1970 – Patton

What an asshole.

I have a hard time following war movies, but I did catch the drift that “Old Blood and Guts” was a tyrant.  General George S. Patton was a US first officer in World War I, but is most famous for his contribution to World War II.  Contributions included leading US troops in Africa and Europe, playing decoy while Normandy was stormed, breaking up the Battle of the Bulge, slapping a soldier and calling him a coward, showing seemingly little concern for losing men in battle, offending the Soviet Union, attempting to violently dominate every situation he encountered…  Coming from a long line of military men, Patton began studying military history as a child, graduated from the US Military Academy in 1909, became the youngest “Master of the Sword” in Army history, and designed the Model 1913 Cavalry Saber.  He’s a big deal in the world of war.

That being said, I didn’t particularly care for the story.  However, I was very curious why Patton wore such ridiculous pants.  Apparently, Patton required his men to wear metal helmets and lace-up leggings for protection: the tightness of the ugly canvas pants kept the scorpions and spiders from crawling up under the soldiers’ britches.  I see jodhpur pants in a new utilitarian light now.

Regarding the film itself, I was surprised to see a 1970 war movie that was not blatantly anti-war.  In fact, it painted a war hero in a very positive light in the end.  The Vietnam War was in full swing, and had been for 11 years.  So the making of the film occurred during the bulk of our time in Vietnam.  I assumed that those in the art world would have been on the side of the liberal peace movement.  Apparently that sentiment didn’t grow to include the Academy.

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