[FILM] Philippine War Movie (The Great Raid starring Benjamin Bratt) Opens
- Philippine war movie set to hit US theaters this year
MANILA (AFP) - A 50-million-dollar movie bankrolled by US media
giant Miramax about the most successful rescue mission in American
military history is set to hit theaters worldwide in August,
"The Great Raid", starring Hollywood actor Benjamin Bratt alongside
Filipino movie icon Cesar Montano, tells how a group of US soldiers
slip behind Japanese lines in the closing stages of World War II to
rescue more than 500 American prisoners in a camp in the northern
Philippine province of Cabanatuan.
The film was shot on location in Shanghai and Australia in three
months in 2002 and is partly being promoted in Manila to mark the
60th anniversary of the liberation.
Other actors are James Franco who plays US scout ranger Bob Prince
and Joe Fiennes. It is directed by John Dahl.
Based on the book "Ghost Soldiers" by US author Hampton Sides
and "The Great Raid" by Bill Breuer, the movie tells the story of
how Filipino guerrillas led by Captain Juan Pajota backed the US
troops in rescuing the POWs on January 8, 1945.
The concentation camp in Cabanatuan was the largest maintained by
Japanese forces during the war, and American prisoners kept in
squalid conditions thought they had been forgotten.
"This (rescue) was a massive operation that had very little chance
of making it and a lot of chances for failing. So it's almost like a
Hollywood movie that it couldn't really happen, but it did. That was
why we were attracted to the material," said producer Marty Katz.
"It was a story that no one knew about but it is the most successful
rescue mission in American history," he said.
"It took 60 years to finally get this story told but it has finally
happened and it is great to be here in the Philippines," added
Sides. "It drives the point that while this is a very stirring
Hollywood drama, it is also based on real events and it is really
extraordinary that this story isn't better known."
Katz said Montano's performance as Captain Pajota in his first
international movie was riveting.