I was disgusted last Saturday to read about some virtue-signaling nitwit who said Hollywood should stop making movies like Dunkirk, because they reinforce a negative version of masculinity.

Now, there’s stupid. We’ve always had lots and lots of that.

Then there’s dangerously, malignantly, criminally stupid. We seem to have more and more of that.

And that’s just what this previously mentioned nitwit is. Think about what he’s saying: that the impossibly brave men who saved Western civilization (and whose fortitude, I feel compelled to point out in this same week as the International Day of Holocaust Remembrance, unwittingly created a last tiny thread of hope for the entire European Jewish race) demonstrated a manliness (honor… courage… sacrifice… and a willingness to die to protect the tribe…) that must now be stamped out. (By the way, here’s a bit I wrote a short while back about the uncommon courage on display at Dunkirk – even by non-combatants!) (And here’s one I wrote about the broader war on men.)

Well, the good news is that I’ve seen just one more reference (a viciously caustic one) to this Grima Wormtongue since then, so perhaps he’s crawled back under the same putrid rock he briefly emerged from. And who knows, maybe his staggering misandry will start the long-overdue process of upending the whole putrescent notion of “toxic masculinity.” A man can hope…

But in the meantime, I’ll not link to anything else about that vermin’s utterances.

I have lots of other links to share, though. Because my positive reaction to that clown’s verbal bowel movement was to dig out my DVD of the 1977 war movie A Bridge Too Far for viewing that very night.

First, and most important: the movie is an adaptation of a brilliant popular history of the same name by Cornelius Ryan, one of my favorite historians. It’s his story of WWII’s Operation Market Garden, a plan by British Field Marshall Bernard Law Montgomery to drive across Holland, seize a series of towns and vital bridges, and establish a conduit across the Rhine to Germany’s industrial heartland, the Ruhr, thus ending the war in a few more months (this was in late summer and early fall, 1944, so those of you who know your history are already aware that the operation failed.)

Now, back to the movie. Talk about a star-studded cast: Laurence Olivier, Sean Connery, Maximilian Schell, Ryan O’Neal, Robert Redford, James Caan, Michael Caine, Anthony Hopkins, Gene Hackman, Liv Ullman, Elliott Gould, and a very young John Ratzenberger. It was directed by Richard Attenborough. (Midway through the movie, there’s a scene where a British Airborne unit is laughed at by a group of escapees from a nearby insane asylum that had been bombed earlier. Attenborough has a cameo as one of the lunatics.)

This has been one of my favorite films since I was a young boy. I remember vividly how much I loved the score the first time I heard it; I still do. Listen to the whole thing here – but if you don’t have the 14-odd minutes, at least watch this scene, which features not only key sections of the music but also a flight of C-47s the likes of which you’ll never see in real life. What I love about the music is how it artfully conveys the emotions: stirring and martial at first, when the participants believe they’ll be ending the war early, then slowly turning more somber and eventually sad, as all hope for that rosy scenario is lost.

The film was scored by John Addison. I never knew until this past weekend that he fought in Operation Market Garden, as a tanker with the XXX Corps of the British Second Army. So yes, I guess he indeed knew the emotions of the time intimately. He used them to make a beautiful piece of music.

It’s not a beautiful movie, though. I read something once that said Attenborough had made a very anti-war war movie in A Bridge Too Far. (All of them should be in some way, shouldn’t they?) But I don’t see it as much anti-war as anti-triumphalist. It’s that rare humble and brutally honest look at a setback, a failure, for the eventually victorious saviors of civilization.

Still, the healthy masculinity that saved the world for real back in the 1940s is every bit as much acted out here as it is in a more positive adaptation of another Cornelius Ryan book, The Longest Day. I’ll save that one to salve the pain of the next malignant moron’s destructive utterances.


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