Tuesday, November 14, 2023

The Bridge on the River Kwai

On flight from Istanbul to San Francisco on the way home from our Israel/Egypt/Jordan trip, I watched the Bridge on the River Kwai. I got interested in watching the movie after reading the Oscar Wars book in June.

The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 epic war film directed by David Lean and based on the 1952 novel written by Pierre Boulle. Although the film uses the historical setting of the construction of the Burma Railway in 1942–1943, the plot and characters of Boulle's novel and the screenplay are almost entirely fictional.

The movie and the book deal with the plight of World War II British prisoners of war forced by the Imperial Japanese Army to build a bridge for the "Death Railway." The notorious Burma-Siam railway, built by prisoners of war, was a Japanese project driven by the need for improved communications to support the large Japanese army in Burma. During its construction, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway.

The cast includes: William Holden as "Commander" Shears, U.S. Navy (later Brevet Major, Force 316); Jack Hawkins as Major Warden, Force 316; Alec Guinness as Colonel Nicholson, British commander, and; Sessue Hayakawa as Colonel Saito, Japanese commander. Guiness portrayed Obi-Wan Kenobi in George Lucas's original Star Wars trilogy. In the original 1977 film, he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 50th Academy Awards.

It was the highest-grossing film of 1957 and received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics. The film won seven Academy Awards at the 30th Academy Awards, including: Best Picture; Best Director; Best Actor (Alec Guiness); Best Screenplay – Based on Material from Another Medium; Best Cinematography; Best Film Editing, and; Best Original Score. Sessue Hayakawa was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

Like Patton, I enjoyed the movie a lot more than I expected. I recommend the film.

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