Film and Food

Movies reviews with matching food – eat, watch, enjoy

Best Picture – Patton (1970)

Starring George C. Scott & Karl Malden

Rating 8/10

Patton loved war. He was a soldier through and through. Patton was not a mouse but a man, a big man with a big mouth. He feared no one and nothing except defeat.

It all begins with an impressive oversized American flag. Patton steps out of this and delivers a forthright, unapologetic speech  about war and death. He is an intimidating figure. His onscreen audience is never revealed but you can imagine hundreds of soldiers with their dry mouths hanging open in awe.

We are then transported to Tunisia where the allied forces have suffered a serious defeat. Morale is at an all time low. Enter Patton. He quickly whips the soldiers into shape and leads them into battle and victory. This joy is short lived when he realises that his arch enemy, General Erwin Rommel was not involved. Onwards and upwards, General Patton shifts his focus to Sicily and that’s when things really heat up.

The highly competitive Patton is a man on a mission. He is not only determined to outwit the German general Rommel but the British General Montgomery who is running the show. Monty wants the glory, so does Patton and when Patton defies orders,  beating Montgomery to Palermo, then Messina, President Eisenhower is not impressed. He then slaps a so-called ‘coward’ around the head and is suspended. This means missing out on the action of the D-Day landings.

After being demoted, a frustrated Patton begs his superior General Omar Bradley, for a real position, where he can make a real difference. He seeks to redeem his past with the Third Army who marches across France, eventually taking the besieged town of Bastogne. Patton then sets his sights on Germany and forces his troops over the border, practically handing the allies a victory.

This film was a real surprise. Initially, it seems that Patton is a bloodthirsty, warmonger with no redeeming qualities. In fact, he has many tender moments, showing compassion for individual soldiers. But he does love his war. Even the worst of battle fields, strewn with bodies, brings him joy. This is a little disturbing. He is also a Christian who believes in reincarnation. A strange, complicated fella.

Scott deserved his Oscar for Best Actor. He gives a brilliant performance as the troubled Patton full of depth and honesty. Oscar Clubbers may recognise Karl Malden from On the Waterfront where he played Father Barry superbly. In Patton, his character  is much more subdued, but he shows what a talented, versatile actor he really was. Love him!

The film itself has elements of Lawrence of Arabia with its desert scenes and little background music. The music is low and haunting. Each battle scene is realistic and graphic. You can almost feel the dust in your nostrils and taste explosives. For those who loved the Band of Brothers series, you’ll enjoy this film. However, it’s not just for war buffs. It is really a story about a highly competitive, unique man who was determined to win at all costs.

Patton Trivia:

  • Budget $12 million
  • The opening scene is a censored version of one of Patton’s speeches. He often used foul words to ram home his meaning.
  • Scott refused his Oscar because he thought the whole thing was a “meat parade” and didn’t want to be a part of it!
  • Most of the film was shot in Spain. The Knutsford scene was filmed in the same town and a few scenes were shot in Morocco.
  • When the Patton really hit the soldier, he hadn’t been to bed for 48 hours and came back with an apology within 24 hours.
  • Scott’s gravelly voice failed to capture the high-pitched authentic voice of the real Patton. But who wants a commander that sounds like a choir-boy?
  • Richard Nixon loved this film. He would watch it before making any military decisions.
From World War II to the drug wars on the streets of New York City. Next time we’re watching The French Connection starring Gene Hackman, Fernando Ray and Roy Schneider. Why not get your friends together to have your own Oscar Club party? Then let us know what you discovered!
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One comment on “Best Picture – Patton (1970)

  1. manicc1974
    August 23, 2011

    I included this document to my bookmarks

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