Interesting Questions, Facts and Information
- There are a total of 20 general entries.
Interesting Questions, Facts, and Information
Cross of Iron
|What is the name of the song that is heard at the opening and closing credits?||Cross of Iron
Hanschen Klein. Translated into English:
He has gone
Out to see the world alone.
Staff and hat,
Look at that,
He's one happy cat.
But his mommy cries a lot
Now she has no Johnny got.
But you mind,
Come back to your kind.
Joy and tears,
John in many lands appears.
Then he thought
That he ought
To go home and got -
But now he's no Johnny small,
No, he is now big John tall.
Tall and tanned,
Face and hand.
Will they know this man?
One, two, three
Pass and see,
Don't know who this man might be.
"Who is this?"
Knows not who he is.
Then along comes mother dear,
Barely sees his eyes so clear,
Says: "My son,
God bless you my son.'
Written by Franz Wiedemann, and performed by a school choir during the opening and ending credits of the film, 'Hanschen Klein' is a traditional German folk song about the story of a young boy who goes out into the world and returns a man. The song is a simple melody known to most German school children.
The song was chosen and used by Peckinpah to contrast the innocence of the song lyrics and those who were singing it against the imagery of the evils of Hitler and what his ambitions brought about - the destruction of a continent and the deaths of millions of people.
Steiner laughing.. As Steiner and Stransky battle to escape, Stransky's machine pistol runs out of ammunition. Stransky pleads for help with his pistol but Steiner just laughs. This is how the movie fades out, before the images, the futility and senselessness of the war, pack home the final punch.
|Who carries out the order of firing on Steiner's men, after they are left behind during the retreat?||Cross of Iron
Triebig. Triebig, who is being blackmailed by Stransky, after his confession of being a homosexual, is told to fire upon Steiner as he is the only eyewitness left stopping Stransky from getting the Iron Cross. Steiner manages to avoid being shot, unfortunately most of battalion are machine gunned to death by soldiers under Triebig's orders.
After confronting Treibig in the trench and gaining the name of who ordered the shooting, Steiner shoots Triebig in revenge and sets off after Stransky.
|Who offers Hauptmann Stransky their Iron Cross, when Stransky makes his intentions clear?||Cross of Iron
Brandt. Hauptmann Stransky, played by Maximilian Schell, comes across as a vain officer of the old nobility. Leaving the comforts of France for his first front-line action in Russia, he quickly makes his intentions known to all that he is in Russia for an Iron Cross to maintain the honour of his family, and as soon as he has it, he will leave. After saying this, Brandt, disillusioned by the war, offers Stransky one of his Iron Crosses.
James Mason. Born in the gritty north of Yorkshire, England in 1909, Mason studied at Cambridge University where he discovered his taste for acting, so abandoned a planned career as an architect.
Mason first worked in the theatre, and became a prominent stage actor during the 1930s before moving into film in 1935. During World War Two, Mason, an ardent pacifist, decided not to join up in the service and continued making films during the war years.
Despite his pacifism, this did not stop Mason delivering a memorable performance in the 1951 film 'The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel' and he later played Rommel again in the 1953 film 'The Desert Rats'.
Unfortunately for such a gifted actor, Mason would also star in numerous films of low quality during the 1950s and 1960s, but did make some stellar choices such as working with Stanley Kubrick in the 1962 film 'Lolita' and 'Cross of Iron' was another chance for Mason to work with a director of exemplary ability. Mason also worked with legendary actors Gregory Peck and Sir Laurence Olivier in the 1978 film 'The Boys from Brazil'.
Mason continued his work in films right up to his death in 1984, passing away from a heart attack at his home in Switzerland.
Eastern Front. Set on the Eastern Front, the film is based around events after the retreat from Stalingrad and the eventual withdrawal of all German forces from Russia. 'Cross of Iron' is based around the particular German withdrawal from the Taman Peninsula in the Crimea, where the soldiers did everything they could to stop themselves being over-run and surrounded by the superior Russian forces.
It is in this setting that Steiner and Stransky go head to head in a battle of wills over the 'Cross of Iron'.
