Tuesday, September 16, 2008

We haven't the proper facilities...

William Goldman wrote some of the best screenplays - Marathon Man, Butch Cassidy - and A Bridge Too Far. He had some problems with the latter, with American audiences on the test screenings. They thought that scenes like this - drawn from accurate accounts of the battle for the bridge at Arnhem - were fanciful.

The officer
whose mouth these words were originally put in also had a problem. He asked Goldman to dinner. This man had led the British fight at that bridge, but he was mortified. He hadn't actually said those words. "People will think I'm making more of myself than I am," he told Goldman over the starters.

The words had been said to the Germans: "We can't accept your surrender". But not by him. There's a definition of a certain type of Britishness right there.

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