By Jeff Shannon
One of the greatest screen biographies ever produced, this monumental
film runs nearly three hours, won seven Academy Awards, and gave George C.
Scott the greatest role of his career. It was released in 1970 when
protest against the Vietnam War still raged at home and abroad, and many
critics and moviegoers struggled to reconcile current events with the
movie's glorification of Gen. George S. Patton as a crazy-brave genius of
World War II.
How could a movie so huge in scope and so fascinated by its subject be
considered an anti-war film? The simple truth is that it's not--Patton is
less about World War II than about the rise and fall of a man whose life
was literally defined by war, and who felt lost and lonely without the
grand-scale pursuit of an enemy. George C. Scott embodies his role so
fully, so convincingly, that we can't help but be drawn to and fascinated
by Patton as a man who is simultaneously bound for hell and glory. The
film's opening monologue alone is a masterful display of acting and
character analysis, and everything that follows is sheer brilliance on the
part of Scott and director Franklin J. Schaffner.
Filmed on an epic scale at literally dozens of European locations,
Patton does not embrace war as a noble pursuit, nor does it deny the
reality of war as a breeding ground for heroes. Through the awesome
achievement of Scott's performance and the film's grand ambition, Patton
shows all the complexities of a man who accepted his role in life and
(like Scott) played it to the hilt.
Patton received Academy
Awards for Best Picture (Frank McCarthy - Producer), Actor (George C.
Scott), Directing (Franklin J. Schaffner), Writing (Best Story and
Screenplay based on factual material or material not previously published
or produced; Francis Ford Coppola, Edmund H. North); Art Direction/Set
Decoration (Urie McCleary - Art Direction, Gil Parrondo - Art Direction,
Antonio Mateos - Set Decoration, Pierre-Louis Thevenet - Set Decoration). Patton
also received Academy Awards nominations
for Cinematography (Fred J. Koenekamp), Film Editing (Hugh S. Fowler),
Best Original Score (Jerry Goldsmith), Sound (Douglas Williams, Don
Bassman) and Special Visual Effects (Alex Weldon).
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Your Memories Shared!
"This movie defined my impressions about General George Patton and the second World War for years. However, since reading Carlo D'Este's wonderful biography about General Patton, which also touches upon the movie from time to time, (Patton: A Genius For War) I find it hard to think about this movie without thinking about D'Este's massive biography, which appeared almost 25 years after the movie.
This situation doesn't diminish the impact of the movie--it just proves that the movie has been rendered obsolete by later scholarship and popular historical works such as D'Este's."