I’ve no idea how the subject came up a few days ago when I was talking with my son. But suddenly he was telling me what Tom Clancy had told him a few years ago*: In the movie The Hunt for Red October (1990), the idea to have the Russian submariners sing was heavily influenced by Tom’s memory of the Panzer song in Battle of the Bulge (1965). While my son remembered the Red October theme and burst into a made-up English rendition, I immediately recalled the scene in Battle of the Bulge where the German tank commander was driving uphill into flames while the Panzer song swelled in the background. Apparently Tom found it as memorable as I did. Having found clips from both movies, however, I’d have to say I think Battle of the Bulge did it better.
(The last video is the highlight here, if you aren’t in the mood for all three.)
From The Hunt for Red October (with apologies for ads I can’t control):
Hmm, I sure don’t remember the inside of that sub being so shiny …
The scene I remembered from Battle of the Bulge:**
And the full rendition of the Panzer song as sung earlier in the movie:
Is it any wonder Tom remembered this and wanted something similar in his movie? How could anyone not be moved by this? Whether in Hollywood or in real life, the military certainly knows music.
*Yes, Tom was a family friend
**The video I originally posted was in English. As so often happens with YouTube, it disappeared a few years later and I couldn’t find another copy. Then, just today (4/24/19) I saw that a German clip had appeared in its place. I don’t know how it happened, but I’m delighted to have it again, regardless of language.
Also on Pied Type:
- Becoming Tom Clancy: Letters from Tom — Part 1
- Becoming Tom Clancy: Letters from Tom — Part 2
- Becoming Tom Clancy: Letters from Tom — Part 3
- Becoming Tom Clancy: Letters from Tom — Part 4