on 12 June 2013
Patton was released on blu-ray in the US around 5 years ago. The disc received huge criticism from internet reviewers for it's waxy faces, excessive noise reduction, unnatural look and total absence of grain. Fox in the US took this on board and remastered it last year to the approval of just about everybody who saw it, who saw huge improvements with a natural, film-like appearance. When the film was announced for a UK release in 2013, I naturally assumed that we would get the new version, why would Fox issue a discredited 5 year old master of the film when it has a new universally praised version available?
I was wrong, this is the old version, which Fox in the US saw fit to remaster and reissue, but we in the UK are apparently not worthy of viewing the fixed version. Frankly this is disgusting by Fox, who seem to think it's OK to knowingly release inferior product. Avoid this disc. Unfortunately, the corrected US version is coded Region A only, so must of us won't be able to view it, so I suggest anyone interested in getting the best available release of this film gets in touch with Fox directly and gives them a bit of good honest feedback about this release.
It's a terrific film, but Fox's shabby behaviour means this is a one star product.
on 12 January 2016
This version of the Patton DVD (1970), PAL region 2, that is, only for viewing in Europe, has been vandalized by lewd language and wholly made up language in the subtitles (English for the hard of hearing). It is amazing that such a version could be sold! As I have written in my review on IMDB.com under the headline "Subtitles", the English for the hard of hearing subtitling that I chose to use when I watched my DVD has wholly made up phrases that are not actually being said by the actors. Example:(about 1 hour, 1 minute, 30 seconds, Sicily landings)"Hier landet Patton mit seiner Siebten Armée am Strand von Gela" becomes something like "Here's the gangster Patton ...." in the English subtitling! Example:(about 46 minutes, Patton's tank army crushes Rommel's ditto in North Africa): a soldier (Jenson) in the movie says "I cannot reach General Bradley on the phone", but it becomes "I cannot raise G. B. ....." in the English subtitling! Magnifying glasses should be used to find and weed out such lewd and made up subtitling in a new version of the DVD. This DVD, PAL region 2 version for Europe, has simply been vandalized. I will keep the DVD that I bough, so I can have it for cinematographic purposes as an example of a very good movie having a very bad technical quality to the point of vandalizing it!
Patton is a biopic film covering the later period of the career or General George S. Patton (his career pre-dates WW I). Whilst no film can ever really cover such a well known military career fully, this instead concentrates on the expected WWII period, starting in North Africa in 1943
The opening scene is something of a work of art by itself, with the huge American flag and Scott's memorable speech, but the film's impact continues far beyond the impressive opening scene.
Probably the most important aspect of the film to me, is that it doesn't pull any punches in the portrayal of Patton. Here is a man who on one hand is clearly a gifted commander, but all too often falls victim to his lack of tact and quest for glory.
Patton is portrayed by Scott magnificently, it should be noted Scott's coarse and gravel type voice is at odds with the real man's fairly high pitched vocals. Putting that aside (your voice is your own!) Scott manages to really get under the skin of Patton and in completely convincing in the role, in a way which very few actors have managed to pull off.
The film isn't perfect, the script is quite good though I wouldn't call it superb. Screenplay is provided by Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North who do a good job overall. Supporting cast is solid with Karl Malden taking a key role of Gen. Omar N. Bradley, the chalk and cheese (entirely different personalities) is evident on screen as it supposedly was in real life (the two men were as different as can be)
Jerry Goldsmith also does a fine job with the music score some very memorable and fitting for the film. As other reviewers have mentioned, there are some shortcuts taken with some of the equipment used, esp the tanks which are not authentic (esp the German ones using USA tanks with a paint job) However the impact isn't really lost on the film.
Scott famously turned down the academy award nomination for Best Actor in 1971. But no awards are needed to see his stand out performance in this film. It's hard to imagine how successful the film would have been without Scott as the lead role. Sometimes you get an imperfect film (this is good no question) but the lead actor is so strong it lifts the entire production up to 5 star levels.
The film will leave you with mixed views on Patton, it does celebrate his tactical brilliance, but questions his motives and lack of apparent compassion, and his never ending quest for fame and glory. Warts aside this is quite a powerful film that is very much one of the stand out biographical war films made to date.
"There's one thing you men will be able to say when you get back home, and you may thank God for it. 30 years from now when you're sitting round your fireside with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what did you do in the great World War Two, you won't have to say, "Well, I shovelled **** in Louisiana." Alright, now you sons of *******, you know how I feel."
From its audacious opening speech that literally orders its chattering cinema audience to shut up and pay attention and prepares the audience for the man we are about to spend the best part of three hours with, this is one of the great achievements of epic cinema. An extraordinary combination of performance, direction and scoring, this spectacular account of the WW2 career of the egocentric and eccentric American general goes against all expectations of the form. Jerry Goldsmith's score marks the contradictions from the word go: led by an organ and distant trumpets over a shot of a vulture, it develops into a glorious march as the camera reveals looted bodies.
