Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Saint and Soldier

The movie then goes to the day of the Malmedy massacre, December 17, 1944. The four initial, main characters receive some screen time, and all but one have some dialog as they stand in a group as prisoners of war. Suddenly, one of the unnamed soldiers breaks from the group and attempts to escape. A German soldier screams for him to halt, and when he doesn't, he's gunned down. The remainder of the prisoners become restless, and a German officer fires a few bursts into the air. In response, a panic begins to break out. During a sudden scramble, an Allied prisoner grabs a rifle from a German soldier and shoots him with it. Another German, in turn, kills that man. As a result, some of the prisoners break to run, while a few try to stay put and keep calm. But when the Germans open fire on the prisoners, the entire group of Allied prisoners break and run. Roughly half of them make it to the woods.

The character-driven narrative of Ryan Little’s first feature film “Saints and Soldiers” begins with a horrific Nazi war crime, the infamous WWII “Malmedy Massacre” resulting in the murder of 80 American soldiers captured by SS troops during the initial phase of the Battle of the Bulge.

This movie was released on video and DVD in May, 2005. First-time director Ryan Little teamed up with actors Corbin Allred, Peter Holden, Alexander Niver, Kirby Heyborne, and Lawrence Bagby, along with a small production team to make the film. It was shot in the forested hills of northern Utah with a budget of less than $1 million ($780.000) However, through special connections, the production team were able to obtain dozens of re-enactors, extras, and rare period equipment. The film was rated PG-13 for war violence and related images.

Production went smoothly and the movie opened at film festivals nationwide, where it won 14 Best Picture Awards. It was the highest grossing film ever produced by Excel Entertainment. It grossed over $1 million, and continues to make considerable profit from rentals.

Although this film can be classified as a movie about Allied soldiers during World War II, it can also be generalized to any soldier, from either side of the battlefield. Kendrick, Gunderson and Winley don't make any identifications regarding religion; Gould says that he doesn't believe in an afterlife. Deacon's religion is identified on the commentary track as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Clues of this are given in the movie: he is from Snowflake, Arizona (founded and densely populated by Mormons), he served a mission to Berlin, Germany, every spare moment he is seen reading a small book and the following is said of him by Gunderson:

"Deacon's the squarest guy I know. He's from some little backwards town in Arizona. Doesn't drink. Doesn't smoke. He doesn't even like coffee. That's why they call him "The Deacon"."

There is some antagonism between Gould and Deacon that comes to the surface several times during the movie. But when it comes down to it, they protect each other, regardless of their differences. During an exchange during the movie, Deacon offers Gould his book (which contains scriptures). At the end of the movie, Gould takes it.

1 Comment:

black_hat said...

hey nice blog, I love this TV Shows, it is difficult having your friend as an enemy, it is a good movie very touching :)