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Tricia's retro film review: Patton



Patton is the 1970 war film about the life of General George S. Patton. He is a rough-hewn Army general who almost seems to glory in the act of war. This both endears and infuriates his fellow soldiers. He fights in North Africa during WWII. However, he defies orders during the invasion of Sicily, but isn’t punished until he accuses a shell-shocked solider of cowardice. He has to beg General Bradley to fight in France. Patton is able to fight in Bastogne and soon WWII is won. Although his post-war usefulness is in doubt.

Seeing as the movie was made during the height of the Vietnam War, it could have easily turned Patton into a warmongering caricature. Luckily, the director shows restraint and shows him as a three dimensional man who may have been born in the wrong century. The only real nasty moment is when he slaps a man with PTSD. (Although some sources say that he apologized later.) While it is a war movie, it is also a character study in that we get to really know Patton. The movie also does a good job of showing the nasty side of war while admitting that the Nazi’s had to be stopped. It is refreshing to see the truck miss Patton. Had it been a fictional film, the writer would have easily killed him off. In real life, people don’t conveniently die after their usefulness has ended. In fact, the last line, “glory is fleeting” would take an eerie significance as America would soon lose the Vietnam War. George C. Scott does a good job playing a glory hound who may be irritating at times, but can get the job done and play dirty. Honolulu war film fans should buy this movie.

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