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le 16 avril 2015
The perfect gift for all historical movie enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKER.Calix Imperium, Coupe à vin en étain ROMA VICTRIX

In the autumn of 1944 Field Marshall Montgomery conceived a plan called Operation Market Garden that would open a corridor across the Rhine river and allow Allied troops to attack the heartland of Germany. When he and his staff devised the plan the Allied forces were being held in their positions by both German resistance and lack of supplies. At the time it appeared the war would evolve into the same static-front contest of attrition which occurred in the first world war and led to horrible loss of life on all sides.

A Bridge Too Far is such an accurate portrayal of the events which occurred during Operation Market Garden that much of the criticism for the film is veiled criticism of the plan itself and of the actions of the participants. The criticism of Montgomery is undeserved, as he was a capable, if seemingly over cautious general. The plan was the boldest of any that were made during the war and the reasons Eisenhower approved it instead of one by Montgomery's rival Patton are valid. The results of the operation have been incorrectly regarded by some as a failure, but in fact it made the defence of Germany untenable and facilitated the final push into Germany during the spring of 1945.

The film itself is well written and contains imagery of battles and troop movements of a scale that has not been equalled, at least in any realistic manner. Earlier comments have been made that Attenborough's attention to detail has resulted in an overly lengthy film but I disagree with that assessment. Any film which depicts a part of the war which directly affected the second half of the 20th century should be given as much time as necessary to tell it's story. There is only one part of the film that has no direct bearing on the narrative of events and that is the sub plot involving James Caan's character, which does add 20 minutes to the running time of 3 hours.

The scenes showing the drop of the British and American airborne forces are visually stunning and worth the price of a DVD for their own sake. Anthony Hopkins is at his best as the unenviable forward commander at the final bridge at Arnhem. My only regret is that the actual glider landings were not depicted, presumably because of the risk involved.

The film should be considered required viewing by anyone who claims to be a war film fan, or anyone interested in the events which occurred during the second world war.
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Ce film de Richard Attenborough, sorti en 1977, suit assez fidèlement l’ouvrage éponyme écrit par Cornelius Ryan et édité dès 1974. Le fil est donc sorti peu après l’ouvrage.

Il s’agit d’une super-production au casting international impressionnant qui fut tournée en Hollande mais pas sur les lieux mêmes des combats.

On y retrouve les anecdotes et témoignages principaux qui émaillent le récit de Cornelius Ryan. Le film met particulièrement bien en valeur la linéarité de la progression du XXXe Corps, le rôle des fleuves et rivières à franchir, les difficultés radio de la 1st Airborne, la volonté de Model de ne pas faire sauter les ponts de Nimègue et de Arnhem. Il manque surtout les prémices de la bataille et l’échappée de la 15ème Armée allemande par Walcheren. Son rôle dans l’opération Market Garden fut important.

Sur le plan des équipements, la qualité est au rendez-vous si ce n’est l’utilisation de chars Léopard modernes en lieu et place des panzers de la seconde guerre mondiale.

Bref, un beau film qui ravira les amateurs de wargame qui s’interrogent sur la nature des fleuves et rivières et sur les moyens de franchissement associés. ;-)

