World War Two History: 10 Things You Never Knew about “Saving Private Ryan”

SPR

Here are some behind-the-scenes details about the legendary World War II movie “Saving Private Ryan.”

What pops into your head when you think about “Saving Private Ryan?”

For many people, it’s the five Oscars, two Golden Globes, two BAFTAs, and an induction into the National Film Registry as a “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant film” — accolades Steven Spielberg’s World War II opus has earned since the film’s 1998 release. The New York Times film review called it “only the finest war movie of our time,” citing the film’s frank, bloody, violent, unflinching portrayal of the Omaha Beach landing on D-Day as a major achievement. And the veteran community resoundly agreed, echoing the film’s intense combat scenes as a therapeutic base from which to discuss, process, and understand their experiences at war.

It’s been 18 years since then, but those words are no less true.

Here are 10 facts you probably never realized about “Saving Private Ryan.”

1. Spielberg played favorites.

All of the main actors were sent to boot camp, except for Matt Damon, who played Private Ryan. This was done deliberately, so the actors would have real resentment against Damon to mirror the film’s narrative.

2. Vanilla Ice has a link to the film.

Cinematographer Janusz Kamiński was no stranger to World War II films, having also worked on Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List.” Some of Kamiński’s other cinematography credits include “Jerry Maguire,” “Amistad,” “Catch Me If You Can,” and, inexplicably, the Vanilla Ice movie “Cool As Ice.”

3. D-Day was all about the details.

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This is the film’s opening scene by the numbers: With $12 million of the $70 million total budget, Spielberg used 40 barrels of stage blood, 1,500 extras, 30 amputees, zero storyboarding, and 27 minutes of runtime to recreate the Omaha Beach landing scene.

4. World War II veterans were reliving D-Day.

The Department of Veterans Affairs set up a hotline number for traumatized veterans to call after seeing the film. The hotline received over 170 calls in the two weeks following the film’s release date.

5. Yes, it’s supposed to look washed out.

The film’s coloring was purposefully desaturated by stripping camera lenses of their protective coatings, followed by running the exposed film through a bleach process. The goal was to give the film’s final look the effect of 1940s newsreel footage.

6. Spielberg altered history in America’s favor.

“Saving Private Ryan” ignores other countries’ contributions to the D-Day landings, with the 2nd Rangers being accompanied by Coast Guard crews and the USS Jefferson, instead of the Royal Navy and British ships.

7. “Saving Private Ryan” was predicted to win the Oscar for Best Picture.

“Saving Private Ryan” is one of the few Oscar winners for Best Director that did not also win its Best Picture nomination. The Best Picture award that year went to “Shakespeare In Love,” which was a huge upset among Hollywood and the general public alike.

8. The majority of costumes and props were custom made.

Costume designer Joanna Johnson oversaw the creation of 3,500 costumes, as well as 2,000 weapons just for the Omaha Beach landing scene. Five hundred of the 2,000 replica weapons could shoot blanks, while the rest were rubber.

9. Tom Hanks wasn’t automatically given the lead.

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Both Mel Gibson and Harrison Ford were in the running for the role of Capt. John Miller, which ended up going to Tom Hanks.

10. Gunfire was recorded with authentic period weapons.

Special effects director Gary Rydstrom contacted Kevin Brittingham, owner of Advanced Armaments Corporation, for help with recording the appropriate gunfire. Among Brittingham’s collection were World War II-era guns such as the Browning automatic rifle, a Thompson machine gun, and a Solothurn S18-1000 20-millimeter anti-tank rifle.

Read the Original Article at Task and Purpose

Memorial Day 2014: Earning the Right

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As a Vet, Memorial Day has always held a special place in my heart. Not for the sake of being recognized as a Veteran, but because it is so important to me personally that ALL AMERICANS recognize and remember all those who have served and pay special homage to those vets and their families who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.

After I came back home from the service, I personally struggled a lot trying to understand why did I get to come home? What made me so special that I got to come back, while so many more deserving young men did not? Call it survivors guilt, call it PTSD, put whatever psychological label you want on it, the Question remains and is a valid one.

After many years of searching for the answer, a reality hit me one day in March of 2008 that was like a ton of bricks. It can best be summed up by the speech given by the “Older Private Ryan” character at the end of the film, Saving Private Ryan:

[last lines; addressing Miller’s grave]
Old James Ryan: My family is with me today. They wanted to come with me. To be honest with you, I…I wasn’t sure how I’d feel coming back here. Every day I think about what you said to me that day on the bridge. I tried to live my life the best that I could. I hope that was enough. I hope that, at least in your eyes, I’ve earned what all of you have done for me.
Ryan’s Wife: James?
[looking at the headstone]
Ryan’s Wife: Captain John H Miller.
Old James Ryan: Tell me I have led a good life.
Ryan’s Wife: What?
Old James Ryan: Tell me I’m a good man.
Ryan’s Wife: You are.
[Ryan stands back and salutes] 

 

Earning the Right to Come Home had more to do with how I lived my life in the HERE AND NOW, rather than thinking about the past and all the “what if’s” that populated it. Earning that Right every day is what motivates me more than anything to be a man of character, honor and integrity.  And so it should go with ALL Americans in my opinion, FREEDOM IS NOT FREE! Earn the Right to live in a Democracy every day of your life!

Unfortunately, and I would be amiss not to mention this, but as we have seen lately those with whom we have entrusted the care of our Vets when they come home, (Our Government via The Dept. of Veteran Affairs) have and are currently failing our Veterans miserably. This is Shameful and there is absolutely no excuse for it. And whats worse is our so called “President”  has done exactly what he has always done when there is a scandal (Remember the NSA Snowden Affair?) First, he downplays it and then appoints a “Committee” to investigate it. This is more of the same impotent bureaucracy obama is famous for and sadly it will accomplish nothing except ensuring our vets keep getting  more of the same: sub-standard medical care or no medical care at all.

Earning the Right. It’s a simple concept really. Too bad those in D.C. seem to miss the point.

So this Memorial Day Weekend go out there and do your part and Thank a Vet for his Service and Say a prayer for all the families who are dealing with the loss of their Hero.

Earn the Right. I know I try every day, are you?

Say Dangerous!

 

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