty and greasy.
How am I supposed to tell who from who?
Some people, guys especially, can tell the difference by the hats and the insignias on their uniforms. Chris knows all about it. Even more!
He brought over a bunch of DVDs, A Bridge Too Far among them. We started to watch it. He would pause it and explain to me all the different implications of what was going on.
Boy, that made a difference! I mean, I could tell, when they talked, who was american, british, german and polish. But it was hard to tell when they were just walking around. And they would refer to each other by numbers: 82nd, tank support, etc.
This movie tried very hard to make the characters distinct by using famous actors. Robert Redford, Gene Hackman, Elliot Gould, Sean Connery, Laurence Olivier were among the characters. That helped.
The story was a really amazing battle that took place towards the end of WW2. The Americans, Brits, and Poles all cooperated to try to close in on some bridges in Holland.
They used Paratroopers extensively, and the battle was the first to do so. It was amazing to see, in the movie, all the parachutes opening up in the sky. I kept thinking, “they are going to land on top of each other!”
The movie is almost three hours long, but it was gripping. It took some paying attention to keep track of who was where and who they were talking about at different times. The movie didn’t let you rest.
I kept feeling sad about the whole thing. The difference between the enemy and the allies was just placement. This story did not focus on the atrocities of one or the other. It just seemed to show the damage to all involved.