Warner Bros. Presents A
BATTLE OF THE BULGE
"The most intensely personal drama of men ever told"
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The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Contemporary Warner Bros. Press about the production,
The most intensely personal
drama of men ever told. Danish poster from Paramount / Warner Bros. 1966.
Warner Bros. Presents A
BATTLE OF THE BULGE
Turns the screen into the mightiest battleground ever as it hurls you
into the most extraordinary days og World War II. The most intensely
personal story of men ever told!
The British and American Armies were on the threshold of Victory.
Stretched across half of Europe the Allies gathered themselves for a
final assult on Germany. To the North stood Montgomery's Eights Army. To
the South, Patton's Third.
In the centre, along and 88 mile front, a few battle-weary American
Divisions rested in a quiet sector. To them the war seemed already won.
This is their story.
Along an 88-mile front in the Ardennes in December 1944, a few
battle-weary American divisions rest, thinking of Christ-mas, and
convinced their role in World War Two is virtually over. From
high-ranking officers downward, a feeling exists that they will soon be
on their way home. One officer, Lt-Col. Kiley of Intelligence, is
convinced however, that the Germans are planning a major
counter-offensive. On an air reconnaissance he photographs a German
officer in an open staff car, and investigation reveals that he is
Colonel Hessler, crack Panzer Commander with a record of distinguished
Hessler has been called in by General Kohler to command a vast attack
spearheaded by the new King Tiger Tanks. With these, Kohler hopes to cut
a bloody swathe through the Allied defences, head for Antwerp and
strangle the British and American supply lines.
The attack is mounted and the Americans are caught unprepared. Men and
tanks fall before the awesome onslaught of the Tigers who have
everything their own way, and lumber frighteningly onward towards the
town of Ambleve where the Americans have their H.Q. General Grey, in
command of the American Divisions, refuses to evacuate the town, telling
his men to dig in and fight, but Hessler lines his tanks up outside the
town and inflicts a cruel bombardment which reduces it to a ruin.
Eventually the Americans are forced to fall back, and Hessler and his
spearhead force their way onwards.
Kiley has been following the battle closely and realises that only one
thing can stop the Tigers—lack of fuel. Captured prisoners are carrying
lengths of rubber hosing which Kiley interprets as meaning that at every
opportunity the Germans are foraging for fuel and siphoning the precious
liquid from every knocked-out tank and vehicle which they come across.
General Grey, too, is convinced that fuel alone is the factor which can
spell defeat for the marauding tanks. He sends his Shermans into battle
with orders to create a wide front and so send the Tigers chasing across
the countryside using up fuel as they go.
Hessler realises the plan and leaves the battle to head for the Allied
supply dump which Grey has ordered to be blown up but which, unbeknown
to him, has been captured by German commando troops disguised as
Americans. These troops have already caused chaos behind the American
lines by disrupting communications and sabotaging supply routes.
Kiley is mortally wounded when his reconnaissance plane crashes near the
supply dump, but manages to warn a lone Sherman tank which arrives at
the dump that the "Americans" are really German. The Commandos are shot
down as Hessler and his tanks approach the dump. Desperately the
Americans roll drums of fuel into the path of the tanks and set fire to
them. With a mighty roar the fuel explodes and envelops the tanks in
flame. Hessler is killed and the complete contingent of Tigers is wiped
out. The onslaught of the German army is halted and victory for the
Allies is again in sight.
|More in 70mm reading:|
GIFF 70, 2022,
of the Bulge”: The North American 70mm Engagements
The music of BENJAMIN FRANKEL
Director in Todd-AO and Ultra Panavision 70.
Director in Todd-AO and Ultra Panavision 70.
Ken Annakin 90th Birthday
Cast and Credits
Annakin next to a Victoria 8 70mm projector in Pictureville cinema. Ken
Annakin was the Guests
of honour at the 2000 Widescreen Weekend in Bradford, UK, Film Director Ken Annakin. Picture by Thomas Hauerslev
In a personal letter from Ken Annakin to the editor, dated 22.
"Re the Bradford Wide Screen
Weekend 2000, I thought it was terrific. How wonderful to see the
movies one made for the cinema [on a CINERAMA screen], instead of
all the little multiplex houses, video or cable! As I looked at many
of the scenes in "Battle of the Bulge" the thought passed through my
mind - how the hell did we set up that scene with all its tanks and
Henry Fonda as Lt. Col. Kiley. Robert Shaw af Col. Hessler. Robert Ryan
as Gen. Greay. Dana Andrews as Col. Pritchard. George Montgomery as Sgt.
Duquesne. Ty Hardin as Schumacher. Pier Angeli as Louise. Barbara Werle
as Elena. Charles Bronson as Wolenski. Hans Christian Blech as Conrad.
