Patton is one of the single greatest works in movie history. This epic isn’t just a war movie. It’s a movie about a man and his impact on those around him and the entire world. It’s also about his own battle to come to terms with who he was. The dichotomy of who Patton was in this story is really what makes the near three hour run time so watchable. On one side, audiences see a man who is a trained killer. Even his own adversary notes near the story’s end notes that life without war would kill him, not a bullet. And even one fellow soldier notes to his face that he [Patton] does what he does not because he was trained to do it, but because he enjoyed it. Those are two very bold statements about Patton the soldier. The trained soldier is just one side of who Patton was. On another side of the stone, audiences see a man who has one of the biggest hearts in the world. He showed that as cold and calculated as he was on the battlefield, he still cared about the men who served under him. His problem was his inability to balance the two. It’s almost as if Patton felt the need to uphold a certain reputation. But at the same time, he knew that he had to show at least some humanity. One individual interviewed for the movie’s primary bonus feature, “History Through The Lens—A Rebel Revisited”, notes that what Patton is really about is the rise and fall of this almost mythical figure. That rise and fall involved his inability to balance his humanistic side with the expertly trained soldier.General Patton’s inability to balance the soldier and the man is a big part of what has led to discussions among audiences in the four plus decades since this biopic first debuted. That discussion is also raised in the film’s main bonus feature, which has also been brought over from the movie’s previous releases on DVD. And as famed writer/director Francis Ford Coppola notes in the movie’s preface, he really tried hard to make sure people would see that the movie wasn’t meant to generate political discussions, but discussions about the complexity of who Patton was. Speaking of Coppola, it’s interesting that he also notes to audiences of how he was originally fired from the film. Go figure, he was brought back, and his work with fellow writer Edmund H. North went on to make a movie that could easily be used as the basis for any doctoral dissertation or for conversations among true movie lovers.
Coppola and North are to be highly commended for this outstanding story of a man’s struggle to balance his duty as a leader of men with being a man with a heart. Their work is just one part of what makes this new Blu-ray re-issue a must for not just any film buff, but also for anyone who thirsts for movies with real substance.
The bonus features, which were carried over from the previous DVD releases, go into full depth showing how far the cast and crew went to making a movie that wasn’t just another movie “based on actual events.” Audiences have gotten far too many of those movies, even since Hollywood’s golden era. Yes, it’s been going on even that long. The interviews culled for the bonus features show how the people behind the camera went into painstaking detail about Patton’s time as one of the Army’s most influential and controversial figures. The main feature, “History Through The Lens: Patton – A Rebel Revisited” runs roughly ninety minutes. It compares Patton as he’s seen on screen, and the real life figure, going so far as to admit at first Patton’s family didn’t take too well at the thought of a bio pic based on his life originally. But when they saw the final product, his family appreciated the work that had been crafted. It’s a perfect feature both for any film buff or even any history class. While there are other features included on the newly re-issued set, this one alone more could have carried the movie and made it that much better. That’s not to say that the other features weren’t necessary. Quite the opposite. They were just the icing on the cake, so to speak. They just helped to put this already iconic movie over the top as not just one of the best movies of the twentieth century, but of all time. The new Patton Blu-ray re-issue is available in stores and online now. It can be ordered direct via 20th Century Fox’s online store, http://www.foxconnect.com.
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