James Coburn. Born in 1928, Coburn studied acting at UCLA before moving on to New York and moving into stage acting. After gaining notice in several performances, Coburn moved on to the silver screen, starring in several westerns in minor roles before his big break in 'The Magnificent Seven' in 1960, alongside Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson. His first major war film role was in 'The Great Escape' in 1963, again alongside McQueen and Bronson.
Coburn first worked with Sam Peckinpah in 'Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid' in 1973, before working again with Bronson in 'Hard Times' in 1975. 'Cross of Iron' was Coburn's last major role for sometime as he was diagnosed with rheumatoid athritis and spent much of the 1980s dealing with the condition, only appearing in selected roles.
Coburn made many appearance alongside top Hollywood stars in movies such as 'Maverick' alongside Mel Gibson in 1994, 'Eraser' alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1996 and also provided the voice of Henry J. Waternoose in the smash hit 'Monsters Inc.' in 2001.
Coburn passed away from a heart attack in 2002.
Sam Peckinpah. 'Cross of Iron' is the story of a hardened war veteran who must survive the eventual onslaught of a larger, more powerful army in World War Two. At times disturbing, the film uses many experimental techniques, such as the use of hand-held camera's, to make the audience feel part of the action. The anti-war message of the film is brought home by Peckinpah, with the choice of song and pictures during the credits.
The movie is based on the book 'The Willing Flesh' by Willi Heinrich, first published in 1956, although later publications title the book 'Cross of Iron' to tie in with the film. It is thought that the book and film are based on the real life accounts of Johann Schwerdfeger, a multi-decorated officer of the German Army on the Eastern Front.
Peckinpah was born in California in 1925. After a lonesome childhood, Peckinpah applied to the US Marine Corps but, to his disappointment, did not see combat during World War Two, and enrolled at USC in 1948, studying theatre.
Peckinpah first came to attention as a scriptwriter in such shows as 'Gunsmoke' and won acclaim for his role in creating 'The Westerner' in 1960. His directoral debut came in 1961 for the film 'The Deadly Companions'.
Working with such actors as Charlton Heston in the 1965 film 'Major Dundee' highlighted the eccentricties of Peckinpah's character, with his abrasive manner even rubbing Heston up the wrong way. His manner also caused him to lose out the job of directing Steve McQueen in the film 'The Cincinatti Kid'.
Peckinpah earned his respect, and also his reputation, with his 1969 'The Wild Bunch', before moving on to direct McQueen again in 'The Getaway' in 1972. 'Cross of Iron', released in 1977, was Peckinpah's last major work, despite severe financial problems.
Peckinpah passed away in 1984 from a stroke.
|Steiner's company commander tried to get him killed on at least two occasions. Why?||Cross of Iron
Steiner knew he had lied to win The Iron Cross.. Steiner had been insubordinate and disrespectful towards Stransky from the beginning, since he recognised him to be the epitome of the officer class that he despised. In his attempt to win The Iron Cross, Stransky had filed a false report in which he claimed that he had led a successful counter-attack - the action that Leutnant Meyer had led while Stransky cowered in the bunker. Steiner refused to verify the report and Stransky was worried that he might be found out if Steiner lived to tell the tale.
When the Russians attacked in overwhelming numbers, Stransky deliberately did not pass on the order to Steiner and his men to retreat, and when those who survived tried to return through enemy lines, he ordered machine gunners to fire on them. But he still couldn't kill Steiner!
|Unlike most of the squad, Gefreiter Dietz and Gefreiter Zoll did not die in battle. What happened to them?||Cross of Iron
They were murdered by female enemy prisoners.. The platoon captured a number of Russian women soldiers at a farmhouse. Despite Steiner's warnings, too many of the men tried to 'fraternise' with the prisoners, and dropped their guard - with fatal results for Dietz and Zoll.
During World War Two, the Soviet army was unusual in deploying women soldiers in combat units.
|Hauptmann Stransky was driven in his desire for one thing above all else throughout the film. What was it?||Cross of Iron
The Iron Cross. The Iron Cross (Das Eiserne Kreuz) was established as a military honour by King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia in 1813, during The Napoleonic Wars. It was resurrected by Bismarck during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 and re-established by Kaiser Wilhelm II at the beginning of World War One.
