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  #1  
Old 07 May 12, 11:35
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Thumbs up The Bridge On The River Kwai...

Just watched it this Bank Holiday Monday and saw that the credits said the consultants on the building of the bridge for the film were from Sheffield... not many people know that!

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  #2  
Old 07 May 12, 11:48
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Interesting!

I read in Jim Hornfischer's "Ship of Ghosts" that a number of prisoners remarked that the film was misleading in that it gave the impression British engineering expertise was required to build the bridge properly. The prisoners said the Japanese had perfectly competent engineers capable of designing the bridge without outside know-how.
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  #3  
Old 07 May 12, 12:07
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While the Japanese had the necessary engineering skills, I doubt their human management skills were on par. The Japanese were trying to get heavy physical labor out of sickly prisoners of war they could not adequately feed. I read the book many years ago and that might have been patterned on the script. I would guess the author used literary license to build a bit of drama by insinuating that the IJA Engineering Lieutenant could not do the job.

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  #4  
Old 07 May 12, 19:45
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lodestar on Kwai bridge (jaw-dropping)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
While the Japanese had the necessary engineering skills, I doubt their human management skills were on par. The Japanese were trying to get heavy physical labor out of sickly prisoners of war they could not adequately feed. I read the book many years ago and that might have been patterned on the script. I would guess the author used literary license to build a bit of drama by insinuating that the IJA Engineering Lieutenant could not do the job.

Pruitt
Oh this reminds me of my post of a few weeks ago regarding whether people were 'Dad's Army' or 'Hogan's Heroes' fans?

It began (brilliantly as always):

"Ah yes, those oh so important questions regarding the Yanks and Brits in WWII, about which was the best or most appealing …...
Let’s see there’s:"

. ‘Glad you blokes finally turned up’ or ‘Hey fellas, we’re here to save you guy’s asses just like in WW One!’?

. Spitfire or Mustang?

. Vickers heavy machinegun or .50 Cal heavy machinegun?

. Sherman tank or Churchill tank

. Lancaster or B17?

. Lee Enfield .303 or Garand?

. C Rations or Bully Beef?"

.......................................
I then pointed out:


". ‘The Naked and the Dead’ and ‘From Here to Eternity’ or …..??? Hey now there’s a point.
Why, with the central position WWII occupies in post 1945 British national mindset were British writers unable to produce a great WW2 ‘British Army’ novel??

You can’t count ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’ as it was written by a Frenchman for Pete’s sake, the central, supposedly quintessentially ‘British’ character, Colonel Nicolson was based on French colonial service officers co-operating with the Japanese in Vichy Indo-China and the story itself is of course in a thinly disguised metaphor about the dilemmas, moral nuances, complexities and complications of collaboration and resistance in occupied France!

But I digress (a lodestar digression, however as we all know, is often more interesting than many people’s entire lives)."

lodestar was called a man with no honour, no courage, no integrity and no honesty. To which he replied: "Hey, you forgot to add no moral compass!! How could you miss that one?"
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  #5  
Old 07 May 12, 22:49
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Lodestar,

Maybe they were just being polite to not mention the moral compass?

It is curious if a French author was using French characters. I thought the Japanese did not take over Indochina until 1945, well after the bridges in Siam were built?

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Old 08 May 12, 02:16
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The author of that book spent most of the war as a prisoner of the Vichy or the Japanese.

The Japanese engineers might have been reasonably competent, but good men were hard to find in 1943, in any profession. They were also working from US books on building wooden RR bridges. This was another unnecessary burden on the whole enterprise, since Japanese trains were lighter.
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Old 08 May 12, 02:48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
Lodestar,

Maybe they were just being polite to not mention the moral compass?

It is curious if a French author was using French characters. I thought the Japanese did not take over Indochina until 1945, well after the bridges in Siam were built?

Pruitt
Boulle wrote the book (WHICH IS FICTION!!) after the war and it was published in 1952 in France and two years later in the UK. He simply based the Colonel Nicholson central character on French colonial officers he knew had collaborated with the Japanese when Boulle himself was a prisoner.

