The Bridge at Remagen (1969)
Bridge Over Nothing
With the war wending its way towards an end Hitler's scorched Earth policy starts to take effect with Maj. Paul Kreuger receiving orders to destroy the bridge at Remagen. But with the 15th army stuck on the West bank Kreuger listens to Colonel General von Brock (Peter van Eyck) who asks him to defend the bridge as long as possible so that they have the best chance possible of returning safely. Meanwhile the advancing Allies also have orders to destroy the bridge except General Shinner (E.G. Marshall) orders Major Barnes (Bradford Dillman) to capture the bridge. Barnes who is unpopular with Lieutenant Hartman (George Segal) over the use of men to advance his own career is angry at the situation and the futile action over an unimportant bridge.
"The Bridge at Remagen" aims to be a clever movie all about the futility of war and it tries to be clever by using this unimportant bridge as a metaphor for that futility. It is a nice idea and in truth gives this typical 1960s's war movie some depth but "The Bridge at Remagen" is just a typical late 60's war movie with a familiar look, characters and style.
What that really means if that we get a slow build up as the situation is discussed between people, we have von Brock asking Kreuger to defend the bridge whilst we see the American soldiers are tired by the incessant nature of war with even friends having a go at each other. If you enjoy war movies it is entertaining enough but incredibly similar to the sort of thing you would see in one war movie after another.
There is action interspersed with this build up until the focus shifts from building the story to the actual battle of the bridge. But again whilst nicely made it is only at the same level you would find in many other war movies from the late 60s with sadly nothing about it standing out as exceptional.
And so it goes on as 90% of the performances are good with George Segal and Ben Gazzara working well together as war weary soldiers who are tired with the commands they have to follow. But then there is the casting of Robert Vaughn as a German and unfortunately for me Vaughn is one of those actors who just don't seem right to be playing a German bad guy. It's not that Vaughn does a bad job just a case of miscasting.
What this all boils down to is that "The Bridge at Remagen" is a nicely made 60s war movie but one which whilst having some nice performances is just another war movie from the 60s with nothing about it to make it stand out from the crowd.
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