Last Days of Patton
Drama, War | 146 mins | Released: 1986
Director: Delbert Mann
Starring: George C Scott, Richard Dysart, Murray Hamilton, Ed Lauter, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Horst Janson, Daniel Benzali
Our Rating: 6
As a result of General George S. Patton’s (George C. Scott) decision to use former Nazis to help reconstruct post-World War II Germany (and publicly defending the practice), General Dwight Eisenhower (Richard Dysart) removes him from that task and reassigns him to supervise “an army of clerks” whose task is to write the official history of the U.S. military involvement in World War II.
Shortly thereafter, on December 9, 1945 (a day before he was to transfer back to the United States), Patton is involved in an automobile accident that seriously injures his spinal column, paralyzing him. As he lies in his hospital bed, he flashes back to earlier pivotal moments in his life, including stories his father told him of his grandfather’s service during the American Civil War which inspired him to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point, his marriage to his wife Beatrice (Eva Marie Saint), and his championing of the use of tanks in the United States Army.
President Harry S. Truman and other government officials, not wanting Patton to die on German soil, order him transferred to a stateside hospital. Preparations, including a full plaster body cast, are made, but Patton dies of an embolism on December 21, 1945.
The Last Days of Patton is a 1986 made-for-television film sequel to the 1970 film Patton, which portrays the last few months of the general’s life. George C. Scott reprises the role of General George S. Patton, and Eva Marie Saint portrays Beatrice Patton, the general’s wife. It was directed by Delbert Mann, his final film.
Murray Hamilton’s final acting role.
Scott was a close friend of both actors Steven Young and Paul Stevens.
When Gen. Patton gives his farewell address to the 3rd Army most of the extras were actual USAF airmen from RAF Mildenhall.
The scene where he is in the hospital shows actual outside footage of the then-130th Station Hospital in Heidelberg (actually Rohrbach then, in a former German signal base), where he was treated and died, without the more modern clinic building that would be in the way of the shot today. There is a plaque in the hospital beside the door of the room he died in.
Alan MacNaughton like George C. Scott had acted in the film Patton: Lust for Glory but playing a different character.
This is the second time that Richard Dysart played Eisenhower the first time was in Churchill and The Generals.
Watch the WW II documentary Victory at Sea here.