Word to the Wise

I don’t believe that Francis Coppola was fired off Patton — i.e., relieved of screenwriting duties — solely because his 20th Century Fox bosses didn’t care for the opening speech-to-the-troops scene. (Other factors must have been in play.) But I love his message about how “the things you’re fired for when young are often the same things you’re given awards for later in life.” This bit appears on Patton DVD and Bluray.

8 thoughts on “Word to the Wise

  1. Rich S. on said:

    Coppola’s Patton screenplay is masterful. As I understand it, that opening scene almost caused George C. Scott to turn down the role, and I think they had to lie and promise him it wouldn’t lead off the film to get him to do it. It wasn’t because it was controversial, but because it was so strong. Scott was afraid the rest of the movie couldn’t live up to it.

    My one big theater regret is that I’ve never gotten to see this in 70mm. Franklin Schaffner shot the opening speech so that Scott’s figure when he walked out would be about six feet tall, giving the illusion that he was standing in the theater. I would love to have seen that.

  2. My understanding–though I don’t claim it to be 100% factual–is that the speech was always intended to be late in the film, and it was a last-minute inspiration by one of the editors to make it the opening.

  3. The movie begins without showing the 20th Century Fox logo, or any other indication that the film is starting. At military bases across the U.S.I’ve never gotten to see this in 70mm. Franklin Schaffner shot the opening speech.

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