Guttman’s Garage – Film Review, “The Monuments Men”

In entertainment by Aida NangleLeave a Comment

clinic 0,40,0″>The Monuments Men: soldiers saving art. Based on a true story. During the war, Hitler plundered Europe’s art collections and planned to build a museum to house his stolen treasures. However, when the war turned against him, Hitler issued a decree to have the art destroyed. A small coalition of British and American military men were formed to save the art work from destruction. The Unit’s efforts during WW II were remarkably successful given the limited number of individuals involved. At the end of the war, this Monuments Unit consisted of approximately 66 men, and continued to operate through 1951. The movie focuses on eight men, all played by high profile actors. George Clooney is Frank Stokes, but clearly he plays George Leslie Stout.

Clooney also co-wrote and directed the 159 minute film based on the book by Robert Edsel and Bret Witter, which is quite readable and provides more detail as to what occurred. John Goodman and Bill Murray play prominent characters, so it should not come as any surprise that the film is at times humorous given the seriousness of the subject notwithstanding. The manner by which each member joins the Unit is also presented with lightness and the interaction between Murray and Bob Balaban is particularly funny. Due to the international affiliations of the Monuments Unit, the casting of Hugh Bonneville from “ Downton Abbey” and Jean Dujardin from “The Artist” was appropriate. Part of the Unit’s success was due to information provided by a French female art curator who had monitored the looting of the French Museum — played by Cate Blanchett. Matt Damon also has a prominent role. The movie is enjoyable but it touches only upon the depth of Hilter’s plan for the destruction of great art and the effort that was made to save these masterpieces from destruction. If you want to learn what really happened with respect to the Monuments Men and those individuals who served in the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives unit of the American and British military, you should read the book.

Steven Guttman, Esq.

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