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Abbie Kealy - The Last Ridge
This one-hour program is based on McKay Jenkins' book (jenkins-2003). The main value of this program is the historic film footage. There is footage of the ski troops training on Mt Rainier in Washington and at Camp Hale in Colorado. I think these scenes may be from the films Ski Patrol by John Jay (1942) and Mountain Fighters by Warner Brothers (1943), which I have not yet located.
The program contains many interviews with 10th Mountain Division veterans but I found the interview clips unsatisfying because they were so short. The interviews generally provide brief impressions rather than much information. Northwest veterans Duke Watson (5:20) and Karl Stingl (9:00 and 47:25) are briefly shown. The program's description of the formation and training of the division is conventional. The combat story is light, since there isn't time to dig into details. My overall impression of the program is that it is a "feel good" treatment of the subject and that McKay Jenkins' book (and others) are better sources of information.
The DVD contains 45 minutes of special features including:
- Meet the men - Comments from John Litchfield, Bill Brown, Bob Parker, Harry Coleman, Jim Barr, Sam Morrison.
- Training scenes:
- Comments from John Woodward about early ski patrols and Mt Rainier training, illustrated by historic film clips.
- Reenactment footage staged by the 10th Mountain Division Living History Display Group with comments from WWII veterans: Dillon Snell, Berk Ellis, Newc Eldredge, Robert Krear, Jim Barr, Moni Wuerslin, Bill Brown, and Tap Tapley.
- Modern aerial scenes around Camp Hale.
- War stories: Riva Ridge (Robert Thompson) Belvedere (Bob Parker), Della Torraccia (Duke Watson, Stu Elkind, Vik Eklund), 10th Cavalry (Jack Davis), Torre Iussi (Percy Rideout).
- Italian Alpini song: "Sul Cappello" (On the Hat).
- Afganistan Patrol, modern segment.
- Walter Reed Hospital, WWII and modern veterans.
- Chat with author McKay Jenkins.
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