The Bridge at Remagen (1969) Poster

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  • The World War II drama, from David L. Wolper, The Bridge at Remagen ,opened in Chicago on Thursday, June 26, 1969, at the Woods theatre (Randolph and Dearborn). Panavision, Color by DeLuxe, and rated M; and an ad reads: "The Germans forgot one very important bridge . . . Sixty-one days later they lost the wqr." Edit (Coming Soon)

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  • While the general film story is based on the original historical book The Bridge at Remagen by Ken Hechler (an Army officer and historian at the time of the battle and later a US congressman), the characters are all fictionalized with fictional names. The American characters do wear the shoulder patch and the vehicles bear the markings of the 9th Armored Division, and the lead unit is mentioned as the 27th Armored Infantry which actually seized the bridge, and several of the characters can easily be matched to the real-life figures they were based upon.

    2nd Lieutenant Phil Hartman (played by George Segal) is analogous to 2nd Lieutenant Karl H. Timmermann, who was promoted to command of Able Company 27th Armored Infantry Battalion when the previous commander was wounded the day before the attack on the bridge. Ironically, Timmermann, whose father was a member of the US Army occupation forces at the end of World War I, was born less than a hundred miles from Remagen after his father deserted his post to marry a local Rhineland girl. The family eventually returned to the elder Timmermann's home town of West Point, Nebraska. His father's dishonorable discharge motivated Karl Timmermann to excel as a soldier and restore honor to the family name. Rather unlike Hartman, Timmermann is described in Hechler's book as a good-humored "Mister Roberts" kind of officer.

    Sergeant "Angel" Angelo (played by Ben Gazzara) is a composite of Sergeants Joseph DeLisio of New York City and Alex Drabik of Toledo, Ohio; DeLisio was a platoon sergeant and Drabik, a squad leader, was actually the first American across the bridge. Angelo's depiction as looting the bodies of almost every dead German he encounters is an exaggerated extrapolation of a comment in Hechler's book that the members of Able Company half-jokingly said that DeLisio was so aggressive because he "wanted first crack at the loot!"

    2nd Lieutenant Pattison (played by Tom Heaton) is analogous to 2nd Lieutenant Emmett James "Jim" Burrows of Jersey City, New Jersey, platoon leader and acting executive officer of Able Company. While Lt Pattison is killed in the movie, Burrows and his platoon seized the guns on the cliffs over the railroad tunnel; he survived the war and went on to command an infantry battalion in the NJ National Guard.)

    Major Barnes (played by Bradford Dillman) is analogous to Major Murray Deevers, commanding officer of the 27th Armored Infantry Battalion.

    Brigadier General Shinner (played by E.G. Marshall) is analogous to Brigadier General William M. Hoge, commanding general of Combat Command B (what today is called an armored brigade) of the 9th Armored Division.

    Major Paul Krueger (played by Robert Vaughn) is analogous to Major Hans Scheller, overall German commander responsible for defense of Remagen and the bridge. Like Krueger, Scheller went for reenforcements after he learned the telephone line to higher headquarters was cut, and was court-martialed and executed for allowing the bridge to be captured and for deserting his post. In a photo in the 1993 edition of Hechler's book, Scheller bears a strong resemblance to a young Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    Captain Karl Schmidt (played by Hans Christian Blech) is analogous to Captain Willi Bratge, commander of the troops actually defending the bridge. Like Schmidt, Bratge was a schoolmaster in civilian life, although not at Remagen. Bratge was court-martialed by the Germans in absentia and sentenced to death for his failure to prevent the capture of the bridge, his life being spared by his capture by the Americans. Edit (Coming Soon)

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