Operation Market Garden, September 1944: The Allies attempt to capture several strategically important bridges in the Netherlands in the hope of breaking the German lines. However, mismanagement and poor planning result in its failure.
In the winter of 1944, the Allied Armies stand ready to invade Germany at the coming of a New Year. To prevent this occurrence, Hitler orders an all out offensive to re-take French territory and capture the major port city of Antwerp. "The Battle of the Bulge" shows this conflict from the perspective of an American intelligence officer as well as from a German Panzer Commander. Written by
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Frequently aired WWII actioner focuses on the Ardennes and the allies efforts to neutralise a Panzer battalion which must make a significant detour in order to re-fuel, presenting an opportunity for its destruction before an otherwise imminent push to overthrow France. Henry Fonda stars as a professional in uniform who whilst a passenger in a reconnaissance plane, opportunistically photographs a senior, relentless German officer (Shaw) whose been appointed to lead the ruthless Panzer campaign.
It's typical, almost jingoist WWII fodder, distinguished by a gold-plated cast that includes Dana Andrews, James MacArthur, Telly Savalas, Charles Bronson and Robert Ryan for the allies, and Ty Hardin, Werner Peters, Hans Christian-Blech and the inimitable Robert Shaw appearing for the enemy. Tragic Pier Angeli has a frivolous supporting role as Savalas' neglected romantic interest in one of her last studio pictures before her untimely death in 1971. Essentially, the leads star in their own 'strand' of the picture, with Fonda and Shaw providing the central personification of good versus evil.
Patriotic and clichéd, it's an epic near-three hour homage to the heroes of the Ardennes, dripping with Hollywood-styled sentimentality and while it's not especially gripping nor realistic to any extent, is always easy-viewing for at least an hour or so when it's re-run every year, if not more regularly.
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