This is clearly the work of a great director at the height of his powers - note the brilliantly staged scene where Patton reads a prayer for good weather, with his voice and Goldsmith's restrained scoring the only accompaniment to otherwise mute and eerily effective scenes of combat. Interestingly, aside from the early massive tank battle, there is surprisingly little combat footage in the film. Instead, it concentrates on character, with Schaffner insisting on editing the film in 35mm (it was shot in 65mm) so as not to be dwarfed by the spectacle. Yet for all the logistics of the production, nothing is so spectacular as its central character himself.
Scott's performance, a mixture of John Wayne and Julius Caesar, strikes a quite remarkable balance between printing the legend of a man who didn't belong in the 20th Century and finding the man beneath it. Whether sniffing out an ancient battlefield, taking on Nazi bombers single-handed armed with only an ivory-handled revolver or slapping a shell-shocked soldier in a move that sees him go from the conqueror of Sicily to addressing Women's Leagues in overcast backwaters of Britain, he is entirely credible. We are swept along by his triumphs, but equally horrified by his irresponsibility and frequently warped values, never quite sure whether he himself believes statements such as "If we are not victorious, let no-one come back alive!"
His performance dominates the film, although Karl Malden as his sidekick and, ultimately, superior and Michael Bates eccentric and equally vainglorious Montgomery both stand out from the crowd. Standing up remarkably well 37 years on, Patton is a genuine classic.
The DVD boasts excellent print quality and retains the original intermission music as well as the English subtitles for the German scenes that were clumsily left off the video release - especially important not just for the background detail on Patton's youth but also a lot of jokes, not least a sequence of the Nazi high command studying retakes of newsreel footage of his landing in Sicily! Most bizarre moment on the extras is on the 50-minute documentary originally produced for the laserdisc where Oliver stone claims that Nixon's love for the film was responsible for his decision to intensify bombing in Vietnam - to support this, Stone cites Scott's refusal to allow him to use footage of him in the role in Nixon, which he takes not as a sign that Scott thought he was wrong but that the actor knew he was right and felt ashamed!
However, be warned that Fox's first US Blu-ray release suffered from such heavy Dolby Noise Reduction that the characters look like waxwork dummies and, rather than using the remastered version for the US Blu-ray reissue, that's the same substandard transfer that's been used for the UK and European release. Just to rub salt in the wound, Fox have dropped the second DVD disc of extra features, leaving the BD with only Francis Ford Coppola's audio commentary and introduction
"Patton", is massive by any measure. Number of Academy Awards won, 8, inclusive of best picture and best actor, the man chronicled, General George Patton, the World War that is documented in the film, the cinematic scope of 150 degrees the view takes in, or the sheer size of the numbers of persons and material that was put on the screen. Winning 8 Academy Awards while The United States was torn by the ongoing Vietnam War was no small feat for this film that documents one of the larger than life participants in that human conflict, one of the great warriors of the 20th Century, or of many other centuries depending on your view of the man. His was a towering personality and every event, every decision matched his ego, with the result that he was wildly successful, a man given to horrendous missteps, and either loved, feared, or hated. The bottom line was that if you were fighting you wanted Patton fighting for you, not against you.
One of the reasons this film was not narrowly defined as a war film was that it was about this one man. It is true there are classic war sequences as when he nearly yells, "Rommel you magnificent.........I read your book". But the film really is about a personality, and one that was rapidly falling out of favor when generals were no longer needed as warriors, when they were becoming diplomats, and in some cases planning a run for high political office as the war ended. Patton's ideas about continuing the war with the Russians may seem simplistic, but his attitude, one that was contemplated by other noted and respected men at the time, provides one of the greatest counter-factual discussions for historians, specifically what if we had not treated the Russians with the deference that we did, what if Churchill's party was not removed from office, what type of peace would then have emerged, and from it, what type of post WWII world?
Like the books that have profiled the man, the film is also comparatively massive at just a bit under three hours in length. With rare exception, contemporary films now hardly ever contemplate such a running time, for it means too few turns of the audience in a given theater. The fact is, that the films just are not as worthwhile, for when they are, people will happily sit through them and be oblivious as to there length. One only has to look at the newest installment of, "The Twin Towers", to see that a 3 hour film fills as many theaters as it is allowed to play in, and is breaking and making new records as the days pass. Hollywood geniuses take note, quality is still not only appreciated, it is recognized, the dumbing down of films is done in Hollywood by those that create the mediocre movies, it's not indicative of what film fans are desirous of seeing.
George C. Scott was a remarkable actor, and while not defined by any single film or stage performance, "Patton", was certainly a role that generally followed closely with a discussion of this actor's career. It sounds like the worst cliché, but when on screen, the man becomes Patton, as I suppose most performances that are truly special, and are still in demand 33 years after they are made all are.
I recently watched, "A Bridge Too Far", another filmmaking epic that was more of an ensemble film as opposed to a star vehicle like, "Patton". It was made in 1977, seven years after, "Patton", and by comparison the film looked terrible. The DVD I watched was re-mastered via THX, and the picture and sound that resulted were excellent, and makes the same treatment for films like, "A Bridge Too Far", imperative. Any film that people still are willing to pay for and watch that is in its fourth decade of existence benefits enormously from improving the picture and the sound via THX and other technologies. "Patton", takes advantage of this technology, and other studios should take note, and make the investment in other films that have firmly established themselves as classics.