James Macarthur as Lt. Weaver and Telly Savalas as Guffy.
Produced by Milton Sperling and Philip Yordan; Directed by Ken Annakin;
Written by Philip Yordan, Milton Sperling, John Melson; Director of
Photography Jack Hildyard, B.S.C.; Art Direction Eugene Lourie;
Supervising Editor Derek Parsons; Sound Editor Kurt Herrnfeld, M.P.S.E.,
Sound Recordists David Hildyard, Gordon McCallum; Chief Special Effects
Alex Weldon; Costume Design Laure De Zarate; Dialogue Coach Janet
Brandt; Production Supervisor Bernard Glasser; Unit Manager Leon
Chooluck ; Music Composed and Conducted by Benjamin Frankel; And played
by the New Philharmonic Orchestra; Production Managers Tibor Reyes,
Gregorio Sacristan; Post Production Exec. L. A. Sansom; Production
Co-ordinator Lou Brandt; Script Supervisors Joy Mercer, Marie Wachsman;
2nd Unit Photography John Cabrera; Aerial Photography Jack Willoughby;
Assistant Directors Jose Lopez Rodero, Martin Sacristan, Luis Garcia; A
Sidney Harmon in Association with United States Pictures Inc.
Production; Ultra Panavision (R); Technicolor (R); From Warner Bros.
Released through Warner-Pathe.
"Smashingly spectacular ... this war adventure is a real gripper"
Dick Richards, Daily Mirror
"This is a film to see ... One of the most spectacular I have ever
Leonard Mosley, Daily Express
"This is stunning film"
Robert Ottaway, Daily Sketch
For the first time, a full-scale war
adventure is presented in Cinerama with all this medium's extraordinary
audience participation effects. The "Battle of the Bulge" is a
dramatic re-telling of one of the great moments of World War II when the
Allies were faced with a German surprise break-through of incalculable
ferocity—an engagement that could easily have turned the tides of war
and of history.
The Ardennes attack was Hitler's idea. Three German armies of 250,000
men supported by 1,900 pieces of heavy artillery were assembled against
an American front of 75,000 men stretched thinly over 85 miles. Hitler
said to his generals: "The battle must be fought with brutality and
all resistance must be broken in a wave of terror."
This, then, is "Battle of the Bulge," filmed in Europe under the
same kind of conditions that characterized the Ardennes Forest encounter
which began on Dec. 16, 1944. Heading the cast of 25 principals are
Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Robert Ryan, Dana Andrews, James MacArthur,
George Montgomery, Telly Savalas, Ty Hardin, Charles Bronson and Steve
Rowland, Hans Christian Blech, Werner Peters and Karl Alberty, plus two
delightful girls—Pier Angeli of Italy and Barbara Werle of America.
Ken Annakin directed "Battle of the Bulge," as a challenge. With
boldness and confidence, he put the astonishing adventure of man and
machine on the gigantic Cinerama screen. He personally directed the
British sequences of "The Longest Day."
Technical advice for the German army aspects of "Battle of the Bulge"
came from General Meinrad von Lauchert, retired, who commanded a German
tank division during the actual battle and who was able to relive the
terror and awfulness of that engagement as it was replayed on the
screen. His opposite advisory number for the American Army action was
Col. Sherman Joffe, who served in the U. S. infantry during World War
II. Major Edward King, of the U. S. Tank Corps in Europe, supervised the
hair-raising tank battle between the German Tigers and the American
Visually, aurally and emotionally, "Battle of the Bulge" is a
memorable experience. With the Cinerama participation effects, viewers
will almost feel the shock as giant 90mm. guns cut a swathe through the
woods, snapping trees like matchsticks. Panzer divisions move forward,
amid the bursting of grenades and splattering of machine guns. Trees,
rocks and men are swept away in the frightening devastation. Monstrous
siege cannon blast blockhouses. A running river of fire envelopes an armored column in a blazing holocaust. A Belgian village is wiped out by
cannons belching smoke and fire. Looming up like iron dinosaurs, Tiger
tanks roll over soldiers and camera, obliterating the screen.
A Cinerama camera was mounted on a 90mm. tank cannon to catch the full
participation effect of one of the big battlefield engagements,
360-degree sweep, catching the impact from every angle.
Alex Weldon, a Spain-transplanted Californian, was in charge of a crew
of 30 special effects men who accomplished incredible acts of
destruction by blowing up tanks, mowing down trees and men, annihilating
villages, and, of course, producing snow, fog and wind to order.
Under the sharp-eyed supervision of Eugene Lourie, art director, the
Belgian village of Ambleve was constructed at a cost of a quarter of a
million dollars. Lourie believes it is the first such exterior set ever
built to the precise dimensions of the Cinerama frame.
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