Probably its most famous recipient was Adolf Hitler, who always wore it on the various uniforms he adopted. As an infantryman in WWI he was awarded The Iron Cross (2nd Class) in December 1914 for rescuing a wounded officer. In 1918 he was awarded The Iron Cross (1st Class) for single-handedly capturing a squad of French soldiers in No Man's Land.
After World War Two, German veterans were permitted to continue to wear the medal, but the swastika clasp was prohibited.
|How did Steiner react to a chance meeting with Obergefreiter Schnurrbart (one of his squad leaders) at the hospital?||Cross of Iron
He discharged himself and returned to the front.. While at the hospital, Steiner had developed a relationship with a nurse, Eva (played by Austrian actress Senta Berger). They had a deep discussion about the futility of war but Steiner found that his bond with his comrades was too strong to resist, even though his wounds were serious enough for him to remain in hospital. As he departed, Eva asserted, "Do you love the war so much? Or are you afraid of what you're going to be without it?"
|While Steiner was recovering from wounds in a hospital, a general visited the wounded soldiers, but failed in his attempt to shake a soldier's hand. How?||Cross of Iron
The soldier had no hands. The general had backed away from shaking Steiner's hand, put off possibly by his challenging stare and chestful of decorations. His embarrassment was completed, however, by his attempt to shake hands with a man who had had them blown off. Nevertheless, the general insisted that 65% of the men should be returned to active duty within three days.
A captured enemy boy soldier. The platoon captured a Russian boy soldier, Michail (played by Yugoslav actor Slavko Stimac), who they looked after in their dugout. Stransky ordered Steiner to, "dispose of him" - an order which Steiner refused to carry out. This was another cause of friction in their relationship. The boy was killed accidentally by his own side, shortly after Steiner released him.
|Who was the new company commander, who arrived at the beginning of the film?||Cross of Iron
Hauptmann Stransky. Hauptmann Stransky (played by Swiss actor Maximilian Schell) was a typical Prussian officer who had requested a transfer to the Russian Front out of the frustration that his military career, up until then, had been far away from the fighting. He regarded it as a matter of family honour that he prove himself in battle and had the medal to show for it - The Iron Cross. Once faced with the reality of war and the harsh conditions of the Russian Front, however, he proved to be cowardly and hid behind his rank and the rule book.
|Much of the tension in the movie was derived from the uneasy relationship between officers and men. Which officer did the men respect the most? ||Cross of Iron
Leutnant Meyer. Meyer, played by Yugoslav actor Igor Galo, was the only officer who showed his men respect and treated them as equals. They held a birthday party in his honour but, tragically, he died shortly after when he led a successful counter-attack.
|Which two highly acclaimed British actors played the parts of German officers in the film?||Cross of Iron
James Mason and David Warner. Apart from James Mason, David Warner and the American James Coburn (who played the lead role of Unteroffizier Steiner), the rest of the cast were a mix of actors from Central Europe who were generally little known to an English language audience. The backing for the project came from Germany, Yugoslavia and Britain and it was filmed in Yugoslavia with up to 600 extras supplied by the Yugoslav army.
It was unusual for an English language film to have Germans as its main protagonists but, from his success in roles in films that had attempted it previously ('The Desert Fox' and 'The Blue Max') James Mason's presence was regarded as essential to woo American and British audiences at the Box Office.
|'Cross of Iron' was based on 'The Willing Flesh', a hard-hitting war novel by which writer?||Cross of Iron
Willi Heinrich. 'The Willing Flesh' had been first published in 1956. It was based on Heinrich's own experiences as a soldier on the Eastern Front in World War Two.
Director Sam Peckinpah accepted an offer from German producer Wolf Hartwig to direct a film version. In doing so, Peckinpah turned down offers from Dino Di Laurentiis to direct 'King Kong' and from Warner Bros. to direct 'Superman', but he had always been attracted by the idea of making a war movie.