Rewatching Currahee And Day Of Days 2003 reflections
Posted 12 September 2003 - 10:55 PM
Member No.: 25
Joined: 30-March 02
appell8 - 4/8/02 8:56PM PDT (211 of 229)
A few comments on my second time through eps 1 and 2. In the bayonet drills, they show Randleman vs. Perconte. Foreshadowing.
The exercise where Sobel screws up the map reading, and is conned into cutting the fence, is a classic "assault upon a T intersection." We will see another of these in the near future. Foreshadowing.
Will someone remind me of what got Hall? On screen, it acted like a booby trap, but there was no time to set one. A grenade?
This time around, I picked up on much more of the random lines in the GI banter. Shifty Powers offers a dutiful defense of an officer at some point. Seems right for a rural Virginia boy to respect authority.
And here's an entry for movie trivia. In the sergeants' resignation scene -- a mutiny -- Sgt. Martin is played by Dexter Fletcher. As a young actor, Fletcher was one of the mutineers in "Mutiny on the Bounty" with Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson. Indeed, Fletcher is the one holding a pistol on Bligh. How many actors can claim a two-mutiny track record?
I loved the training bazooka firing the first time, and it's cool every time I see it.
The soundtrack this time has settled into that portion of the brain that Pavlov charted.
I wasn't quite sure what to make of Wild Bill the first time around. Now I know. The script gives Frank John Hughes lines and scenes that actors would kill for, and he nails each one. He also acts with his energy and motion, convincingly.
First time around, I wondered how a grenade could spike a gun. This time I caught that the potato masher simply fired off the TNT charges.
Simply great to understand so much more this time.
Man, I love this series. y.o.s., Doug
appell8 - 4/8/02 9:33PM PDT (212 of 229)
Others have expressed this thought, but what struck me this time, on watching Winters give a hand up to his men and look them in the eye as they boarded the C-47: he was giving them Communion. Not a big leap from Winters to a clergyman.
Even though, as Wild Bill says, "He ain't Catholic."
Posted 12 September 2003 - 10:57 PM
I'm hoping our newer members will use the opportunity to engage on some of the same issues.
I just finished rewatching Eps 1 and 2. Many new impressions. Here's just a sample.
In ep. 1, at some point, someone swats Perconte in the back of his helmet. Just like Bull swats him, at Luz's behest, in Ep. 9. Prefiguring.
Ep. 1: in the jumpwing celebration, Luz is tending bar and handing stuff out. As he does in Ep. 8. Perconte and Luz become a comedy team in the "Major Horton" deception. A team that surfaces later several times, especially including Ep. 9.
Ep. 2: The action at Brecourt Manor works so much better for me with Tom's schematics close at hand. With minor exceptions, IT WORKS!! Congrats, Tom.
Ep. 2, St. Marie du Mont. When Major Winters goes off by himself to mourn Hall and absorb the day's events, the voiceover speaks of his promise to God. On the way up to the point where he is watching the AA fire, and speaks of that promise, he passes a WWI memorial cross [the same one where Forrest Guth posed in the famous photo]. He also passes a telephone pole with two cross pieces that looks very much like the Cross of Lorraine. A lot of thought went into the design of that shot.
I watched again to see if I could support my theory that the officer whom Major Winters was reporting to after Brecourt was General Maxwell Taylor. I still think so. While the resolution on my TV was too fuzzy to make out the stars, there were clearly two silver somethings on the collar where the rank would be. Then-Major Strayer was walking behind deferentially. The only rank that has TWO silver somethings that is higher than a major is [not Lt Col., not full Col., not Brigadier General} . . . a Major General, which General Taylor was.
There is an historical basis for Nix and the tanks. The fight at Brecourt resumed later in the day, as did the fight for St. Marie du Mont. Lt. Nixon went down to Utah Beach, where he personally cajoled Gen. Roosevelt for the two tanks to support E Company (or so Major Winters says on the BoB Tour tape.) That kind of initiative was part of the chemistry that endeared Nix to Major Winters.
Anyone else want to play?
CORRECTION: Scratch the General Taylor theory. Just rewatched, and Lt. Winters was reporting to a Captain, probably Hester. I guess Strayer was hanging back to permit a chain-of-command report, while staying close enought to hear everything. Never mind.
This post has been edited by appell8: 12 September 2003 - 11:29 PM
Posted 12 September 2003 - 11:04 PM
BAND OF BROTHERS SCORECARD
FOR NEW VIEWERS OF THE SERIES
INTRODUCED IN FIRST TWO EPISODES (Actors’ names in parens):
EASY COMPANY: The true protagonist of the series. The series starts with training camp at Toccoa, Georgia, below a looming Mount Currahee. Easy was in the second battalion (of three) of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (“P.I.R.”). The 506th P.I.R., commanded by Colonel Robert Sink, was one of 4 regiments in the 101st Division (commanded by Gen. Maxwell Taylor). Each regiment used a different playing card symbol; hence the spade outlines on Easy’s helmets. Some of the original Toccoa members of Easy make it through the war. Others are wounded and come back. Some of the characters join Easy along the way.
