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20 February

Movie Review: The Monuments Men

Monuments Men

TOP: Monuments Men commander Lt. Dale Ford and then 19-year-old Monuments Man Harry Ettlinger look over an original self-portrait by Rembrandt hidden by the Nazis in the Heilbronn-Kochendorf salt mines. BOTTOM: The discovery of the painting is depicted in the movie.  –Historyvshollywood

Earlier this week I wrote a book review of the  Monuments Men by Robert Edsel.  I just finished watching the movie and I did enjoy it even though, as I wrote in a previous article it didn’t get very good reviews.  The movie was filled with famous actors like George Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett,  Bill Murray, John Goodman, etc.  I’m sure these names will be enough for some people to watch the movie.  But those who watch this film and have not read the book will be missing out on a lot.  Some of the scenes in the movie just didn’t happen.  Not according to the book.  I said it in my book review, but I’ll say it again.  The book is fairly slow, not too much exciting happens.  It is not a thriller by any means.  But it is real life and I believe the story is worth telling.  I don’t want to ruin the movie for anyone, so I’ll point out that this article may spoil things for you somewhat, but if you want to know where the history ends and the Hollywood begins, than this is a great article I found online.  It discusses the differences between what really happened and what made it into the movie and also of course what was totally fictional.  Here is an excerpt from the article:

Were all of the descendants of the real Monuments Men happy with the film?

No. The descendants of Ronald Balfour, a British medieval historian and one of two Monuments Men who perished in the war, were upset that the film didn’t more closely represent Ronald. Actor Hugh Bonneville’s character, Donald Jeffries, has been linked to Ronald. Like Ronald, the character is an English historian serving with the MFAA who holds the rank of major. However, one of Ronald’s nieces, Polly Hutchison, says that the actor is “so different.” She says the family was astounded when they heard that Hugh Bonneville was going to portray the character they hoped would be her Uncle Ronald. It should be noted that the official Monuments Men movie website does in fact pair Hugh Bonneville’s character with Ronald Balfour, in addition to other online sources that have confirmed the correlation.