New film about the Battle of Monte Cassino

#1
Directed by John Irvin
"It's not a battle that the Allies can be very proud of," Irvin said. "The casualties were jaw-dropping, a third of which were inflicted by friendly fire."
He added: "The aspect of the battle that has haunted me was the decision to carpet bomb the abbey, one of the great architectural jewels of western culture, which was reduced to rubble in six hours."
"Haunted me" You poor dear! Must be dreadful for you.

The film tells the true story of two survivors of the battle, a wounded American soldier and the Italian nurse who cared for him.
With an eye to the US box office.

With casting underway, Irvin hopes to shoot Monte Cassino in Poland next year,
Wonder if due regard will be given to the Polish troops who took a large part in the operation?


The D-Day Dodgers
Tune: Lili Marlene
(Just a few verses from one of several versions)

We're the D-Day dodgers
Here in Italy
Drinking all the vino,
Always on a spree.
Eighth Army scroungers and their tanks,
We go to war in ties like swanks.
We are the D-Day Dodgers,
Way out in Italy

We landed in Salerno,
A holiday with pay,
The Jerries brought the band out
To greet us on the way.
Showed us the sights and gave us tea,
We all sang songs, the beer was free
To welcome D-Day Dodgers,
To sunny Italy.

Salerno and Cassino
We're takin' in our stride
We didn't go to fight there,
We went there for the ride
Anzio and Sanzio were just names,
We only went to look for dames,
The artful D-Day Dodgers,
Out here in Italy.

Look around the mountains
In the mud and rain
You'll find scattered crosses,
Some which bear no name.
Heart break and toil and suffering gone
The boys beneath them slumber on,
For they're the D-Day Dodgers,
Who stayed in Italy.
 
#2
The D-Day Dodgers
Tune: Lili Marlene
(Just a few verses from one of several versions)

We're the D-Day dodgers
Here in Italy
Drinking all the vino,
Always on a spree.
Eighth Army scroungers and their tanks,
We go to war in ties like swanks.
We are the D-Day Dodgers,
Way out in Italy

We landed in Salerno,
A holiday with pay,
The Jerries brought the band out
To greet us on the way.
Showed us the sights and gave us tea,
We all sang songs, the beer was free
To welcome D-Day Dodgers,
To sunny Italy.

Salerno and Cassino
We're takin' in our stride
We didn't go to fight there,
We went there for the ride
Anzio and Sanzio were just names,
We only went to look for dames,
The artful D-Day Dodgers,
Out here in Italy.

Look around the mountains
In the mud and rain
You'll find scattered crosses,
Some which bear no name.
Heart break and toil and suffering gone
The boys beneath them slumber on,
For they're the D-Day Dodgers,
Who stayed in Italy.
My father, who was at Monte Cassino, used to sing this song on long car journeys - no radio in the car let alone entertainment centre. I remember a verse that referred to, I think, Lady Astor who coined the phrase "D-Day Dodgers" in a speech in Parliament.

I believe the Poles were the first to break in. I might be wrong. There was a Polish European Voluntary Worker (EVW) in the Mess at Donnington who won the Polish equivalent of the VC at Cassino.
 
#3
The decision to bomb the Abbey was wrong, only because it seems to have provided the Germans with an instant fortified defensive post.

Sven Hassel's excellent book 'Monte Casino' covers it in detail and accuracy which Beevor can only aspire to.
 
#4
The decision to bomb the Abbey was wrong, only because it seems to have provided the Germans with an instant fortified defensive post.

Sven Hassel's excellent book 'Monte Casino' covers it in detail and accuracy which Beevor can only aspire to.
The Germans weren't actually in the Abbey, and only moved in after the bombing when, as you say, an instant fortified defensive post was created. Having said that, the feature, not just the Abbey, dominated the region for miles around and my father said you couldn't move without attacting fire even miles away.
 
#5
I would imagine the dominance of the feature meant the Abbey was doomed sooner or later; when I visited Vimy Ridge, which is low enough that even a Q-bloke could get to the top without raising too much of a sweat, it gave me a graphic demonstration of the advantage even a small elevation gives, something the height of Monte Cassino, well!

I believe that the artillery devised half charges for the 25 pounder, to allow for firing from elevations that varied so much that full charges couldn't cope. They were later revived for Korea. Thank you Ian V Hogg.
 
#6
I'm sure that the noble, saintly, Germans would have kept out of the Abbey grounds, even though it was vital ground and the lynch-pin of their line....
 
#7
; when I visited Vimy Ridge, which is low enough that even a Q-bloke could get to the top without raising too much of a sweat

:)

Rodney2q
 
#8
"The adviser on the film is Dr Peter Caddick-Adams, a professional military historian and author of the recently-published Monte Cassino: Ten Armies in Hell."