A voir et revoir sans déplaisir !
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- History -
Operation Market-Garden, begun in September 1944, was an Allied military campaign led by Montgomery, the senior British field commander, in the latter stages of World War II. While the Allies were still in France, a plan had to be formulated for making the major push into German territory, a difficult task, considering the Rhine River (one of the major rivers of the world) provided a natural defensive border with the majority of the German homeland. Planning offensive operations required taking this into account, and how the forces would cross the river and remain safe while doing so, rather than have bottlenecks that would make the forces easy targets.
While Patton was in the south, pushing through France on the backside of the old Maginot line, Montgomery hit upon an idea to seize a series of bridges across the various rivers that made up the geography of the Low Countries, all the way up to Arnhem, one of the northern-most major bridges across the Rhine, a bridge outside of German territory, but a good jumping-off point for invading northern Germany. His plan won approval, and in one of the largest military operations of the war, a major push was developed to secure the bridges. This had the largest airborne component of any battle in the war, as troops were airlifted and dropped into position around each bridge, charged to hold the bridges until ground forces pushed northward linking up logistic and defensive lines toward each spot.
Operation Market-Garden was actually two operations -Market was the airborne component; Garden was the ground component. It was meant to take the Germans by surprise (which it did) and exploit their disorganisation (which was, sadly for the Allies, not as severe as intelligence predicted). The Allies were stopped short of their primary military objectives (securing an 80-mile corridor of bridges) by some 25-30 miles. Hence the name of the film, derived from the book by Cornelius Ryan, `A Bridge Too Far'.
- Film -
Cornelius Ryan's book was adapted for the screen by writer William Goldman and director Richard Attenborough, a leading director of British cinema, noted for such diverse films as Gandhi (for which he won an Oscar), A Chorus Line, Cry Freedom, and Shadowlands. Attenborough was nominated for a BAFTA directing award for `A Bridge Too Far' in 1978. Attenborough is also well-known in front of the camera, too.
Attenborough brought together a monumental cast for this epic film, worthy of Cecil B. DeMille in scope and size. At just under three hours in length, it is as unrelenting as the combat scenes it depicts. While not matching the graphic realism of films such as `Saving Private Ryan', it nonetheless does a good job at combining a look at grand strategies (from formation to failure), tactical maneuvers, and individual combat situations. The high command in Britain, hoping to capitalise on the continuing disorder in Germany arising from their adjustment to fighting a losing war on two fronts (three, in fact, if one includes Italy), saw the opportunity to strike. Through a series of misfires and misunderstandings, they end up fighting not local police forces (the Netherlands had been spared intense battleground warfare for most of the war, and thus was thought to not contain any real combat-strength troops) but crack Panzer division placed there, essentially on a rest stop before being deployed in more critical areas.
The planning and preparations are realistic, from a look at the intelligence gathering and analysis (these were the days before satellite imagery), the gathering together of equipment and personnel, the execution of the operations, and the demoralising realisation that Operation Market-Garden is not going well. One of the most outstanding scenes involves General Stanislaw Sosabowski (played by Gene Hackman) discussing the operation with his superiors - Sosabowski, a general of the Polish forces in exile in England, distrusts the operation, for good reason, but acquiesces to support the plan. His uneasiness is palpable.
The cinematography is terrific, considering it was done largely without `trick' shots - no helicopter shots, no CGI graphics, no slow motion or composite tricks. The airborne drops are breathtaking, giving the thrill and the danger a realistic tone. The film does not depict glider landings (some of the most dangerous types of drops, and presumably because of this danger, omitted from the filming). The desperation of the men who land without their equipment (or miss the airdrops later due to failed communications) is easily felt - the sense of the waste of war is driven home when one soldier sprints to get some desperately needed supplies that have fallen just outside of the secure zone - being shot by a sniper, the sense of futility is underscored by the breeze blowing soldiers' caps (which was the contents of the supplies for which the soldier paid with his life) drifting away.
The acting is stunning in many instances, but for the most part it is the usual good job rather than outstanding that one might hope for from such an elite group of actors. The music is memorable and appropriate. One drawback is that the editing of the film makes it a bit confusing to keep the various storylines going, particularly if one has studied the sequence of events in World War II history, which, while followed as a pattern, is not adhered to with rigour in the filming.
- Conclusions -
Operation Market-Garden was conceived as a plan to get the troops `home for Christmas', hoping to secure a passage into Germany prior to the winter, to force them into surrender. As history would have it, there were major battles to fight before the war would finish the following summer. This film captures a significant campaign in good format, showing the operational and human aspects in a high relief.
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le 1 mars 2014
Je ne suis pas particulièrement adepte des films militaires mais on ne peut être qu'admiratif devant la réalisation de celui-ci.Très réaliste et porté par une pléiade d'acteurs confirmés,"Un Pont Trop Loin" (1977) captive et détaille durant 3 heures le fiasco d'une opération des alliés (Opération Market Garden).Le film met l'accent sur le manque de préparation et d'analyse de cette opération et sur l'incompréhension générale y compris du côté allemand au sujet de cette manoeuvre.Un très grand film comme on les aime,éducatif,intemporel et sans concession.
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le 5 novembre 2015
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Richard Attenborough's 1977 adaptation of Cornelius Ryan's book on the disastrous Operation Market-Garden is one of the last of the all-star, huge-scale World War II epics (after The Longest Day, Tora! Tora! Tora!, Battle of the Bulge and Midway, among many others), and arguably the best. As an old-fashioned war film brimming with excellent battle scenes and a star-studded cast, it succeeds in spades. Perhaps more pointedly though, it works as a fascinating study of a military failure - where bad planning, bad thinking and just plain bad luck contributed to one of the greatest Allied disasters of WWII. The movie has more than its share of huge-scale battle scenes, but no amount of heroics by our all-star cast can save the day.

