December 21st, 2013: Patton (1970)


Cast and Crew:  Franklin J. Schaffner (Director); Francis Ford Coppola (Screenwriter);  Jerry Goldsmith (Score); Karl Malden, Michael Strong, Morgan Paull, Bill Hickman, Jack Gwillim, John Douchette

What It’s About:  Controversial American General George S. Patton’s (George C. Scott) tumultuous career in the Second World War is the basis for this myth making film.

Why Watch it Today?: Patton died on this date in 1945.

6 comments on “December 21st, 2013: Patton (1970)

  1. geelw says:

    Heh. “Myth-Making” would get you run outta town in some rah-rah war movie circles, but yeah, this one’s a hoot with wooden teeth splitting cherry trees and making railroad ties out of them. Still, it’s a nicely made film (and that Jerry Goldsmith score is excellent). Trivial trivia: Beneath the Planet of the Apes has a scene that sort of rips off the opening speech in a more truncated form…

    • T.A. Gerolami says:

      My dad would probably have been in the “run Mort out of town” crowd were he alive to read this, but after I watched it I did a little (a little) bit of reading and it really seems that this (excellent) film did a tremendous job boosting Patton’s image in the mind of the American public. The score is amazing, and there are definitely some very, very iconic scenes, the speech being just one of them (and, with the exception of Scott’s voice not matching Patton’s apparently quite high one, at least it is based on speeches that Patton gave). I know the Apes movie did a parody of this, but so did tons of others, really is one of those moments that birthed a thousand imitations, parodies and rip-offs!

      • geelw says:

        I’ll need to look up the shooting schedule for Beneath the Planet of the Apes one day, as I think it may have been the first or one of the first films do do a riff on that speech. I’ve always found it funny because it’s also a Fox film and I’d imagine that clip of Scott was shot and perhaps made the rounds in the studio as “great”, but some writer(s) thought it was ripe for a few pokes with a sharp stick and there you go..

        There was a TV movie made years later about Patton’s post-WWII life up to his death. I vaguely recall it, but I think it was on NBC and not too terrible at all.

        Anyway, tanks for the memories (oh, the pun…) and Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays!

  2. T.A. Gerolami says:

    From what I understand, too that script circulated around for years before it actually got made-so much so that FFC was off doing something else by the time they shot it and was very surprised that it was in production. Or I think that’s how the interview I’m half-remembering went.

    He didn’t last long after WWII-he died in 1945-so that must have been a short movie!

    Same to you, sir-thank you for your comments. It’s great having a conversation about these movies.

    • geelw says:

      Amusingly enough:

      the TV movie was about 2 1/2 hours long and made up of a lot of flashbacks, so there you go. TV figures out a way to pad out the shortest post-war lifespan…

      • T.A. Gerolami says:

        Wow! They even roped Scott back in for this! It’s funny, when I watched the 1970 movie, I felt like there were scenes from the end of his life missing-maybe I did see this back in the day.

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