The Colonel Bogey strain was accompanied by a counter-melody using the same chord progressions, then continued with film composer Malcolm Arnold's own composition, "The River Kwai March," played by the off-screen orchestra taking over from the whistlers, though Arnold's march was not heard in completion on the soundtrack. This was an entertaining story. A Gem of the Silver Screen. He created the railroad. The movie garnered seven Academy Awards , including that for best picture, as well as … The Bridge on the River Kwai is a classic 1957 British-American war film based upon the 1952 novel Le Pont de la Rivière Kwai by Pierre Boulle. [42], Slant Magazine gave the film four out of five stars. Although the Kelani River was a slower-moving waterway during the film’s shooting than it is today, David Lean (the director of the movie) is said to have nearly drowned when the river swept him away during a break from filming. Wise: "I never heard it in Thailand. As the train approaches, they hurry down to the riverbank to investigate. To the producers' horror, the film containers were found a week later on an airport tarmac in Cairo, sitting in the hot sun. In a 1988 interview with Barry Norman, Lean confirmed that Columbia almost stopped filming after three weeks because there was no white woman in the film, forcing him to add what he calls, "a very terrible scene" between William Holden and the nurse on the beach. ", The screenwriters, Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson, were on the Hollywood blacklist and, even though living in exile in England, could only work on the film in secret. Both bridges were used for two years, until they were destroyed by Allied bombing. The fourth film in our blog series is ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’ (1957) directed by David Lean. The two did not collaborate on the script; Wilson took over after Lean was dissatisfied with Foreman's work. MHM’s movie summary, film and plot synopsis of The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) starring William Holden, Alec Guinness, and Jack Hawkins. Warden responds that he already knew and that the American Navy had agreed to transfer him to the British Army, along with Shears receiving a commission of major, to avoid embarrassment. [25] He strongly denied the claim that the book was anti-British, although many involved in the film itself (including Alec Guinness) felt otherwise. The filming of the bridge explosion was to be done on 10 March 1957, in the presence of S.W.R.D. Boulle based his novel, published in 1952, on his … [45], Warren Buffett said it was his favorite movie. [36] By October 1960, the film had earned worldwide box office revenues of $30 million. Bridge on the River Kwai was the highest-grossing film of 1957 and received overwhemingly positive reviews from critics. Visit Kitulgala during the peak season of January to March, as the climate is cooler and with less rainfall; it’s the ideal time to partake in a variety of water sports in the area. [22] Gavin Young[23] recounts meeting Donald Wise, a former prisoner of the Japanese who had worked on the Burma Railway. The film won seven Academy Awards (including Best Picture) at the 30th Academy Awards. The Bridge On The River Kwai – 1957 – English. In 1997, the film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the United States Library of Congress. Over the protests of some of his officers, he orders Captain Reeves and Major Hughes to build a proper bridge, in order to maintain his men's morale and pride in their professionalism. The dazed colonel stumbles towards the detonator and collapses on the plunger, blowing up the bridge and send the train hurtling into the river. The cast includes But the unusual move paid off for ABC—the telecast drew huge ratings with a record audience of 72 million[49] and a Nielsen rating of 38.3 and an audience share of 61%. The separate dialogue, music and effects were located and remixed with newly recorded "atmospheric" sound effects. "The ending of that was sort of the story of life. Two trains a day leave Bangkok Thonburi station (also known as Bangkok Noi) on the West side of the river in Bangkok, for Kanchanaburi then River Kwai Bridge … In an interview he said that "There were a lot of lessons in that", Buffett said of the film. It stresses the importance of duty, but Kwai is quick to show how adherence to duty for the wrong reasons (pride, for example) can tempt disaster.This film may look like another glossy World War II film from the late 1950s, but it is in a class all by itself. For him, its completion will exemplify the ingenuity and hard work of the British Army. This entry was posted in Asia Travel, Movie Locations and tagged bridge on the river kwai, Bridge On The River Kwai filming locations, how to get to Peradeniya Botanic Gardens by local bus, kitulgala, Mount Lavinia Hotel, obi-wan kenobi, Things to do in Colombo, where was bridge on the river kwai filmed?. The Bridge on the River Kwai, British-American war film, released in 1957 and directed by David Lean, that was both a critical and popular success and became an enduring classic. Usually, the correspondence centres on requests for support from the War Office. IT WAS LOOSELY BASED ON REAL EVENTS. Two labour forces, one based in Siam and the other in Burma, worked from opposite ends of the line towards the centre. [17], The producers nearly suffered a catastrophe following the filming of the bridge explosion. Bandaranaike, then Prime Minister of Ceylon, and a team of government dignitaries. