Arrogant.  Brash.  Overconfident.  Loud.  Swaggering.  Victorious.  These are the qualities of memorable generals; and certainly they can be found in George S. Patton, whose fame was at its height during World War II.

“Patton” gives us an account of the man’s low and high points during the second World War.  George C. Scott, who plays Patton, gives a great performance; his voice gravelly and loud, his face fearsome even when he smiles, and oh, that self-important swagger that would shame a Peacock!  Of course, a man like Patton will ruffle lots of feathers.  Indeed, his big mouth is sometimes his biggest enemy, sidelining him at times during the war in order to smooth things over with our British allies, specifically General Montgomery (“Monty”), who is Patton’s rival when it comes to kicking German and Italian asses and acquiring glory.   But a brilliant warrior such as Patton isn’t kept in the penalty box for too long; and soon “Old Blood and Guts” is unleashed upon the Germans in order to bring forth quick and decisive victories.

“Patton” was made in 1970, which means there are no hard cursing and the carnage of battle is kept to a minimum.  But it shows enough to let anyone not want to participate in war if they can avoid it.  For its time, though, it was considered graphic.  There are at least 2 bodies I can remember that had missing limbs; a few smoking/charred bodies; and one body whose midsection was torn up.  They were enough to raise my eyebrows as I saw them, for I didn’t expect to see such things in a war movie made in that year.

My most memorable “Patton” moment is the opening sequence.   The American flag fills the screen, and Patton walks into the frame, ready to address his men.  He is in full dress uniform, ribbons and citations prominently displayed; and the weight of his medals tug at his jacket.  He begins his speech with, “…no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country.  He won it by making the other, poor, dumb bastard die for his country.”   Simple, practical, true; hardcore.   Patton.

M

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