There was considerable controversy in the UK (but not in France so far as I know) when the book and later the very famous film came out over the Nicholson character with former Commonwealth POW’s very upset at the premise of the film.
The basic premise of the film (which, I can remember myself from the many re-screenings it had in the mid to late 60’s many people just didn’t get) is that Nicholson is too ‘good’ an officer to see that by trying to lift and maintain battalion morale by instructing the POW’s in his charge to build an excellent (‘English’ standard) bridge for the Japanese Army he is in fact committing something approaching treason as of course the fiendish Orientals are going to use the completed bridge to take Japanese troops to battles where they can kill other Commonwealth troops!
Simple and brilliant!

Some people still don’t get the bloody thing!
As I said before the story itself is of course in a thinly disguised metaphor about the dilemmas, moral nuances, complexities and complications of collaboration and resistance in occupied France!

Collaboration was in the 50’s and is still now a touchy subject in France and I guess he figured he could explore it’s various aspects via a novel set outside France with non-French characters but with obvious (too at least half intelligent members of the French reading public) references to the whole issue.

Had to explain it in my senior high school class about 45 years ago and guess what….they didn’t get it straight away either! Oh well, these things are sent to try us I guess.

Boulle must be smirking in his Gallic grave no less!

Did hear an anecdote from a cousin in France who taught (amongst other subjects) French literature, that Boulle may have written the book as a bet with another novelist or novelists…but that’s another story.

Regards lodestar ….still without an moral compass and with litte if any hope of getting one!
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Old 08 May 12, 06:07
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lodestar View Post
Boulle wrote the book (WHICH IS FICTION!!) after the war and it was published in 1952 in France and two years later in the UK. He simply based the Colonel Nicholson central character on French colonial officers he knew had collaborated with the Japanese when Boulle himself was a prisoner.

There was considerable controversy in the UK (but not in France so far as I know) when the book and later the very famous film came out over the Nicholson character with former Commonwealth POW’s very upset at the premise of the film.
The basic premise of the film (which, I can remember myself from the many re-screenings it had in the mid to late 60’s many people just didn’t get) is that Nicholson is too ‘good’ an officer to see that by trying to lift and maintain battalion morale by instructing the POW’s in his charge to build an excellent (‘English’ standard) bridge for the Japanese Army he is in fact committing something approaching treason as of course the fiendish Orientals are going to use the completed bridge to take Japanese troops to battles where they can kill other Commonwealth troops!
Simple and brilliant!

Some people still don’t get the bloody thing!
As I said before the story itself is of course in a thinly disguised metaphor about the dilemmas, moral nuances, complexities and complications of collaboration and resistance in occupied France!
Nope - this is the first mention you have made of this point. You really must maintain better control of reality.

Quote:
Collaboration was in the 50’s and is still now a touchy subject in France and I guess he figured he could explore it’s various aspects via a novel set outside France with non-French characters but with obvious (too at least half intelligent members of the French reading public) references to the whole issue.

Had to explain it in my senior high school class about 45 years ago and guess what….they didn’t get it straight away either! Oh well, these things are sent to try us I guess.

Boulle must be smirking in his Gallic grave no less!

Did hear an anecdote from a cousin in France who taught (amongst other subjects) French literature, that Boulle may have written the book as a bet with another novelist or novelists…but that’s another story.

Regards lodestar ….still without an moral compass and with litte if any hope of getting one!
Pierre Boulle is the fella who wrote La planète des singes, better know as Planet of the Apes.
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Old 08 May 12, 07:13
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There was a 'real' Bridge on the river Kwai (the river wasn't called the Kwai for a start) and Julie Summers wrote a good book on the subject " The Colonel of Tamarkan.Philip Toosey and the Bridge on the river Kwai"

Colonel Toosey did 'collaberate' with the Japanese in the running of the camp and made it as efficient as possible but only in so much as it kept more men alive and he kept order and discipline for the same reason. He in no way 'helped' the Japanese unless he had to.

He found the film amusing but in no way realistic.

http://www.juliesummers.co.uk/colonel.php

Read another book on the subject
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2004...uardianreview6

Which I found very interesting in it Peek describes the difference when they had to work for 'real' Japanese engineers rather the camp guards. The camp guards were often not that 'good' troops (guarding POW's was hardly a high status posting) so were often not that bright so for instance they would set starving men to heavy physical labour and when ,unsurprisingly, many found it difficult to meet the workload demanded they'd beat them so they were in an even worse state. The prisoners therefore learnt how to make shortcuts to meet their impossible workload demands.

