Saturday, July 25, 2009

May 3rd, 2009 - Arnhem, NL

The title of the 1977 WWII movie, A Bridge Too Far, actually refers to the bridge over the River Nederrijn (Lower Rhine) in Arnhem, Netherlands. Specifically, the name comes from a comment made by British Lieutenant-General Frederick Browning to Field Marshal Montgomery, the operation's architect, "I think we may be going a bridge too far."
The film approximates the story, and ultimate failure, of Operation Market-Garden, the Allied attempt to break through German lines in September 1944. Despite (or maybe because of) a stellar cast including Dirk Bogarde, James Ca
an, Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Denholm Elliott, Elliott Gould, Edward Fox, Gene Hackman, Anthony Hopkins, Jeremy Kemp, Laurence Olivier, Robert Redford, Liv Ullmann, Maximilian Schell, Hardy Kr├╝ger and Ryan O'Neal the movie was a ho-hum performer at the box office.
An earlier (1946) movie, Theirs Is the Glory, covering
the same events, was cast mainly with people who had been involved in the operation and mixed newsreel footage from the actual battle with re-enactments shot on location in Arnhem. John Frost, the British airborne officer and first Allied combatant to arrive in Arnhem, was one of many who played himself in the earlier movie. A thoroughly despicable consequence of the operation's failure was the Hongerwinter (Hungerwinter). In retribution for Dutch railroad workers aiding the allies during the assault, Germany forbade food transportation into the region, utimately starving thousands of Dutch citizens to death.
Anyway, enough cheery banter; time
to winge on about Arnhem, 2009. At 114,000 population, one of the largest cities in the Netherlands, there did not appear to be a lot going on. Much history of course, was lost in WWII and, outside of a few run down churches and a collection of hideous sculptures, there is little to Ooh and Aah at. Slideshow here.
The post-war utilitarian bridge that replaced the one destroyed in the war, was renamed John Foster Bridge in 1978 although Foster modestly objected. Having seen the bridge he should perhaps, have been more assertive. Campsite Backstory, Arnhem Backstory.

1 comment:

Bean said...

Great posts, and the back story is wonderful. I can travel all of Europe right from my computer chair :)
Don't let too much time pass between updates.