I knew Peter C-A some years ago - he will most likely stick to the history, unless the director simply points out who is paying his wages and does want he wants anyway.

The film tells the true story of two survivors of the battle, a wounded American soldier and the Italian nurse who cared for him.

This means it will be romantic shite for the US market, no doubt making out that the Americans won the battle. IIRC most of the fighting around the abbey was done by British, Polish and Commonwealth troops.

Rodney2q
 
#9
Did the Italian campaign as a battlefield tour a few years back with 4X. Very interesting and we even had access to the Polish Cemetary.
 
#10
My grandfather went through Dunkirk, El Alamein and the landings in Italy. He said Monte Cassino was just sheer hell. He was a very tough character but it haunted him all through his life.
I have not read a book on the subject yet that comes near to his "selective" descriptions and suspect this film will just be a total piece of cack.
 
#11
I do wonder how they'll treat Gen. Mark W. Clark? He does deserve a proper celluloid kicking.
 
#12
Will the Brits get a decent mention in this film? And will the Germans be using T-55's with crosses painted on the sides or will they actually make the effort to be historically accurate?
 
#13
I'm sure that the noble, saintly, Germans would have kept out of the Abbey grounds, even though it was vital ground and the lynch-pin of their line....
The German commander was Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin, a Benedictine lay brother (cassino was a Benedictine monastery). IIRC he swore that no German soldiers had set up positions in the monastery until after the bombing and was backed up by the Head Brothers testimony. He had though with some HG Div officers convinced the Vatican and Wehrmach the neccessity of evacuating the treasures of the monastery ahead of time.
 
P

PrinceAlbert

Guest
#15
I can't imagine a film about cigars being very exciting. Besides, Cohibas are nicer to smoke.
 
#16
"The adviser on the film is Dr Peter Caddick-Adams, a professional military historian and author of the recently-published Monte Cassino: Ten Armies in Hell."

I knew Peter C-A some years ago - he will most likely stick to the history, unless the director simply points out who is paying his wages and does want he wants anyway.

The film tells the true story of two survivors of the battle, a wounded American soldier and the Italian nurse who cared for him.

This means it will be romantic shite for the US market, no doubt making out that the Americans won the battle. IIRC most of the fighting around the abbey was done by British, Polish and Commonwealth troops.

Rodney2q
Wait a sec, its a British film company, British producer, British actors, British screenwriter, British director, British historical advisor, yet somehow it's the USA's fault? anything to blame the USA huh? the USA has had Fuckall to do with this film other than a Brit is playing an American. If it doesnt show your lot, dont whine about yanks

Whine to Fourth Culture Films who produce it-
Fourth Culture Films [GB]
91, Great Russell Street
London WC1B 3PS
tel: +44 020 7636 9046


Fourth Culture Films
 
#17
My dad's best mate used to sing "We are the D-Day Dodgers" - but I am almost certain it was to the tune of "We are the Ovaltinies". BTW he dodged D Day but ended up in France, Belgium and Germany. Much to my mother's annoyance, he taught me how to ask "How much for all night?" in Arabic, Italian, French and German.
 
#19
My father, who was at Monte Cassino, used to sing this song on long car journeys - no radio in the car let alone entertainment centre. I remember a verse that referred to, I think, Lady Astor who coined the phrase "D-Day Dodgers" in a speech in Parliament.

I believe the Poles were the first to break in. I might be wrong. There was a Polish European Voluntary Worker (EVW) in the Mess at Donnington who won the Polish equivalent of the VC at Cassino.
I think the story of the Italian campaign is one that has never been told properley, seen as a secondary campaign but the fighting was as hard and savage as any in Europe.
I remember in 1995 going to a VE 50th anniv dinner in the village and an old boy who I'd known for years turned up with his WW2 medals (it's funny as I'd always known him as the kindly farmer who paid us over the odds to help pick potatos, I never had him pegged as a soldier) and we got very, very drunk and he told me about Italy, particularly Italy. I will not forget that night. It's funny the things that generation kept to themselves. The Italy Star holders must number very few now but I hope the film's researchers bear them in mind when making this film.
 
#20
I do wonder how they'll treat Gen. Mark W. Clark? He does deserve a proper celluloid kicking.
I'll second that motion. Alexander should have sacked the ****** for letting the bulk of the German army escape so that "his" 5th Army could liberate Rome. He even set up roadblocks to prevent other allied -- ie British -- units entering the city before he did. Vain, self-serving, arrogant and treacherous.

And before Goldbricker chops off - that was in no way denigrating the ordinary GI's who slogged up Italy with British Commonwealth, Poles, South Africans, Mexicans etc etc.
 

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