Thursday, October 8, 2009

Movie Review: The Ritchie Boys

Movie reviews have a long and glorious history, here at the MANP Corporate Data Cluster. Continuing this tradition, here are my comments on The Ritchie Boys.

This documentary fillum covers the wartime experiences of some European Jews who fled Hitler's Europe, ended up in the USA and joined the army to kill Nazis.

The War Department saw their value right away and sent as many of them as it could find to a training center at Camp Ritchie MD, where they learned about translation and interrogation, the Wermacht Order of Battle etc.

As you can imagine, these guys were highly motivated, but didn't fit very many tough-guy stereotypes. Their war was fought in the interrogation rooms, poring over captured documents, and talking to captured soldiers.

One memorable moment: one of the Ritchie Boys and his guard/driver are wandering lost in the forest, when a German sentry takes a shot at them. They take cover and a moment later, the guard pops up and lets loose with a full clip from his Garand.

(Those of you with M-1s of your own know how loud this can be if you're not expecting it and it happens about a foot from your ear)

So the translator shouts at him "What the hell are you doing?" and the guard replies, bewildered "Returning enemy fire!" Then the translator says "We don't shoot people in this outfit, we talk to them!" (In the film, he says he realized later how dumb this was.)

Anwyay, he starts talking to the German solider, asking him if he'd like to come have a nice hot meal and lie down for a rest in a calm, safe POW camp, and didn't that sound like a better way to spend the war than hiding in holes, hungry.

Lo and behold, the German comes up with his hands up.

If you watch this, keep your eyes open for some other great moments:

--Meeting Marlene Dietrich

--Impersonating a Russian officer to scare the bejeezus out of German captives

--Writing up fake memos that purport to document the interrogation of Hitler's latrine orderly, who bought his good treatment with exhaustive descriptions of the Fuehrer's .... equipment.

Great film. I give it 5 stars or potatoes or whatever. Its streaming on Netflix, if you are that way inclined.


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