Friday, November 8, 2013

The Bridge on the River Kwai - A Reminder of Infamy

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature - School on Blog 
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio, 
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday
A visit to the famous (infamous) Bridge on the River Kwai, brings back memories to the old, art to the young, and a reminder to humanity. 

"The notorious Burma-Siam railway, built by Commonwealth, Dutch and American prisoners of war, was a Japanese project driven by the need for improved communications to support the large Japanese army in Burma. During its construction, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 civilians also died in the course of the project, chiefly forced labour brought from Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, or conscripted in Siam (Thailand) and Burma. Two labour forces, one based in Siam and the other in Burma worked from opposite ends of the line towards the centre." Wikipedia

The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 British-American World War II film directed by David Lean, based on the eponymous French novel (1952) by Pierre Boulle. The film is a work of fiction but borrows the construction of the Burma Railway in 1942–43 for its historical setting. It stars William Holden, Jack Hawkins, Alec Guinness, and Sessue Hayakawa. The film was filmed in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). The bridge in the film was located near Kitulgala.

The film achieved near universal critical acclaim, winning seven Academy Awards (including Best Picture) at the 30th Academy Awards, and in 1997, this film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and selected for preservation in the United States Library of Congress National Film Registry. It is widely considered to be one of the greatest films of all time.

Academy Awards
The Bridge on the River Kwai won seven Oscars:
·         Best Picture — Sam Spiegel
·         Best Director — David Lean
·         Best Actor — Alec Guinness
·         Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium — Michael Wilson, Carl Foreman, Pierre Boulle
·         Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Film — Malcolm Arnold
·         Best Film Editing — Peter Taylor
·         Best Cinematography — Jack Hildyard
It was nominated for
·         Best Actor in a Supporting Role — Sessue Hayakawa
BAFTA Awards
Winner of 3 BAFTA Awards
·         Best British Film — David Lean, Sam Spiegel
·         Best Film from any Source — David Lean, Sam Spiegel
·         Best British Actor — Alec Guinness
Golden Globe Awards
Winner of 3 Golden Globes
·         Best Motion Picture — Drama — David Lean, Sam Spiegel
·         Best Director — David Lean
·         Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama — Alec Guinness

The bridge over the River Kwai The round truss spans are the originals; the angular replace- ments were supplied by the Japanese as war reparations. 

Actual Location: Kanchanaburi, in Myanmar border, is home to the famous Bridge River Kwai. During WW II, Japan constructed the meter-gauge railway line from Ban Pong, Thailand to Thanbyuzayat, Burma. The line passing through the scenic Three Pagodas Pass runs for 250 miles. This is now known as the Death Railway.
The railway line was meant to transport cargo daily to India, to back up their planned attack on India. The construction was done using POWs and Asian slave laborers in unfavorable conditions. The work started in October 1942 was completed in a year. Due to the difficult terrain, thousands of laborers lost their lives. It is believed that one life was lost for each sleeper laid in the track.

At the nearby Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, around 7,000 POWs, who sacrificed their lives in the railway construction, are buried. Another 2,000 are laid to rest at the Chungkai Cemetery.

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