BrianRxm Coins in Movies 76/131
The Monuments Men (2014)
Film results in Congressional Gold Medal award
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The 2004 Columbia Pictures "The Monuments Men" is about a group of museum curators, artists,
and art experts who are assembled during World War II to go to Europe to recover art objects
stolen by the Nazis and return them to their owners.
The publicity generated by this film caused the United States Congress to honor the Monuments Men
with the Congressional Gold Medal.
The film was based on actual events but the film characters are fictitious.
Some parts of the film are deadly serious but much of the film is a service comedy about middle-aged
men in the service.
Frank Stokes makes a presentation to President Roosevelt about art and cultural objects being destroyed
in Europe by the various armies, some accidently and some intentionally.
He also explains that the Nazis have a program of stealing cultural objects.
Nazi general Hermann Göring is stealing art for himself and other Nazis are stealing for Adolf Hitler's
planned Führer Museum.
Frank is given a US Army commission to assemble a group of men to head to Europe and rescue and
recover as much of these objects as they can.
Frank contacts men that he knows, most of whom are middle-aged and not in good shape
to become soldiers. Most are Americans but some are from England and France.
Monuments Men
1. Hermann Göring visits the museum
The film begins with top Nazi Hermann Göring visiting the Paris Jeu de Paume Museum
to select the latest batch of paintings for his collection.
Viktor Stahl is a Nazi official has been using the museum as a collection point for art stolen
in France. Claire Simone is a French woman who works there and she has been secretly writing down
descriptions of the items being taken.
In Washington DC museum director Frank Stokes gives a presentation to President Roosevelt
on the destruction of artistic and cultural items and asks that efforts be made to preserve them.
Monuments Men
2. Frank Stokes gives his presentation
Stokes is given an Army commission to assemble the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives group.
He first contacts James Granger, another museum director, and then Richard Campbell, an architect.
Monuments Men
3. Title
Richard Campbell (Bill Murray) sees two men in uniform and know he is about to be drafted.
Next is Walter Garfield, a sculptor.
Monuments Men
4. Walter gets drafted
More men are added and they head for some comical army basic training.
Meanwhile in Berlin...
Monuments Men
5. Adolf looks over his city
Adolf Hitler is looking over a planned model of his Führer Museum.
In July 1944 the men land in France.
Monuments Men
6. The Monuments Men arrive in France
The active military commanders think that saving art is silly and refuse to assist the men.
They are resourceful and obtain jeeps and military equipment.
Some troops capture Germans with old paintings and Frank recognizes works by Vermeer and
other well-known artists.
A German-speaking American soldier finds out where the Germans were taking the paintings.
Monuments Men
7. The men look at a map
One of Frank's men heads for Bruges and finds a Michaelangelo statue.
The Nazis arrive to remove the statue and kill the man.
In Paris, James Granger contacts French museum worker Claire Simone and asks her for help.
She refuses as she believes that the Americans want to steal the art for themselves, however
she does show him around Paris. and takes him to a warehouse filled with household items.
Monuments Men
8. Claire shows James the warehouse
Claire tells James that the Nazis stole just about anything they could get their hands on.
Meanwhile the Russians are also collecting things.
Monuments Men
9. Russians are looking
Russian "trophy brigades" are moving through Germany taking art items.
Richard develops a toothache and he and Preston visit a German dentist.
Afterwards the three visit the dentist's friend and his family.
Monuments Men
10. Richard and Preston meet the family
The friend is is Stahl of the Jeu de Paume but looking less dangerous in civilan clothes.
Preston asks about the paintings on the wall and Stahl tells him they are copies.
They aren't and the Americans drive off with Stahl, who is later arrested.
In Paris, Claire sees a newspaper article about the arrest of Stahl and now trusts James.
She gives him a list of items which she saw being shipped to Germany and tells him that
they went to mines for storage.
Some of the men head for the mines where they find paintings.
Monuments Men
11. The men find some paintings in a mine
Richard explores further and finds something else.
Monuments Men
12. Not art but will impress generals more
They find a huge cache of gold bars and bags. Although not shown in the film, the bags contained
gold coins from all over Europe and from the United States.
The American generals who previously paid little attention to the Monuments Men are now interested.
Monuments Men
13. The generals hold a news conference
Although not stated, the generals included George Patton and Dwight Eisenhower.
The lads learn that some of the goods are stored in a castle.
Monuments Men
14. Neuschwanstein castle
Neuschwanstein castle was built in the 1880's by King Ludwig II of Bavaria.
It is sometimes called the "fairy tale castle" and is the model for the "Sleeping Beauty" castle at Disneyland.
The men find more art items, including very important set of Belgian religious paintings called
the "Ghent Altarpiece".
Monuments Men
15. Ghent Altarpiece painting
Frank has been searching for a stolen Michaelangelo statue called the "Madonna of Bruges".
He feels that he has to find and recover it as his man was killed trying to protect it.
Monuments Men
16. Frank discovers something
It is the statue.
Monuments Men
17. Michelangelo Madonna of Bruges
The Russians are coming and the Americans hurriedly remove everything including the statue.
They leave something for the Russians.
Monuments Men
18. Russian officer is disappointed
The war is over and Frank is back in Washington DC to give a presentation to the new President Truman.
Monuments Men
19. Frank gives another presentation
The projected picture shows the real General Eisenhower with some paintings.
People have asked Frank whether the recovery effort was worth the lives of the men lost.
Monuments Men
20. An older Frank shows his grandson the Michaelangelo statue
He says "yes".
George Clooney as Frank Stokes
Matt Damon as James Granger
Bill Murray as Richard Campbell
John Goodman as Walter Garfield
Cate Blanchett as Claire Simone
Director: George Clooney
Writers: George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Robert M. Edsel, Bret Witter
The Congressional Gold Medal:
The Congressional Gold Medal is an award bestowed by the United States Congress since 1776.
It has been given to individuals including generals, politicians, aviators, and film stars.
It has also been given to groups, including various World War II units.
The film was the subject of a publicity campaign which included books, television documentaries and
interviews with surviving Monuments Men.
The publicity prompted the Congress to award the medal to the Monuments Men on June 9, 2014,
a few months after the film was released.
The US Mint sells bronze copies of the medal:
Monuments Men
21. US World War II Monuments Men Medal
Bronze, 38mm, 25.84gm
Men holding painting
Excerpts from old paintings
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