September, 1944. The Allies have broken out of Normandy and liberated most of France; it seems that the war is at an end, with only problems in supply preventing a swift Allied victory. British Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery advocates a plan to end the war with a daring coup de main: under the direction of General Browning (Dirk Bogarde), British and American airborne forces will land behind enemy lines and seize three bridges over the Rhine River, while the XXX Tank Corps under General Horrocks (Edward Fox) will launch a simultaneous ground attack - thereby trapping the German Army in Holland and ending the war. The plan quickly goes awry; elements of General Urquhart's (Sean Connery) 1st Airborne are scattered, with Colonel Frost's (Anthony Hopkins) battalion trapped in Arnhem; Horrocks' men meet heavier-than-expected resistance from elite SS troops commanded by Field Marshalls Von Runstedt (Wolfgang Preiss), Bittrich (Maximillian Schell) and Model (Walther Kohut); and American units led by General Gavin (Ryan O'Neal) and Colonel Stout (Elliot Gould) are forced to improvise river crossings after their bridges are destroyed by the Germans. Through fierce fighting and sheer will, the Allies claw within an inch of success - but ironically, the closer the Allies get to success, the more apparent the scope of their failure becomes.

Attenborough depicts Market-Garden showing a combination of overconfidence, poor planning, and just plain bad luck foiling Market-Garden. General Browning in particular comes off very badly, ignoring intelligence from a junior officer (Frank Grimes) indicating that German forces are much stronger than anticipated, and brushing aside the skepticism of Polish General Sosabowski (Gene Hackman). No one in the Allied command thinks the attack will be anything but a success; after the smashing victories of the last three months, who could blame them? The German Army is in retreat; the Allies flushed with victory; the Dutch prematurely celebrating liberation. It seems ludicrous to even imagine that failure could occur at this moment in time, even with such a harebrained scheme as Monty's.

However, reality intervenes time and again; Browning and company can ignore or silence intelligence officers and skeptical generals, but wishful thinking cannot overcome reality. When German troops turn out to be crack SS Panzer units, everyone present realizes that things are going to be very difficult, expectations aside. Bad communication, bad weather, bad drop zones, bad roads and fierce German resistance all show that Montgomery's plan - difficult even in the best of circumstances - is simply leading to a monumental disaster. The fact that the attack comes within a hair's breadth of success makes failure all the more painful. Allied success would come a few months later, but only at the cost of hundreds of thousand more lives.

Attenborough handles the battle scenes with aplomb, making them both entertaining and gruesome; we're engrossed enough in the spectacle and characters to cheer for the Allies, even if we know the cavalry will not get through in time. Certainly the movie has enough excellent set pieces to keep it going - particularly the jaw-dropping parachute drops, American Sergeant Dohun's (James Caan) unlikely rescue of his badly-wounded Captain (Nicholas Campbell), and Major Gold's (Robert Redford) impromptu amphibious assault on the Nijmegen Bridge. Only a few mawkishly sentimental scenes towards the end (particularly the scene of wounded British soldiers singing on a hospital lawn) go a bit too far. The film can be enjoyed both ways: as a straight battle picture, and as a potent anti-war message.

