Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Monuments Men

Clooney and friends
It is nice to draw attention to the Monuments Men, who helped save valuable historic landmarks and priceless treasures during WWII, but you have to wonder at the casting.  This was an organization initially set up by the British government and eventually came to include American art experts, but this cast seems to be mostly a Hollywood crew, and a largely fictionalized account.

Judging from the trailer, the intent appears to be largely the same, only with a little more bang for your buck, as George Clooney and Matt Damon lead a "Dirty Dozen" across battle lines in an attempt to keep Europe's valuable treasures out of Nazi hands, as well as caution Allied military leaders on what to target.  These actions didn't save Dresden, but that was in enemy territory, so I guess it was open season.

The real Monuments Men
Here, the focus is mostly on Italy, where the most valuable European treasures resided, as Allied Monuments Officers worked with the Italian soprintendenti to identify and save key monuments and art treasures.  This auxiliary team became known as the "Venus fixers."

The idea of saving Europe may have been unprecedented in modern warfare, but Napoleon similarly had a team of archeologists, art experts and the like brought along on the Egyptian front, documenting and taking many a fine treasure back to Paris, which would keep the Louvre well stocked for decades.

1 comment:

  1. The only thing I've seen in the news about this film is that some of the monuments "men" were women.