Sunday, August 21, 2011

Movie Moments: #115


The Lost Battalion (2001)

This film, based on fact, was made in 1919, one year after the events took place.  It was remade as TV movie in 2001 and is worth getting hold of.  Some stores have it as a rental, otherwise check Amazon. The story:  in October 1918 in the closing weeks of WW1, units of the US 77th Infantry Division penetrated deep into the Argonne Forest in France.  The units are under the command of Major Charles Whittlesley, a lawyer in civilian life, are trapped in the forest and surrounded when forces on the flanks supposed to support the attack instead retreat.  The German soldiers repeatedly attack and eventually send in special German stormtroopers.  Notwithstanding a lack of food, water, ammunition and medical supplies, Whittlesley manages to repulse the attacks and survive the 5 day siege until reinforced.  Of the 361 men besieged, 197 were killed in action, 150 were missing or taken prisoner and 194 were rescued.  Think of this movie as Mel Gibson’s We Were Soldiers set in WW1.

See above.

Maj. Whittlesey: Don't sell them short, Captain. Two days ago we had a Chinese working our field-phone, an American-Indian for a runner; they're both dead now but that's not the point. These Italians, Irish, Jews, and Poles, they'd never hire me as an attorney; we wouldn't be seen at the same events. But we will never, in our lives, enjoy the company of finer soldiers or better men then we do tonight.
Capt. McMurtry:  Major, I was with Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders. And I have never served with a finer officer then you. Do you know that your men would do anything, go anywhere for you?


·       The rescue of the besieged battalion broke the German lines for good. 
·       Whittlesley and soldiers of the 77th portrayed themselves in the 1919 film.

Above:  Lieut Colonel Charles W Whittlesley

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