British stars Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Edward Fox, Dirk Bogarde and Laurence Olivier give strong performances, each having enough time to register. A young Anthony Hopkins more or less steals the show; his restrained, down-to-Earth performance as Colonel Frost, trapped in Arnhem without hope of rescue, manages to standout even amongst such distinguished company. The American cast is less well-used; Robert Redford, James Caan, Gene Hackman and Elliot Gould have glorified cameos, though Redford and Caan at least have a scene or two to shine. Sadly the only American with much screen time is Ryan O'Neal - enough said I hope. Liv Ullman is fine in a small role, and German actors Hardy Kruger, Maximillian Schell, Walter Kohut and Wolfgang Preiss all do fine work.

A Bridge Too Far remains a high watermark for war films. Although it may not entirely succeed as an anti-war statement, it's an engrossing film regardless, and holds up better than most of its peers.
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le 3 mars 2001
Sans doute le meilleur film de cinéma relatant les opérations terrestres sur le territoire européen avec utilisation de matériel militaire conforme à l'époque, artillerie, blindés, fm ..., ce qui est rare, beaucoup de scènes spectaculaires et une distribution sublime !!!
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le 29 avril 2015
Opération mélant un assaut aéroporté et une attaque blindée crée par Montgomery pour entrer en Allemagne par la petite porte et terminer la guerre avant Noêl 1944. Seulement rien n'a marché comme cela devait ! Trés beau film de guerre , avec des scénes de bataille à couper le souffle ! un casting d'acteurs comme on ne saurait plus en faire à l'heure actuelle : Sean Connery, Michael Caine , Robert Redford , Laurence Olivier , Ryan Oneal ; Anthony Hopkins et j'en passe .
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le 22 juin 2013
Un des rarissimes films de guerre qui, ne donnant pas dans la "romance" ("Midway", "Pearl Harbor"), l'anecdote ("Remagen")l'invraisemblance ("Stalingrad") ou le nombrilisme nationaliste imbécile ("La Bataille des Ardennes", "Il faut sauver le soldat Ryan"), se propose une mission pédagogique à destination des cinéphiles, dans leur grande majorité, ignorants ou DESINFORMES (et, à ce titre, s'autorisant cependant le "droit démocratique" d'avoir un "Avis" ... fut-il de la plus consternante ineptie). L'exemple le plus éminent est "Tora-Tora-Tora" que suit (même si antérieur) "Le Jour le plus long" et, plus loin, "Paris brûle-t-il" qui, décrié pour son "Cocorico" français, n'en dépasse pas moins les INEPTIES anglo-étasuniennes !

Car, la stratégie de cette audacieuse opération est remarquablement expliquée dans la première section du film ... avec pour très critiquable, le fait de présenter le général Browning, homme lige de Montgomery, comme un esprit obtus ! Car, si ce dernier est réputé avoir mésestimé la capacité de résistance et de mordant encore offensif de l'armée allemande, il est TRES LOIN d'avoir été le seul : TOUS les officiers généraux anglo-saxons et américains jusque et y compris Patton s'imaginaient, en cet euphorique mois de septembre 1944, arriver "à Berlin" en quelques semaines ... ce que suggère dans le film le monologue comique du général Horrocks, commandant du XXXème Corps britannique, et que dément le SEUL général Sosabovski qui, en tant que Polonais, connaissait très bien l'extraordinaire capacité militaire allemande (bouc émissaire "idéal", il sera scandaleusement démis de ses fonctions après l'échec de Market Garden, INJUSTICE qui ne saurait étonner quand on connaît l'incroyable EGO des Britanniques).

