“Hitler’s Museum”

“Hotshots” looks at a movie!

The Monuments of Men - Movie PosterTHE MONUMENTS MEN is based on the men of the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section of the United States Army during World War II, as depicted in a fine new movie by George Clooney.

Based on the 2009 book by Robert Edsel, the men with special knowledge about art were recruited by the Army and charged with finding and retrieving works of fine art that had been looted and stolen by the Germany Army and to try to return the pieces to their rightful owners.

Clooney plays Frank Stokes, tasked with assembling the experienced men, and in 1944 we see him meeting James Granger, an art restorer and museum director played by Matt Damon, and asking him, “You want to get in the war?”

Also on the team are Bill Murray as an architect, John Goodman as a sculptor, Bob Balaban as a curator, Jean Dujardin as a Frenchman, and Hugh Bonneville as an Englishman, all with interesting back stories.

So, the men all go through rudimentary basic training, because they will be close to the front lines and in the midst of the fighting, even as the war is winding down.

They are told that they are fighting for their culture and their way of life, and they learn that Hitler has ordered that all the stolen art is to be destroyed by the Nazis if he dies or if Germany loses the war.

A running joke has Granger believing that his ability to speak French is much better than it really is, and he is sent to Paris, where he meets Claire Simone, played by Cate Blanchett, a Frenchwoman who was forced to help the Nazis catalogue all the pieces of art that they had stolen in and around Paris.

The team has enough trouble on their hands with fighting the Germans and discovering where they have hidden much of the artwork, but now the Russian Army is moving in from the east, and the Russians want to take whatever art they can find as reparation for all the losses that they have suffered at the hands of the Nazis.

The story has both comic elements and tragic elements as the team tries to retrieve the artwork that Hitler wanted in order to supply his own personal museum.

THE MONUMENTS MEN resonates to this day.

I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”