Battle of Neretva (film)
|Battle of Neretva|
American poster for the Battle of Neretva
|Directed by||Veljko Bulajić|
|Produced by||Anthony B. Unger
Henry T. Weinstein
|Written by||Stevan Bulajić
|Music by||Bernard Herrmann
|Editing by||Vojislav Bjenjas
|Distributed by||American International Pictures|
|Running time||175 minutes|
|Budget||between $4.5 and $12 million|
Battle of Neretva (Serbo-croat: Bitka na Neretvi) is a 1969 Yugoslavian partisan film. The film was written by Stevan Bulajić and Veljko Bulajić, and directed by Veljko Bulajić. It is based on the true events of World War II. The Battle of the Neretva was due to a strategic plan for a combined Axis powers attack in 1943 against the Yugoslav Partisans. The plan was also known as the Fourth Enemy Offensive and occurred in the area of the Neretva river in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Battle of Neretva is the most expensive motion picture made in the SFR Yugoslavia. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, the year after Sergei Bondarchuk (playing the role of Martin in Neretva) won the honour for War and Peace. The score for the English-speaking versions was composed by Bernard Herrmann. An original soundtrack recording was released by Entr'acte Recording Society in 1974. It was re-released on Southern Cross Records on CD.
One of the original posters for the English version of the movie was made by Pablo Picasso, which, according to Bulajić, the famous painter agreed to do without payment, only requesting a case of the best Yugoslav wines.
Battle of Neretva was first of the huge state-sponsored World War II film productions. It had a staggering budget approved personally by Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito. Different sources put it anywhere between $4.5 million and $12 million. Global stars such as Sergei Bondarchuk, Yul Brynner, Franco Nero, Orson Welles, etc. flocked to communist Yugoslavia attracted by the huge sums of money being offered.
Shot over 16 months with funds put up in largest part by over 58 self-managed companies in Yugoslavia, the movie featured a combined battalion of 10,000 actual Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) soldiers. Four villages and a fortress were especially constructed for the film, and subsequently destroyed. Countless Soviet-made T-34 tanks that were touched up to look like German Tiger I tanks met the same fate.
Additionally, an actual railway bridge over Neretva River in Jablanica was destroyed. Director Bulajić's justification for taking down an actual bridge rather than getting the shots in studio was that a destroyed bridge would later become a tourist attraction. The bridge was thus blown up, but because none of the footage was usable due to the billowing smoke that made it impossible to see anything, it was decided that the bridge should be repaired and destroyed again. However, the problem with the excessive smoke occurred even when the bridge was blown up for the second time. Finally, the scenes of the bridge being blown up that eventually ended up in the film were shot using a small scale table-size replica at a sound stage in Prague.
- Sergei Bondarchuk as Martin
- Yul Brynner as Vlado
- Curt Jürgens as General Lohring
- Bata Živojinović as Stole
- Sylva Koscina as Danica
- Boris Dvornik as Stipe
- Hardy Krüger as Colonel Kranzer
- Franco Nero as Captain Michael Riva
- Lojze Rozman as Ivan
- Ljubiša Samardžić as Novak
- Orson Welles as Chetnik senator
- Milena Dravić as Nada
- Pavle Vuisić as Jordan
- Fabijan Šovagović as Boško
- Anthony Dawson as General Morelli
- Dušan Bulajić as chetnik officer
- Howard Ross as Sgt. Mario
- Oleg Vidov as Nikola
- Kole Angelovski as Žika
- Stole Aranđelović as Šumadinac
- Demeter Bitenc as Captain Schroeder
- Faruk Begolli as Lieutenant Horst
- Zaim Muzaferija as tall peasant in the Partisans column
In 1999, a poll of Croatian film fans found it to be one of the best Yugoslavian films ever made. People still enjoy it and it is prasised for being historically correct and entertaining at the same time. It still has fans all over the former SFRY.
- List of Yugoslav films
- List of most expensive non-English language films
- List of submissions to the 42nd Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
- List of Yugoslav submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
- Bitka na Neretvi (Croatian)
- "The 42nd Academy Awards (1970) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-11-16.
- Robna kuća: Bitka na Neretvi on YouTube[dead link]
- Glumci na služenju vojske!;Plavi vjesnik, July 1968
- Najveći honorari Bati i Ljubiši!;Plavi vjesnik, July 1968
- ""Tko pjeva, zlo ne misli" najbolji hrvatski film svih vremena!". Slobodna Dalmacija (in Croatian). 1999-11-28. Retrieved 2013-02-08.
- Bitka na Neretvi at the Internet Movie Database
- The Battle of Neretva at AllMovie
- Razgovor s Veljkom Bulajićem (Croatian)