May 21

The Bridge on the River Kwai, starring William Holden and Alec Guinness ???

The best part of this movie is watching a bridge get blown up. Any movie that has bridges should eventually have those bridges blown up. This movie orients very loosely around the actual story of the building of several bridges over the Kwai River in Thailand by forced British and American war captives. It is true that the Japanese were modestly kind to their captors. It is not true that they allowed the British to essentially run the show. It is true that the bridge(s) were destroyed, but not by secret agents sent up the river; instead, it was aerial bombing which destroyed the bridges. It is true that the main theme song (Colonel Bogey march) was a war song, but it was a war song about Hitler, not about the Japs. This movie, as well as the effort to make it a classic soon after it was released for viewing, represents the brutal arrogance of the British. Included in the arrogance was the notion of officers defiantly refusing to work, but then NOT offering resistance to their captors. It made for a wonderful piece of literature regarding the value of integrity, but reflected on the dismal naiveté of a public who would actually swoon to that rhetoric. In actual fact, the leading colonel encouraged sabotage as much as was humanly possible, and for every attempt to escape as was possible. Most arrogant was the notion that the Japs were technical ignoramuses that required British leadership in order to do anything right, including, how to build a bridge. In actual fact, the Japanese were quite technologically capable of engineering feats without the help of British buffoons. All in all, the movie doesn’t deserve a 5-star rating, let alone the distinction of being a “classic”. The acting was good, the scenery (in Sri Lanka) was gorgeous, and the story line flowed well, saving the movie from a 1-star rating.

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One Response to “The Bridge On the River Kwai”

  1. Andrew says:

    You should have multiple ratings (e.g. 1 star for historicity, 4 for acting, etc.) for different features of flicks for these… Any historical fiction seems like it would score low on your list (for not being historical) when, in some cases, that wasn’t the point. Not that I necessarily disagree with the rating…

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