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Patton (1970) Poster

(1970)

Trivia

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The movie begins without showing the 20th Century Fox logo, or any other indication that the film is starting. At military bases across the U.S., theater owners reported that soldiers in the audience would often stand up and snap to attention when they heard the movie's opening line ("Ten-hut!"), assuming it to be a real call to attention.
In reality, at the time he hit the wounded soldier, George S. Patton had been without sleep for nearly 48 hours and after hitting him, returned a couple of hours later and apologized.
The ivory-handled revolvers George C. Scott wears in the opening speech were actually Patton's bona-fide revolvers
According to his co-star Karl Malden, George C. Scott caused a shooting delay by immersing himself in a ping-pong tournament against a world-champion table-tennis player. Scott (who was in full costume and makeup) kept losing to the champ; yet he was determined to win at least one set, even if they had to stand there playing the entire night.
Initially, George C. Scott refused to film the famous speech in front of the American Flag when he learned that the speech was going to come at the opening of the film. He felt that if they put that scene at the beginning, then the rest of his performance would not live up to that scene. So director Franklin J. Schaffner lied to Scott and told him that the scene would be put at the end of the film.
The scene where General Lucien K. Truscott tells George S. Patton "You're an old athlete yourself General, you know matches are sometimes postponed" refers to the fact that Patton actually had represented the U.S.A. at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm by competing in the Modern Pentathlon. Patton finished a credible fifth in the competition. Remarkably it was the shooting element that let him down. In true Patton style he used his military .38 revolver instead of the lighter .22 favored by most of the athletes. Patton was also an expert fencer. He re-wrote the U.S. Army's manuals on swordsmanship removing the 'parry.' His idea was for all attack. Defence just wasted energy. Such was his mastery of swordsmanship that he designed the last saber ever to be worn into battle as a weapon, the M1913 Cavalry Saber, commonly known as the "Patton Saber".
Producer Frank McCarthy was a retired brigadier general who served on the staff of Gen. George C. Marshall during World War II; he worked for 20 years to make a film about George S. Patton.
John Wayne eagerly sought the role of General George S. Patton but was turned down by the producer.
Many of the quotes from the opening speech are real quotes from George S. Patton. However, not all of them were said at one time; rather, the speech is an assemblage of Patton moments.
George C. Scott won the Academy Award for best actor and famously refused to accept it, claiming that competition between actors was unfair and a "meat parade".
Part of the film was filmed at a Over Peover in Cheshire. This was the actual location that Dwight D. Eisenhower and George S. Patton would meet (specifically at the pub, the Bells of Peover). The pub is still there, and flies both the Union Flag and the Stars and Stripes outside to commemorate its part in history.
This was one of President Richard Nixon's favorite films. He had his own print, and would often watch it in the White House, particularly before having to make an important military decisions in Vietnam and Cambodia.
Soldiers who served under the real George S. Patton said that the general's voice was surprisingly high-pitched. This can be heard in actual films and recordings of him. Patton himself said that he used profanity so liberally in order to compensate for this.
George C. Scott felt he hadn't really captured the full character of Patton. He would apologize to director Franklin J. Schaffner on the set for not fully realizing the complexity of the man.
Nearly half the budget was spent on soldiers and equipment rented from the Spanish army.
The scene where George S. Patton tells General Truscott that he did serve with Napoléon Bonaparte is in reference to a poem which Patton wrote titled, "Through a Glass Darkly". In the poem, Patton talks about vague memories of six separate past lives, from caveman, to Ancient Roman, to Napoleonic Frenchman, and being a soldier in each and every life.
Patton's famous opening speech is subtly implied to take place after the main body of the film. At the time of his speech, he was a 4-star general, as evidenced by his helmet. When Patton first arrives in North Africa at the beginning of the film, he is just receiving his promotion to 3-star general, which he remains until the celebration of Germany's surrender. Both Patton's promotion to 4-star general and opening speech must have taken place between his relief of Bastogne and the celebration (the speech is motivational, and wouldn't be given after the war was already over).