La suite du film ne l'est pas moins, présentant à tous ses échelons la progression de l'offensive alliée (la 101ème aéroportée américaine à Eindhoven, la 82ème aéroprtée américaine sur la Meuse et le Waal à Grave et Nimègue et la malheureuse 1ère division britannique du général Urquhart à Arnhem secourue vainement par la brigade polonaise de Susabovski). Et, souffle frais dans un film de guerre réalisé par les "héritiers" des "vainqueurs", on ne nous présente pas les Allemands sous les traits habituels de CRETINS, de TROUILLARDS ou d'INFÂMES CRIMINELS ... à l'exception notable du maréchal Model lequel fut pourtant un EMINENT stratège (sans-doute parce que précisément considéré comme un criminel de guerre pour sa conduite à l'égard de "partisans" TERRORISTES russes en Russie Blanche, perpétrant des assassinats sur les arrières allemands - faits que condamne la Convention de Genève).

Au contraire, le film nous présente le général Bittrich (magnifiquement incarné par le grand Maximilian Schell), commandant du 2ème Corps Panzer SS sous les traits les plus humains possibles : près en remporter un important succès défensif, il suspend les combats pendant deux heures, permettant l'évacuation des blessés britanniques ... fait qui n'est RIEN QUE d'historique !!! Ceci n'empêchera pas que le général Bittrich, déchu expressément de son statut de prisonnier de guerre, soit traité en criminel de guerre après la fin du conflit pour quelques faits à l'encontre de 17 partisans français exécutés (au regard de la Convention de Genève, les "partisans" n'avaient AUCUN statut protégeant toute armée régulière)et qu'il soit condamné à CINQ années d'emprisonnement ... lors qu'il n'a eu connaissance qu'après l'exécution ET exigé des sanctions à l'égard des soldats ayant participé à cette exécution (autre chose que les MULTIPLES CRIMES de guerre et contre l'Humanité perpétrés par les "partisans" et les armées régulières des "vainqueurs" ... notamment à l'égard des populations civiles allemandes !!!). Plus tard, il évacuera Vienne pour éviter que la vieille ville soit ravagée par une soldatesque soviétique IVRE de vengeance !!! Wilhelm Bittrich ... soit l'exemple même de l'officier général SS HUMAIN, faisant DEMENTIR la sinistre réputation faite à ce corps d'armée d'ELITES et que d'aucuns, en France, ont ... discrètement ... comparé à la Grade de Napoléon ...

Quant à la conclusion de l'affaire - le constat du général Browning d'avoir voulu aller ... "un pont trop loin" ... d'où, le titre du film -, il est facile, après coup, d'en accuser l'initiateur, le général Montgomery, tête de turc "favorite" des Américains ... Le coup était remarquable, stratégiquement parlant, et aurait pu réussir ... si les Britanniques ne s'étaient heurtés aux HEROS de la 2ème Panzer SS ... que ce soit ou non "politiquement INcorrect" que de le dire !!!
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le 27 janvier 2013
Film sur un fait réel un peu caché de l'histoire de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale. Le suspense est très dense. Les effets spéciaux sont époustouflants. Le scénario est sans ambiguïté sur les erreurs du Commandement des Alliés qui amenèrent des pertes énormes parmi les Américains, les Anglais et les Polonais engagés dans l'Opération Market Garden en Flandres. Le Général Urquhart aurait perdu 7000 hommes sur ses 9000 engagés à ses côtés. La réalisation nous fait plonger directement dans le massacre des Forces Alliées, à leur côté, au milieu d'eux même.
Je recommande ce film, par ailleurs du point de vue historique, il semble bien coller à la réalité des faits, même si on peut y noter quelques erreurs qui n'engagent que les historiens.
Quand le cinéma et la "culture" font bon ménage...
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le 4 septembre 2013
Ce film reste un classique du film de guerre avec de nombreuses stars au service de l'histoire et de la mémoire des hommes qui ont participé à ce fait d'arme
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