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film received an approval rating of 95% based on 58 reviews, with an average rating of 9.33/10. Correspondence between film companies and the War Office turns up in a number of files at The National Archives. From Bangkok:There's something not right about taking a bus to see the Death Railway and Bridge on the River Kwai. [9], Many directors were considered for the project, among them John Ford, William Wyler, Howard Hawks, Fred Zinnemann, and Orson Welles (who was also offered a starring role). Warden is wounded in an encounter with a Japanese patrol and has to be carried on a litter. [43] Slant stated that "the 1957 epic subtly develops its themes about the irrationality of honor and the hypocrisy of Britain's class system without ever compromising its thrilling war narrative", and in comparing to other films of the time said that Bridge on the River Kwai "carefully builds its psychological tension until it erupts in a blinding flash of sulfur and flame. Did he really want the enemy to come in across it?”[46], Some Japanese viewers disliked the film's depiction of the Japanese characters present in the movie and the historical background presented as being inaccurate, particularly in the interactions between Saito and Nicholson. That evening, the officers are placed in a punishment hut, while Nicholson is locked in an iron box after getting beaten as punishment. [44] William Holden was also credited for his acting, he was said to give a solid characterization and was "easy, credible and always likeable in a role that is the pivot point of the story". Discussions over building a replica of the bridge are currently underway. Desperate, he uses the anniversary of Japan's 1905 victory in the Russo-Japanese War as an excuse to save face and announces a general amnesty, releasing Nicholson and his officers and exempting them from manual labour. Attention! Their roles and characters, however, are fictionalised. It was still highly unusual at that time for a television network to show such a long film in one evening; most films of that length were still generally split into two parts and shown over two evenings. [52] The image was restored by OCS, Freeze Frame, and Pixel Magic with George Hively editing. The film uses the historical setting of the construction of the Burma Railway in 1942–1943. Lean had a lengthy row with Guinness over how to play the role of Nicholson; Guinness wanted to play the part with a sense of humour and sympathy, while Lean thought Nicholson should be "a bore." The movie was based on the 1952 novel by Pierre Boulle. The filming location for Bridge on the River Kwai is today indicated by a discreet, rusted piece of metal on which directions to the area have been painted. What I Learned From Watching: The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) YouTube Video A video essay written, edited, and narrated by Tyler Knudsen about the production of “River Kwai” and some film … That makes the Bridge on the River Kwai one of Kanchanaburi’s most popular war-related attractions – there are always crowds trudging across it and snapping photos – but it is actually something of a misnomer. The Bridge On The River Kwai Film Facts. Recognising the dying Shears, Nicholson exclaims, "What have I done?" Young: "Donald, did anyone whistle Colonel Bogey ... as they did in the film?" The Bridge on the River Kwai has never been a great-looking film. David Lean himself also claimed that producer Sam Spiegel cheated him out of his rightful part in the credits since he had had a major hand in the script. [18], British composer Malcolm Arnold recalled that he had "ten days to write around forty-five minutes worth of music" - much less time than he was used to. The bridge that was used to shoot the movie in 1956 and 1957 no longer exists, as it was dismantled once filming had concluded in order to protect the ecology of the surrounding environment. On this, its 60th birthday, The Bridge on the River Kwai has lost none of its majesty. Although it was not exposed to sunlight, the heat-sensitive colour film stock should have been hopelessly ruined; however, when processed the shots were perfect and appeared in the film. At the morning assembly, Nicholson orders his officers to remain behind when the enlisted men march off to work. The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 World War II epic film directed by David Lean, based on the novel Le Pont de la Rivière Kwai (1952) by Pierre Boulle.The film is a work of fiction but borrows the construction of the Burma Railway in 1942–43 for its historical setting. Nicholson erects a sign commemorating the bridge's construction by the British Army. Saito threatens to have them shot, but Nicholson refuses to back down. The senior British officer, Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson, informs Saito that the Geneva Conventions exempts officers from manual labour. According to Columbia Pictures, they followed an all-new 4K digital restoration from the original negative with newly restored 5.1 audio. [16], Lean nearly drowned when he was swept away by the river current during a break from filming.[17]. The movie, exploring the lives of British prisoners of war being held at a Japanese prison camp in Burma, was filmed in Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) near the town of Kitulgala, which is known for its rainforests, adventure sports and activities. The Bridge on The River Kwai. It's more appropriate - and much more fun - to take the train from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi and the Bridge on the River Kwai using the Death Railway itself. It is as beautiful a film to watch today as it was in 1957, proudly boasting the Cinemascope format that was used to photograph the wilds of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) which stood in for the film… [34] According to Variety, the film earned estimated domestic box office revenues of $18,000,000[35] although this was revised downwards the following year to $15,000,000, which was still the biggest for 1958 and Columbia's highest-grossing film at the time. During its construction, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway. [15] Guinness later reflected on the scene, calling it the "finest piece of work" he had ever done. swept seven Academy Awards including the award for Best Picture. The