At the end of the film the monologue Patton gives about an ancient Roman triumph was lifted by Coppola from a 1962 book by Robert Payne called "The Roman Triumph." This is from the very first paragraph: "For over a thousand years Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of a triumph. In the procession came trumpeters and musicians and strange animals from the conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conqueror rode in a triumphal chariot, and the dazed prisoners walked in front of him. Sometimes his children, robed in white, stood with him in the chariot, or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror, holding a golden crown over his head, and whispering in his ear a warning that all glory is fleeting."
Some of the stock actual war footage was shot by future director Russ Meyer, who was a combat cameraman in the U.S. Army's Signal Corps during World War II, from 19 July, 1944 on.
George S. Patton's line about wanting to "lead a lot of men in a desperate battle" was actually written in a letter to his brother-in-law on the ship crossing the Atlantic on the way to North Africa.
The German planes are a Spanish version of the Heinkel He 111, built under license by CASA. These are the same planes as featured in the film The Battle of Britain. Ironically, these Heinkels are powered by British made Rolls Royce Merlin engines, the same engines that powered Spitfires and Hurricanes against the German Luftwaffe during World War II.
Francis Ford Coppola says in the DVD commentary that he wrote a draft screenplay in 1966 and was fired from the film, in large part because Fox objected to opening the movie with Patton's speech. When the film finally went into production, Coppola's draft was dusted off and most of it used in the final film.
The opening speech, which was shot last, was originally intended to be at the beginning of the second half (after the intermission).
Parts of the speech at the beginning were inspired by a real speech George S. Patton gave before the 3rd Army finally landed in Normandy in late June and early July 1944. The parts of the speech used are watered-down versions of what Patton actually said.
Paul Frees dubbed the voice of the Morrocan Minister, and can also be heard at least three other times: As the voice of one of Patton's staff members, once during the press interview soon after the soldier slapping scene, and again near the end of the film, when a reporter interviewing General George S. Patton (who is riding his horse around an indoor track) leads him on by asking the General about similarities between the Nazi party in Germany and the Republican and Democrat parties in the United States.
The invasion of Sicily via Syracuse that George S. Patton describes being executed by Alcibiades was an embarrassing defeat for the Athenians and Alcibiades was condemned as a traitor.
While the film makers apparently went to great lengths to use actors who look a lot like their real-life counterparts, Karl Michael Vogler, who plays Erwin Rommel, bears only a passing resemblance to the actual man.
First PG-rated film to win Best Picture.
John Huston, Henry Hathaway and Fred Zinnemann each declined to direct the film. William Wyler agreed to direct, but differed with George C. Scott over the script and left for another film.
Somewhat perversely, Patton (1970) was re-released in early 1971 following the announcement of Oscar nominations on a double bill with a very different war film, also from 20th Century Fox and a Oscar nominee for best picture: MASH (1970).
Karl Malden was 15 years older than George C. Scott . In reality General Bradley was seven years younger than Patton.
Rod Steiger, Lee Marvin, Robert Mitchum and Burt Lancaster all turned down the lead role.
This film was originally titled "Patton: Salute to a Rebel" and pre-release promotional material carried that title. The title was changed just prior to general release.
The film features at least one person who worked on all 3 filmed versions of 12 Angry Men. Director Franklin J. Schaffner directed Studio One in Hollywood: Twelve Angry Men (1954), Edward Binns played a juror in the iconic 12 Angry Men (1957), and George C. Scott played a juror in 12 Angry Men (1997).
This was the second, and last, film to be produced in the Dimension 150 process.
Although Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North are credited as co-writers, they never worked together and actually never even met each other until they were collecting their awards.
Rod Steiger had first turned down the role, later admitting that was a big mistake.
The American, British and German tanks in the film are portrayed by postwar M47 and M48 Patton tanks.
Perhaps taking revenge on Patton in fantasy, there was a war-time rumor about Patton visiting a hospital and chewing out one patient for not coming to attention. The patient replied: "Run along, asshole. I'm in the Merchant Marine." It's reported in Paul Fussell's book "Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War."
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Actor Trademark 

Karl Malden:  [name]  After General Omar Bradley loses his helmet when his jeep is blown up by German artillery, he says to his driver, "Give me that helmet, Sekulovich!" This is part of Malden's insistence that there always be a character named Sekulovich in his films, in reference to his own birth name, Mladen Sekulovich.

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