Movies...the inspiration for so many creative ideas. In our youth, movies would inspire many a battle with our Marx Germans and Americans in the desert or on the slopes of the Navarone Mountain. I never had a big wheel...but I had the Navarone Mountain!!!
And yes, it was awesome! Many an epic battle would be fought over that mountain on my bedroom floor...much to mother's angst. And just like now...some of those battles would last all week. My mother learned to just shut my door in those days...cause the battle would be fought to its conclusion. Looking back, leaving a couple ASL boards set up all week is no big deal compared to an entire bedroom filled with fortifications...burnt out tanks...and the hundreds of plastic warriors battling for possession of the dresser in the corner. Ahh...what great days!
But tonight's post is not really about Marx Playsets. No, I thought I'd focus tonight on some key movie scenes that could be made into some fine ASL Scenarios.
The first of these movies is 1958's, The Young Lions. This movie follows the lives of a pair of Germans and a pair of Americans as the war overwhelms and shapes their lives. Marlon Brando and Maximillian Schell are the Germans with Montgomery Clift and Dean Martin as the Americans. The movie has always surprised me for its fairly sympathetic portrayal of Marlon Brando's German officer. And there are two scenes which I have always felt lent themselves very well to ASL scenarios.
The first of the two scenes involves Marlon Brando and a small, motorized section of German infantry as they enter the suburbs of Paris in 1940. As they approach the city, they come across a hastily thrown up roadblock defended by a mixed group of French Infantry. It's a short scene, but does a fair job of capturing a flanking maneuver as Brando successfully captures the roadblock and the French squad defending it.
Certainly for ASL, you could expand the concept to one or more roadblocks as a larger French force sought to delay a column of Germans entering the city limits.
The second scene takes place in North Africa and again shows Marlon Brando and Maximillian Schell preparing to ambush a British position at daybreak. The scene is well laid out and shows the effective use of machine guns and concealment terrain, such as would be available in the desert. Again, it's a quick scene with a very one-sided result as the British are more or less slaughtered. So balanced the scene is not! But again for ASL, the situation could easily be altered to allow for the British to have a bit more chance, rather than simply setting up in front of some MG-42's and getting rained on.
All in all, this scene is one of my all-time favorites from any movie.
The next movie up is 1949's Battleground, which dealt with the men of the 101st Airborne during the siege of Bastogne. This classic movie remains one of Hollywood's greatest. It's a nice, tight portrayal of American soldiers in combat during one of the more difficult periods experienced by US forces in the European theater.
Like many movies of that era, they are often long on personal story and short on battle scenes. Battleground is no different. The action is long in coming, but nonetheless, worth the wait. There is a terrific scene where the Germans in their snow camouflage emerge from the woods and approach a line of US foxholes. The scene is quick, but the action is furious and would play out well in an ASL scenario. Just get comfortable with snow rules and foxholes. A nice 4-5 turn scenario depicting a German infantry infiltration attempt in the snow covered woods could easily be thrown together. A few 7-4-7's an MMG and a bunch of German 4-4-7's and you have a tight little firefight.
As I'm thinking of adding a movie section to the Blog on a regular basis, we'll call this post complete. Perhaps monthly or every other month, I'll pull a couple other scenes and present them as possible ASL scenario material. I'll try to focus on the lesser know movies as well. There are some gems out there and perhaps even a few movies that many readers have not had the opportunity to see.
So we'll soon where this goes! Thanks for reading!