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Battle of the Bulge (16 December 1965)

Appearing as Lt. Weaver

Synopsis from the Warner Bros. Pressbook:

By December 1944, an optimistic feeling exists among the Allied forces that the war in Europe has been won and that the Nazi armies are on the brink of total collapse.

One man who doubts it is Lt. Col. Kiley (Henry Fonda). He suspects that the Germans must be planning a renewed assault amidst the fog-shrouded, snowbound Ardennes Forest. His suspicions are ridiculted by Col. Pritchard (Dana Andrews) and questioned by Gen. Gray (Robert Ryan).

But German Col. Hessler (Robert Shaw) is the man who could prove the validity of Kiley's uneasiness. For behind the Siegfriend Line he is mounting a surprise attack with a formidable array of Tiger tanks that could split the Allied forces and turn the tide of the war. German soliders, led by Schumacher (Ty Hardin), masquerading as American military police, will also be parachuted behind the lines, to sow confusion. While he prepares for this massive, last-ditch attack, the colonel is favored by the attentions of a blonde courtesan (Barbara Werle).

The attack begins. The Americans are overwhelmed by the mighty Tiger tanks of frenetic Col. Hessler, who is accompanied by his doubting orderly (Hans Christian Blech). The disguised paratroopers switch road signs, to compound the American retreat, and blow up bridges.

Sgt. Guffy (Telly Savalas), a tough tank fighter, makes a detour to check his farmhouse "place of business" and bid goodbye to his Belgian sweetheart (Pier Angeli). War-hardened Sgt. Duquesne (George Montgomery) is unable to avoid capture along with a green officer, Lt. Weaver (James MacArthur). At Malmedy they are among the prisoners assembled in a clearing. As they attempt to escape, the sergeant is shot down while the lieutenant flees.

Gen. Gray and Col. Kiley are forced to retreat from Ambleve as it is systematically destroyed by the Germans. It occurs to Kiley that Hessler's greatest weakness must be gasoline: without he cannot move his tanks.

The American general lines up puny Sherman tanks in battle formation to face the onslaught of the Germans. By playing hide and seek in the woods, he hopes to run them out of gas. It almost works. But Hessler catches on to the strategy and, taking 15 of his tanks, heads out of battle toward a depot stocked with the fuel which will enable him to go on to Antwerp.

The depot, he knows, has been seized by German MP's in disguise, who have slaughtered the Americans under orders to burn the fuel. Sgt. Guffy picks up Lt. Weaver and they go to the fuel depot, where they find Kiley wounded in the crash of a scouting plane.

Kiley sees that the MP's in charge are Germans. As Weaver arrives, Kiley's eyes tell the young lieutenant the story. Weaver and Guffy cut down the treacherous MP's.

They then see Hessler's tanks approaching, the prize within the German commander's grasp. The Americans overturn the gasoline drums, using Guffy's tank to shove them down the hill toward Hessler's panzers. The fuel pours out, and the road is turned into a blazing inferno, enveloping the entire German column. Hessler, his men and tanks go up in flames, and the cleverly planned breakthrough is stopped.

Click here to view a full gallery of images from this performance or here to view two pages of previously unpublished publicity photos.

Battle of the Bulge Video Cover

Battle of the Bulge paperback cover

James MacArthur

James MacArthur

James MacArthur, Henry Fonda

James MacArthur

James MacArthur

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