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Posted on Feb 25, 2006 in Armchair Reading, Front Page Features

Band of Brothers – A Few Nostalgic Words and a Photographic Retrospective

By Roach

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Above, some other snapshots around the set from the Brecourt episode, albeit for different scenes and at a different location from where the assault on the guns was filmed. Note the trooper with the missing arm; sadly, no trick photography involved here. Also note the ubiquitous coffee cup – there are always plenty of opportunities between scenes to have a cup of coffee!
Pictures courtesy of J Rowe

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Tom Hanks on set
Picture courtesy of J Rowe

Hanks himself directed Episode 5 of the series. Arriving without the monumental beard that he had sported in pre-production (he had been filming Castaway at the time), it soon became clear that he knew exactly what he was looking to achieve, without applying the rod of authority too hard. He could usually be found to be in good humour and the inevitable cries from the massed ranks of a Company of Waffen SS troopers of "Run Forrest, Run!" as he returned from an ‘in the field’ bathroom break did not fail to bring a smile to his face! Also in true Hitchcock fashion he slipped into the episode in the guise of a British paratrooper – as pictured above with one of the webbing team.

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Dale Dye was once again the Military Advisor in charge of getting the actors, the Special Ability extras who would be forming the core background actors, as well as all the daily extras that came and went, into shape. The regime he imposed upon his core men was much more vigorous than had been the case on SPR, and he did well in creating a well-knit group of men at the end of it. He seemed to be more knowledgeable about the period this time around than he had on SPR, which did serve to make things run more smoothly. Even so, Dale himself can be a somewhat bristly character on occasion and could often drive the crew to distraction with some of his ‘orders’ not all of which seemed entirely sensible. On the other hand he has a mellow side too, and certainly seems to enjoy what he does. He has certainly made a success of it and good luck to him for doing so.

The locations for most of the episodes were either at the Hatfield base in Hertfordshire, or within easy travelling distance of it; nearby Hatfield Park was used extensively for the scenes involving Foy. Curiously enough the Tomb Raider crew was also using Hatfield Park at the same time, although Lara Croft totally failed to arrive to help Easy Company sort out the enemy!

The one exception to the rule of using nearby locations was of course the scenes for the Episode which called for the men of Easy Company to capture Berchestgarten. With the natural mountain scenery being somewhat scant in the Hatfield area the unit moved to its one overseas location, with Switzerland doubling for Austria and the Eagles Nest. The movement of equipment to Switzerland provided its own complications other than a logistical one. Switzerland has extremely strict controls on importation and exportation of goods, so the accounting of equipment had to be exact; every item of equipment had to be checked in and out of the country and, with souvenir hunters always on the look out for pickings, this was no mean feat to accomplish.

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