General Patton-The Man and the Movie

Reminds me of the scene where Patton insists the company cook wear “leggings” – and then fines him for protesing.

Patton said on several occassions: “A man who won’t fuck won’t fight.”

Scott prepped heavily for the role and watched every piece of film of Patton that he could find. He said in interviews that he intensely disliked the man, but he did his best to portray the man as accurately as he could.

Sampiro, I’ve not heard your story (not denying it’s validity, mind you) about the lawsuit. I know that the producers contacted the family about doing the film before they ever started work on it, and the family refused to cooperate, which was understandable, since the producers just happened to call the family on the day that Patton’s widow died and were obviously too upset to think about such things. One of Patton’s grandchildren described going to the theater with his father to see the film, and seeing his father weep because of how good Scott’s performance was.

Ralph as for Patton making it into Berlin in 10 days, I asked that question in GQ and there seems to be some doubt that he could have. For any newbies who might be reading that thread, I’d like to point out that David Simmons is a WWII vet, and if he thinks that Patton couldn’t have done it, well, that’s good enough for me.

The uniform issue is fairly well documented. He was a showhorse.

As for having that clash of egos with Montgomery, I can’t say that I have read anything about it particularly, but given British attitudes of the era, and Patton’s behavior when he met Marshall Zhukov*, it sure sounds likely.

BTW, I thought that he didn’t simply believe he was the rebirth of a long line of ancient warriors, but also the rebirth of Hannibal. Is this correct?
*In the movie he’s shown refusing to stand or share a toast with “that son-of-a-bitch.” Which was pretty close to how I recall Zhukov describing the scene in his own autobiography.

Trivia: Pancho Barnes knew Patton, when she was a young socialite and before she became a famed aviatrix. (I learned to fly at Barnes Aviation, where dad’s planes were on leaseback.)

The bullet is the arse he actually copped in WW1, at Meuse-Argonne, figthin alongside Cpt. Harry Truman.


It would make sense if it were. You might think Hannibal was a bad model for a general who wants to win in the end. OTOH, Hannibal was probably the greatest general in human history ever to end up a loser.

Carlo D’Este, in his book A Genius for War begs to differ, painting Willie as somewhat of a coward.

BTW, what are “leggings”? And why would a soldier wear them?

Leggings are heavy canvas wraps that go from above the footwear to just below the knee. They are intended to keep barbed wire from catching on the soldier’s pants and tripping him in no-man’s land.

They actually do look pretty sharp in the dress version. But they’re comfortable only if you’re looking at the alternative of having barbed wire stabbing your legs while running.

These. Worn to protect the lower legs, and to keep dirt out of one’s boots.

Oh, spit.

It would be very stupid for a general posted in North Africa (as Patton was, in the scene I mentioned) to require his soldiers to wear such. They might keep the dirt out, but they would also make the soldier too hot to fight effectively.

But Patton was apparently a stickler for The Regulations, and if The Regulations dictated that leggings were to be worn, worn they would be.

I recall coming across a Bill Mauldin cartoon depicting a couple of typical—i.e., somewhat ragged and bearded—GIs in a battered Jeep, stopped before a sign indicating that they were entering the Third Army area (Patton’s command). The sign detailed fines for various infractions: $25 for being unshaven, $35 for having the Jeep’s windshield raised, $50 for having the top up, etc.; and since they were in a driving rainstorm, they had their windshield and top up. The caption: “Radio the Old Man and tell him we’ll be late on account of a thousand-mile detour.”

Is it true Patton hated Mauldin’s Up Front strip so much he once threatened to have Mauldin arrested?

IIRC, Patton threatened to ban Stars and Stripes from being distributed in Third Army’s sector. Mauldin gives a detailed recounting of his own specially arranged tete-a-tete with Patton in his autobiography, The Brass Ring. (An excellent book, IMHO.)

This immediately raises the question of why the regs would be stickling about these jeep configurations (keeping the visibility porfile low?). Of course, the cartoon (it was probably “Willie and Joe”) could just be spoofing.

Dunno about the top, but the glass in the windshield would reflect light off of it, thus attracting attention, quite possibly from enemy snipers.

The strip was called “Up Front,” IIRC. Willie and Joe were the continuing characters.

Found something:

Here is a biography of Patton I read last year. It was an outstanding read. It confirms many things you would pick up about Patton in the movie (prima donna, believed in reincarnation, wrote poetry, slapped enlisted men, etc.). It also touches on elements glossed over or left out of the movie – the womanizing, the Olympic medal (yep!), the civilian massacres that took place under his command in Italy and were arguably due to an interpretation of his orders, etc.