News / Arts & Entertainment

'The Monuments Men' Brings History to Life

'The Monuments Men' Brings History to Lifei
X
February 13, 2014 1:55 AM
George Clooney’s WWII drama “The Monuments Men” is based on the real story of a handful of men sent by the Allied forces to Europe to recover art stolen by the Nazis and return it to their rightful owners. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Penelope Poulou
Is art worth risking life and limb for? This question lies at the heart of George Clooney’s WWII drama “The Monuments Men.” The film, directed and co-written by the actor, is based on the real story of a handful of men sent by the Allied forces to Europe to recover art stolen by the Nazis and return it to their rightful owners.

As WWII came to a close, President Roosevelt authorized a team of art experts to go to German-occupied Europe and salvage masterpieces looted by the Nazis.
 
George Clooney interprets the real life team leader, George Leslie Stout. From 1944-1945, Stout supervised the recovery and removal of several thousand works of art, hidden in salt mines, churches, and other locations in Europe.

The film and its cast bring to life, with some poetic license, the group called “The Monuments Men.”
 
A map of some locations of where the team traveled in Europe is now on display at the Smithsonian's American Art Museum in Washington.

Curator Kate Haw says the film accurately portrays the documents and pictures on display.

“Many of the Monuments’ Men came back from the war and became great figures in the museum field and academic field of art history," said Haw.

George Stout founded the first American art conservation laboratory. Captain James Rorimer went on to become the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Matt Damon's character in the film, James Granger, is based on Rorimer.

Character Claire Simone was, in real life, curator Rose Valland. She played a central role in the masterpieces' recovery.

“She was a curator who works at the Jeu de Paume, the museum of contemporary art," said actor Cate Blanchett, who was cast as Claire Simone in the film.

“She was watching all of these Nazi leaders choose the art and send it off to different places," said Damon.

“Rose Valland spoke German but she didn’t let the Nazis know that," Haw said. "And so, she listens carefully to what they were saying. She took copious notes of what was coming into the Jeu de Paume and where it went."

Without Valland’s inventory and pictures she gave Rorimer, many of these masterpieces could have been lost forever.

The Smithsonian exhibit pays tribute to the Monuments Men. But it's Hollywood’s more emotional rendition that has put the team and their operation on the map.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller has made a name for herself appearing with such high-profile artists as Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Tia and her quartet performed music from her CD “Angelic Warrior” on our latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."