screenwriters, Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson, were on the Hollywood blacklist and, even though living in exile in England, could only work on the film in secret. Nicholson drives his men hard to complete the bridge on time. When Joyce is mortally wounded by Japanese fire, Shears swims across the river, but is himself shot. The steel bridge was repaired and is still in use today. The major railway bridge described in the novel and film didn't actually cross the river known at the time as the Kwai. In fact, two bridges were built: a temporary wooden bridge and a permanent steel/concrete bridge a few months later. The movie, exploring the lives of British prisoners of war being held at a Japanese prison camp in Burma, was filmed in Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) near the town of Kitulgala, which is known for its rainforests, adventure sports and activities. Whether via VHS, widescreen VHS, LaserDisc, DVD, or even high-definition Blu-ray, it has long been plagued by an overly contrasty, crushed, murky look that didn’t quash its emotional impact but nonetheless seemed like a missed opportunity, especially given the film’s lush setting. We worked at bayonet point and under bamboo lash, taking any risk to sabotage the operation whenever the opportunity arose. [31] Ernest Gordon, a survivor of the railway construction and POW camps described in the novel/film, stated in a 1962 book, Through the Valley of the Kwai: "In Pierre Boulle's book The Bridge over the River Kwai and the film which was based on it, the impression was given that British officers not only took part in building the bridge willingly, but finished in record time to demonstrate to the enemy their superior efficiency. Although the 1957 film was set on the Death Railway of Burma, where British PoWs built a real bridge over a real River Kwai in Thailand, it was filmed in Sri Lanka. The destruction of the bridge as depicted in the film is also entirely fictional. As the Japanese engineers chose a poor site, a new bridge is begun downstream. He, Shears, and Canadian Lieutenant Joyce reach the river in time with the assistance of Siamese women bearers and their village chief, Khun Yai. [6][7] In 1999, the British Film Institute voted The Bridge on the River Kwai the 11th greatest British film of the 20th century. When the shipment failed to arrive in London, a worldwide search was undertaken. A train carrying important dignitaries and soldiers is scheduled to be the first to cross the bridge the following day, so Warden waits to destroy both. Shears is so appalled at going back he confesses he is not an officer; he impersonated one, expecting better treatment from the Japanese. The two did not collaborate on the script; Wilson took over after Lean was dissatisfied with Foreman's work. The film is set in 1943, as the forces of Imperial Japan are tightening their hold on South East Asia. Two are shot dead, but United States Navy Lieutenant Commander Shears gets away. When the bridge was built, the water beneath it was actually the Mae Klong River, although it did join the Khwae Noi River elsewhere. On another occasion, they argued over the scene where Nicholson reflects on his career in the army. “The Bridge of the River Kwai” from 1957, runs 2 hours, 47 minutes, and will be broadcast Saturday, Nov. 14, at 9 p.m. on PBS. When Major Clipton, the British medical officer, warns Saito there are too many witnesses for him to get away with murder, Saito leaves the officers standing all day in the intense heat. For example, a Sergeant-Major Risaburo Saito was in real life second in command at the camp. The Bridge on the River Kwai, British-American war film, released in 1957 and directed by David Lean, that was both a critical and popular success and became an enduring classic. David Lean's epic war drama The Bridge On The River Kwai is a film that succeeds in keeping the "epic" relatively small scale. However, in 1943 a railway bridge was built by Allied POWs over the Mae Klong river – renamed Khwae Yai in the 1960s as a result of the film – at Tha Ma Kham, five kilometres from Kanchanaburi, Thailand. Only in 1984 did the Academy rectify the situation by retroactively awarding the Oscar to Foreman and Wilson, posthumously in both cases. When the Japanese launched their lightning attacks in December 1941, they not only targeted the American fleet and its island bases, but … War film directed in 1958 by David Lean, and starring William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, James Donald, Sessue Hayakawa, André Morell, Geoffrey Horne, Peter Williams, John Boxer, Percy Herbert, Harold Goodwin, Ann Sears, Heihachiro Okawa… He described the music for The Bridge on the River Kwai as the "worst job I ever had in my life" from the point of view of time. After Guinness was done with the scene, Lean said, "Now you can all fuck off and go home, you English actors. [55], This article is about the film. These problems resulted in a number of anomalies that were very difficult to correct, like a ghosting effect in many scenes that resembles colour mis-registration, and a tick-like effect with the image jumping or jerking side-to-side. Discover this hidden gem set away from the crowds. Toosey in fact did as much as possible to delay the building of the bridge. [50][51], The film was restored in 1992 by Columbia Pictures. Subsequent releases of the film finally gave them proper screen credit. I mean, at least not in my lifetime. [41], Roger Ebert gives the film four out of four stars. "[40] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 87 out of 100 based on 14 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". [53], On 2 November 2010 Columbia Pictures released a newly restored The Bridge on the River Kwai for the first time on Blu-ray. Lean filmed the scene from behind Guinness and exploded in anger when Guinness asked him why he was doing this. 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