Thursday, 6 January 2011

The Bridges of Toko Ri

That the two leaders survive also offended many. This contrasts with the other William Holden film experienced again, The Bridges of Toko Ri.

In contrast to the Wild Bunch, the point of this film is summoned up by the captain of a Carrier when he observes where do we find such men in awe of their heroism and technical abilities.

This 1954 film follows the James Michener story which in turns has a basis of fact in terms of missions from the Carriers the Essex and the Valley Forge upon which Michener was a war Korean Correspondent and from where aircraft undertook key missions to destroy the closely guarded bridges over the gorge at Toko Ri and also covers rescue mission by helicopter for downed pilots in the sea and on the mainland.

William Holden plays one of the Bomber pilots who is angry at being called up after serving in World War II, returning home , setting up a successful legal business. Marrying a beautiful wife (Grace Kelly) with two adorable children. The wife is daughter of a senator and managers to get permission to visit her husband in Japan where the vessel go for shore leave, However on the first night of their reunion Holden is called away to help the pilot of the ship’s rescue helicopter who became fighting drunk and destructive after finding that his Japanese girl friend had fallen for an Essex man. And finds himself unsurprisingly in the naval jail.

He has become a great friend of all the airman because of his own bravery and that of the winchman and who recently rescued Holden who had to ditch in the sea between Korea and the ship. The ship’s captain takes special interest because Holden is of a similar age and married status as his son who was killed in action. He meets with William and his wife in Japan and continues with a meal with the family while William is away rescuing Rooney. Kelly is unable to face the reality of the situation of her husband and the Captain fears for her mental health in the future as the next mission William will face is the Bridges. His daughter in law reacted in the arms of anyone and everyone and alcohol, and his wife who had to bear the loss of their two sons retreated into mental illness. Before setting of Grace forces herself and William to tell of his next assignment and risks.

There is a further confrontation between Rooney and the man from the Essex who sees saying goodbye to his former girl friend as Holden says goodbye to Grace as both ships head out to sea for the Toko Ri mission. The captain arranged for Rooney and his winch man to be transferred to South Korean mainland to undertakes rescue missions for pilots who have to ditch planes while overland. A feature of Rooney is the wearing of blue tall hat and scarf which enables pilots to rescue the successful rescue pilot is on his way to them.

William is asked to undertake a photo recognisance mission which brings home the risk as he escort the photo taking plane through the run over the gorge and four road and rail bridges with anti aircraft fire come from sides at regular intervals. He begins to panic at thought of not returning especially having had time with his wife and children. His plane is damaged and he loses fuel, not from the eventually successful double run over the bridges but from the second assignment of adjacent fuel and weapons dumps. He nearly makes it to the sea but is forces to crash land in enemy held territory but managed to get into a narrow drainage channel close to the aircraft. Fighter planes from the carriers keep the enemy away until Rooney arrives, but the helicopter is also hit and force to land. Rooney makes it into the channel to join Holden but the winchman is killed. The Planes can only stay for a while before their fuel runs out and they have to leave the two who put up a fight until they are killed by the superior forces against them. There was a similar incident while Michener was on one of the ships as war correspondent and he believed the downed pilots had been killed. In fact they survived, were captured and subsequently repatriated. The success of the film is the death of three men we come to care about and the knowledge of a woman and their children left to mourn, sugared in this instance by a romantic time together immediately beforehand,

After losing over Christmas and beginning to head towards the regulation zone Newcastle has had two great wins, the latest another 5.0 home win in the absence of injured Carroll, The star performance was jointly held by new recruit Leon best who has languished in the lower league for over five years. He scored the traditional hat trick of three goals on his first team debut. The other star was captain former bad boy Joey Barton whose repeated bad behaviour off and on the pitched led many, including myself to believe his career should have been ended. He ha sis now replaying those who kept faith with him. As with Sunderland there are many individuals who have impressed this season and begin to show what can be done if they work together as a team.

Sunderland who one place below a European spot next season had another impressive away win at Aston Villa with both sides reduced two ten men because of red card offences. With other top teams failing notably Chelsea and Liverpool Sunderland now have a good chance of making Europe if they can maintain their recent overall good form. Newcastle will also not have to face relegation. The test for both teams is next Sunday at noon when they meet at Stadium of Light with Sunderland still wounded from their 5.0 collapse. A score draw 2.2. 3.3 would be a fair result in present circumstances

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