When working with the 'real engineers' these shortcuts were impossible as they would be noticed and the POW's would be in trouble. However there was no need since the 'professional' troops only ever set achieveable goals, they had to work hard but it could be done.

Finished
http://www.independent.ie/entertainm...s-3016721.html

at first thought it might be a bit 'one eyed' just dealing with one nationality but because the Irish were scattered across area it gives a good overview for anyone who wanted to start to study the topic.
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Old 08 May 12, 08:34
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lodestar on 'Kwai' and 'Apes'

lodestar said:
"Some people still don’t get the bloody thing!
As I said before the story itself is of course in a thinly disguised metaphor about the dilemmas, moral nuances, complexities and complications of collaboration and resistance in occupied France!

Quote:
Originally Posted by broderickwells View Post
Nope - this is the first mention you have made of this point. You really must maintain better control of reality.


Pierre Boulle is the fella who wrote La planète des singes, better know as Planet of the Apes.
re 'Kwai':
Not so. I mentioned it as part of my thread starter about Dad's Army verus Hogan's Heroes on 02 Feb 12 at 17:12 (US time I presume) where I said:

"You can’t count ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’ as it was written by a Frenchman for Pete’s sake, the central, supposedly quintessentially ‘British’ character, Colonel Nicolson was based on French colonial service officers co-operating with the Japanese in Vichy Indo-China and the story itself is of course in a thinly disguised metaphor about the dilemmas, moral nuances, complexities and complications of collaboration and resistance in occupied France! But I digress (a lodestar digression, however as we all know, is often more interesting than many people’s entire lives)."

re 'Apes':
Yes a terrific book (and film) as well.
There was always a controversy over which novel was his best.
Some pundits think 'Bridge' is a little bit too 'light on', a bit obvious (though as I said many people didn't get it!) and as it dealt with a war (action) theme had been pitched at a slightly less 'cerebral' reading audience than 'Apes'.
Boulle no doubt thought both books equally brilliant.
Must read 'em again now I've retired.

Regards lodestar
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Old 08 May 12, 10:08
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The real bridge wasn't destroyed by commandos either. It stood the test of time and was replaced in the 1970s (iirc) with a modern. structure.

This movie has created a myth about the subject to the point that many believe it is a true story.
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Old 08 May 12, 12:46
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by lodestar View Post
Why, with the central position WWII occupies in post 1945 British national mindset were British writers unable to produce a great WW2 ‘British Army’ novel??
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Originally Posted by lodestar View Post

Have a pop at these two by Zeno...

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Old 08 May 12, 22:36
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Originally Posted by The Purist View Post
The real bridge wasn't destroyed by commandos either. It stood the test of time and was replaced in the 1970s (iirc) with a modern. structure.

This movie has created a myth about the subject to the point that many believe it is a true story.
I think the real Bridge on the River Kwai was destroyed by Allied bombing raids.
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Old 08 May 12, 23:02
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Not to take anything away from our British Allies, but one overlooked fact of the building of the railroad of death was that among the prisoners to be put to work on the railroad were prisoners from the "Lost Battalion" Second Battalion, 131st Field Artillery of the Texas National Guard who were captured in the Dutch East Indies when they fell.

Quote:
The Texans traveled by train to Thanbyuzayat, Burma, and immediately began work on the Japanese "Railroad of Death," which ultimately connected Burma to Bangkok, Siam. The unit labored in various work camps on the railroad, including assisting on the famous "Bridge over the River Kwai," and suffered numerous casualties and deaths. Seventy thousand Allied prisoners of all nationalities perished on the project.
Texas State Historical Association

I first learned of this when I saw an exhibit about it at the Texas National Guard museum at Camp Mabry in Austin.

http://www.texasmilitaryforcesmuseum.org/lost.htm



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Old 08 May 12, 23:32
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Was this the bunch Americans being transported to Japan when an American submarine sank them? The Sub came up to snatch a crewman for questioning and found itself surrounded by some very wet Americans. There were so many in the water that the Sub had to stay on the surface to keep many from drowning.

I believe this battalion was captured on either Sumatra or Java.

Pruitt
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