In considering Scott's performance in this brilliant film I was put in mind of Cassius's words regarding Caesar, whom he describes as bestriding `this world like a colossus'. That might be seen as something of an exaggeration but for the fact that he features in virtually every scene. Similarly, though principally by his admirers, the same might be said about the eponymous general whom Scott embodies as though born to play this one role alone. In a remarkably nuanced performance, given the characteristics of the man he plays, Scott allows the more sensitive side of Patton's character to appear from time to time and even, though for the briefest of moments, elements of self-doubt and self-recrimination as, for example, he is informed of the plight of American troops landing amphibiously during the battle for Messina or kissing the forehead of an American captain following a ten hour vicious encounter with a German armoured column during the Battle of the Bulge.
However, central to all that happens for the last two thirds of the film is the infamous `slapping' incident following which, on Eisenhower's order, Patton has to apologize to the assembled `offendees' including the doctors and nurses, in addition to the slapped soldier, but still manages to accuse the latter of cowardice in so doing! He certainly had a way with words but not one best geared to achieve his ultimate purpose, which was to occupy a pivotal role in the upcoming thrust into Nazi Germany. In fact he is relieved of his command of the 7th Army (Western Task Force, Operation Husky) and has to make do with being merely a decoy back in England to fool the Nazi high command into thinking he was preparing to lead the assault on mainland Europe via the Pas de Calais.
Eventually, after more or less being on his `best behaviour', Patton is given command of 3rd Army, who play a supportive role in Northern France following Operation Overlord, while Omar Bradley (played by Karl Malden) is given command of 12th Army Group. One can only wonder, in terms of shortening the war, what might have transpired had Patton kept his mouth shut, his hands to himself and their roles been reversed.
The film doesn't seek to mitigate any of Patton's `transgressions' and Scott's towering performance shows Patton in all his belligerent glory. He receives excellent support from Malden in the other major role and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Michael Bates, as Monty. But what the film does do is to convey, unambiguously, Patton's sense of personal destiny as if he'd been born for this moment in history: a trait he almost certainly shared with Churchill.
The combat scenes are handled magnificently and the viewer gets a real feel for the sweep and scope of battle with men and machines being manipulated by both sides like pieces on a chessboard. Added to this is the gloriously (now) iconic score by Jerry Goldsmith. All in all an epic war film that, by the end, leaves one with the feeling; `they don't make `em like this anymore'!
on 16 January 2013
You don't need to be an American to enjoy this incredible portrayal of a larger than life, stranger than fiction biopic of a WW2 General aspiring for greatness whilst leaving a wake of controversy for his leaders to deal with. I'm not going to go into the plot because that is not what's important here, George C. Scott is what's important here in what's easily one of the greatest lead actor performances that I have ever seen. Scott is mesmerising and so I will say buy this just for that.
The screen play is co-written by Francis Ford Coppola and Based upon the two books "Patton: Ordeal and Triumph" by Ladislas Farago and "A Soldier's Story" by General Oman N. Bradley. And acted by George C. Scott. This paints the picture of the Patton that we all know.
From the initial speech to the "I had a dream last Night" recounting of the Napoleon campaign, this film holds your attention. Patton is larger than life, and George C. Scott is larger than life in this larger than life movie.
We follow Patton through his WWII carrier. The focus is on Patton more than the war. We can feel with him as he remembers his past lives and we feel as though we were there with him. This is emphasized by revisiting Zama where Roman Scipio Africanus defeated Hannibal. If you ever get a chance you need to look it up.
We know that very war is different but we learn from history, and Patton is history. By the way the film is just down right fun to watch.
on 16 March 2014
Ever controversial, but ever successful in Battle - that sums up General Patton. He never shrank from controversy, and was always bold and outspoken in his Life. The film does do justice to the overview of the man, but it cannot - even in its extended length - put across the whole story of a distinguished General.
His life and Military Roles are well described in a paperback called "General Patton:A Soldiers Life", which fills in the gaps in this film of a remarkable story. His effect on the Allied Command, and results in battle, were so broad and deep that no film would ever have the time to portray all of the story, but this attempt is a good one which should wet the appetite to go get the Paperback.
Sadly his fiery temperament was his downfall in the end after the War, but even that didn't detract from his place in History - you could argue it enhanced it. You might hate the fiery temperament of the man, but its very hard to detract from the abilities of Patton the General ..... unless your hatred of the man leads you into looking utterly stupid, by attacking Patton the General.
We all should be so lucky to leave such a legacy and place in history when we finally make the final journey after death.
on 19 May 2015
The movie itself is a masterpiece and Steelbook Edition very elegant so it was pity to discover that the Blu-Ray version (Region B/2) I have received was technically bad. It was giving a dark picture on the TV screen. I could not really enjoy the movie and I returned it back. Oslo, May 2015.