MAJ. RICHARD WINTERS (Damian Lewis): Second to the Company itself, the series’ protagonist. Easy Company Commanding Officer in episodes 2-5, then promoted to higher rank at 2nd battalion, but still present in Easy’s life. By all historical accounts, including the testimony of all who served with him, a superlative infantry officer, leader, and human being. Also a man who seldom lets down his guard. Superbly portrayed by Damian Lewis, who projects duty, restraint and judgment with every pore. As the series progresses, we see a subtle shift in the way Winters balances his various duties: to the war effort, to military protocol, to his men, to honor, and to justice. We see the real Dick Winters in the prologue scenes.
CAPT. LEWIS NIXON (Ron Livingston): Starts in Easy, but is quickly promoted to higher staff intelligence positions. Privileged background. Wealthy parents, sophisticated international bringing up, Yale. By all accounts, brilliant and an alcoholic. In the production, and historically, has a charming odd-couple chemistry with the teetotalling, straight-laced Winters. Livingston is given, and/or adlibs or steals, some priceless scenes of wry humor, and occasionally broad humor, and is exhibit A for the virtues of underplaying a scene. Livingston also plays Nixon as a bit detached and ironic – or maybe just hungover. Nixon has the spotlight in Episode 9, which explores his individual dark side, in counterpoint to the dark side of the German people. Livingston was cast, in part, because of some uncanny similarities to the real Nixon, including a close physical resemblance and Yale, where he studied military history.
SGT. BILL GUARNERE (Frank John Hughes): “Wild Bill” Guarnere, from South Philly, was the real-life embodiment of what became a cliché of WWII movies: the edgy, wisecracking, inner-city ethnic tough guy who comes through in the clinch and has a heart of gold. Wild Bill is the real deal. Just before Normandy, he learns that his brother was killed at Monte Cassino, so fights with a revenge-fueled ferocity. Later, exemplifies the watch-out-for-your-buddy-at-all-costs ethic. Largely responsible for keeping the Easy vets in touch with each other after the war. Another Easy vet from South Philly, Edward “Babe” Heffron (Robin Laing), becomes Wild Bill’s lifelong buddy. Frank John Hughes brilliantly recreates Wild Bill. As the real Wild Bill said in an interview, “Jeez, my grandkids say ‘he’s more you than you, Gramps.’”
FIRST SGT./LT. CARWOOD LIPTON (Donnie Wahlberg): We see the real Carwood Lipton in the prologues: endlessly earnest and courtly, with his native West Virginia accent. One of the original Toccoa veterans, and a model of integrity and responsibility to his men. Lipton is the focus of Episode 7, one of the best of all the episodes. There, and elsewhere, Wahlberg does an excellent job of portraying the tensions within a naturally diffident noncom, whose instinct is to obey military protocol, but who has a higher duty to protect his men from bad leadership. The scenes where Lipton/Wahlberg attempts to broach delicate command issues with Winters/Lewis are brilliantly realized snapshots of the essence of each man. The real Carwood Lipton died this past December, having had a chance to be celebrated by the production and by the reaction to its original airing.
LT./CAPT. RONALD SPEIRS (Matthew Settle): Historically, a superb combat commander, but a figure of some mystery and controversy. The series plays up both aspects of his character, to great dramatic –and even comic -- effect. Some reviewers have focused on the portrayal of Speirs as a strength of the series, realistically and allegorically capturing in one individual heroic leadership values, a hairtrigger forcefulness in noncombat situations, and a reputation for ruthlessness. Wholly admirable as a combat leader, he made his men nervous during downtime, perhaps because he used his reputation for fearsomeness as a tool of leadership, perhaps because he was truly fearsome. John Wayne with a dark side, as in “The Searchers.” Matthew Settle ably projects the man’s military bearing, power and spookiness. Has prominent roles in Episodes 2, 9, 10, and especially 7.
CPL JOSEPH LIEBGOTT (Ross McCall): Jewish and German-speaking cabbie from San Francisco, he goes into the war with a hatred for Germans. Winters feels he has to take measures to prevent Liebgott from summarily killing German prisoners. Has a pivotal scene in Episode 9 that sets up another in Episode 10.
MEDIC EUGENE (“DOC”) ROE (Shane Taylor): The historical Doc Roe was popular with the men of Easy for being thoroughly dedicated to his work, notwithstanding the danger to him. We see Doc Roe throughout the series, and he is featured in Episode 6, which provides some – rare in this series -- behind-the-lines context, and some soulful acting by Shane Taylor. As we learn in that episode, Doc Roe is a Louisiana Cajun. For some viewers, this will trigger flashbacks to “Caje,” a prominent soldier in Sgt. Saunders’s squad in the 60’s “Combat” TV series.
