A Bridge Too Far Review and Blu-ray Features
A Bridge Too Far
15 June 1977
Behind the Scene and other Major Plot Points
Was the charactor of Major Fuller (worried Intelligence officer)real or fictitious?
The character of Major Fuller was actually Major Brian Urquhart. The character was renamed to avoid confusion with the character played by Sean Connery. He eventually became Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations for Special Political Affairs. Certainly not a conglomeration and definitely a real person.
Does that dreadful road still exst?
The answer is ‘sort of’.The route taken by 30 Corps as they tried to get from Eindhoven to Arnhem via the bridges is still there but there are a couple of places where you have to use an OS map and drive across a few fields to keep true to the task.
Did General Urqhart really personally kill a German soldier as is portrayed in the film?
Yes, the events happened exactly as portrayed.
What happens to Dennis, the officer General Urqhart sends to take over command of the airborne brigade?
He and his entire staff are never seen or heard of again. Presumably they were all killed by a German unit which was then itself wiped out.
Why didn’t the allies listen to the Dutch resistance’s warnings of German tanks at Arnhem?
The Dutch resistance had been thoroughly penetrated by the Gestapo in what they called the ‘Englander-game’. Captured radio operators were used to send out requests for more agents and material to be dropped with German troops waiting for them at their landing sites and the aircraft transporting them often shot down by the Luftwaffe on the way home. The allies therefore did not trust their sources in Holland and only one set of aerial reconaissance photos showed a few tanks in the area.
If the Allies are so close at the end why don’t they just keep going and take the Arnhem bridge?
At the end of the film the German’s have the bridge and will just destroy it if they try. Whilst it has been largely regarded as a defeat the Allies have actually liberated vast swathes of Holland and inflicted grevious losses on the Germans. However without the bridge at Arnhem they cannot cross the River Rhine into Germany’s industrial heartland of the Rhur which would allow them to destroy the German’s ability to make weapons and end the war within a few months. Monty’s assessment that Operation Market Garden was overwhelmingly 90% successful is correct but without the bridge at Arnhem they cannot achieve their ultimate objective.
Whose fault was the failure?
In many ways everyone’s and no ones. The allies were overconfident going in and the German’s more resilient than they were given credit for. The radios which worked effectively in the desert and France proved unreliable in Holland. However there would simply have been no way of knowing this beforehand. The Dutch resistance gave warnings but their information had previously proved unreliable as they had been compromised by the Gestapo. The German’s moving their armoured units into Arnhem was last minute and by sheer coincidence. The bad weather affected the radios and delayed flights of reinforcements to the beleaguered paratroops. The ground reinforcements moved too slowly but suffered heavy casualties every step of the way and without radio contact had no way of knowing how desperate the situation was for the Airborne Forces. Criticism has been leveled at Field Marshall Montgomery for not taking longer to prepare but had he done so the weather would have been too bad for airborne operations and the Germans would have had more time to strengthen their defenses. In reality Operation Market Garden was a gamble which didn’t pay off but came very close to doing so, the attack coming as a complete surprise to the enemy in an area where their defences were relatively weak. Most historians agree that it was a risk worth taking as had it succeeded the war could literally have been over by Christmas 1944 and the Allies would have been spared the tens of thousands of casualties they suffered directly assaulting Germany’s border defences the following spring.
What happened afterwards?
The unliberated parts of Holland endured a brutal winter of starvation at the hands of the occupying German forces. In the spring Montgomery launched a massive and overwhelming offensive over the Rhine, once again using paratroopers to spearhead the attack. This succeeded handsomely and the Allies penetrated deeply into Germany, destroyed their military-industrial capability and the war was over a short time later. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of the failure of Market Garden was that the delay allowed the Soviet Union to occupy Eastern Europe rather than the Western Allies, which lead to the Cold War.
Chicago Opening Happened When?
The Chicago opening of Joseph E. Levine’s film, A Bridge Too Far, occurred on Wednesday, June 15, 1977, at the Woods theatre in the Loop, and nine other area theatres; an ad reads: “Out of the sky comes the screen’s most incredible spectacle of men and war!” The film was rated PG
RT/Meta Critic Review
Consistently reinforces the horrors of war by depicting not only the disasterous military engagements and their toll on heroes, but also the witless political decisions that led to needless, excessive loss of life. (Click here to see)
Having seen Bridge Too Far on DVD I was not expecting much from this release. I however was pleasantly surprised it looked much better than the DVD by a long shot. Presented in 1080p/MPEG-2 the source looked to be in good shape, but did have some speckles and occasional blemishes. The color palette is rather muted, but at least what there is clean and solid. Flesh tones overall look accurate, but the use of tints occasionally gives the flesh tones a bluish cast. The use of filters gives the visuals a soft often dreamy look that kills the sharpness of some scenes, but nothing to detract from the images on the whole. The overall image looked pleasantly film like with a fair amount of detail, but it does not have the “realness” look of Battle of Britain, but it also does not have the visual problems that Battle of Britain had as well. Lastly I did find a few instances of posterization and noise, but I had to view the movie twice to notice it.
MGM offers a Dts-HD Loss less Master Audio 5.1 track at 16/48khz, which for the age of the film sounds pretty good. There is also an optional English Dolby Digital 4.0 track, a 5.1 French Dolby Digital track at 448kbps, and a Spanish 1.0 dub at 192kbps. I chose to listen to the Dts loss less and the Dolby 4.0 tracks. The Dts track had a very nice sound to it for a film this age, however it is very front heavy, with almost no surround contribution whatsoever. What surround information was there was so low in level; it was swamped by the output of the front three channels. Bass is robust, clean, and pretty powerful for a film this age. The front three speakers bass output is limited to above 40hz output, much in line with the theater speakers of the time period. There is also not a lot of bass below 40hz coming from the LFE as well. Sound effects are spread across the front soundstage, but are strangely limited in the surrounds. The score didn’t sound bad, but did have a very close up front sound staging characteristic, and there was an occasion of a piccolo distorting in the score. Overall distortion was not a problem. The Dolby Digital 4.0 track sounded very top heavy, and basically sounded out of balance when compared to the Dts track. It sounded like they just removed the LFE, and made no effort to restore balance to the track by sewing it into the main channels. This is not a bad sounding soundtrack, but it does have its problems
There is only a theatrical trailer for Bridge Too Far (in HD), and promotional spots for the movies Windtalkers, Flyboys, and Platoon.