PFC DAVID KENYON WEBSTER (Eion Bailey): Historically, Webster was self-consciously intellectual, a Harvard student who had minimal regard for the US Army, who refused to volunteer and who turned down promotions. Webster was a gifted observer and writer, and Ambrose drew heavily upon Webster’s sharply drawn depictions of the men of Easy. Webster was ambivalent about the other men and they about him. At times, he was one of the guys; at others he held himself apart. The series highlights that ambivalence in Ep. 8, which focuses on Webster’s relationship with the rest of the “Band,” and features some cryptic scenes that resist unraveling. At the end of Ep 8, a voiceover quotes a powerful passage from a real Webster letter home. Webster is also given prominent lines and scenes in Eps. 4, 9, and 10.
SGT. DON MALARKEY (Scott Grimes): The series uses Malark as the physical read-out of accumulated battle stress. In the early episodes, he’s notably innocent, one of the bantering, skylarking GI’s. In Ep. 8 he conveys the difference several months of infantry combat can make. The real Sgt. Malarkey is distinguishable in the prologues for his mane of wavy white hair.
SGT. DENVER (“BULL”) RANDLEMAN (Michael Cudlitz): Historically, a conscientious platoon sergeant who had the rare distinction of surviving at least one bayonet fight. In the series, stands out because of his size, and the cigar he chomps. The series emphasizes his good humor and the bond with his men. Featured in Ep. 4.
TECH SGT. GEORGE LUZ (Rick Gomez): Historically, a gifted mimic, as we learn in Ep 1. The series turns to Luz often for comic relief, which Gomez delightfully delivers. He is given some delicious scenes in episode 9.
CPL. DARRELL (“SHIFTY”) POWERS (Peter Youngblood Hills): Historically, from the mountains of rural western Virginia, a hunter, and the best shot in the Company. The series refers to those characteristics several times, especially in a scene in Ep. 7 and another in Ep. 10. We see him in the real-vet prologue scenes.
SGT. FRANK PERCONTE (James Madio): the series casts him as an everyman, and he plays effectively in a number of light GI banter scenes, especially with Luz. Has a memorable scene in Ep. 9. Had a reputation for fastidiousness, which the series marks with a number of toothbrushing scenes.
LT. HARRY WELSH (Rich Warden): Comes to Easy after the Army rewards his stint as a scrappy enlisted man in the 82nd Airborne Div. by sending him to Officer’s Candidate School. Winters recognizes in Welsh a kindred “follow me” officers ethic, and they becomes close friends.
LT. BUCK COMPTON (Neal McDonough): Historically, a successful college jock. The series portrays him as a good platoon leader, but too close to his men, treating them more as teammates or fraternity brothers than subordinates. McDonough’s white/blond hair makes him stand out whenever his helmet is off.
COLONEL ROBERT SINK (Dale Dye): Historically, the West Pointer who created and trained the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment and commanded it until the end of the war. In the series, we see Sink mostly when promotions and other personnel decisions have to be made. Dale Dye, a Marine captain in Vietnam, has made a career out of providing technical assistance to military films, and occasionally acting in them.
CAPTAIN HERBERT SOBEL (David Schwimmer): Historically, is remembered almost exactly as he is played in the series. During the course of the series we see the Army make good and bad decisions in choosing leaders. The Sobel character represents both, but ultimately an instance where the Army got it right before men died. Someday, someone in a class in film studies is going to write a term paper comparing and contrasting the portrayal of petty tyrants in the movies, and Sobel will be included with Bligh, Queeg, and the company commander in “From Here to Eternity.” David Schwimmer is mostly effective in a role that is a stretch for him.
This post has been edited by appell8: 15 April 2008 - 11:40 PM
Posted 13 September 2003 - 10:34 AM
Nice! Very nice! I'm glad you're reopening the discussions. Sean and I will be restarting the series for the 16th time, and it will be good to have other people's perspectives and questions to view it through.
And yes, Gold, I do believe Liebgott was just a corporal. :D
Posted 17 September 2003 - 11:12 PM
And that nod sets up the later scene where Lt. Winters mourns the fallen Hall.
Hall shows up at Brecourt in the company of Captain Hester, who apparently had been ordered by Strayer to check and see what was going on at Brecourt. Hester reports back with the request for ammo. Hall and his TNT stay.
Posted 17 September 2003 - 11:16 PM
Posted 18 September 2003 - 06:12 AM
Thank you very much, Doug! Just reading all of your info has gotten me jazzed up to start watching the series again. I believe this Saturday evening I'll get the DVD a spinning; I'll have to get my Mom and Dad over to partake in at least the first two episodes.
On another note, my wife came home the other day from work; she had a really bad day and was feeling mentally exasperated; I told her it was time to watch BoB again. I told her she needed a reminder of just how small her problems were!
Posted 18 September 2003 - 06:18 AM
Yes - I have considered adding this to my schematics and taking the place of the final slide; the tanks were brought in to clear the hedges/treelines, where the MG42 nests were located, opposite the guns.
Posted 06 January 2004 - 12:48 PM
Posted 06 January 2004 - 04:00 PM
TomC, on Jan 6 2004, 01:56 PM, said:
Paratroopers, commandos, and Rangers often trained on enemy equipment, as they might have to use it in some of their more daring operations.
I don't know if Easy did that.