Friday, July 26, 2013

Adaptation, Please: The Candy Bombers

Adam C. Zern shares his thoughts on the Berlin Airlift, The Candy Bombers, and why it's a great historical event and a great story to be turned into a feature film:

"Most people would not have a good understanding of the 'Berlin Airlift' if it were mentioned to them.  I confess I knew nothing of it until reading Leon Uris's Armageddon.  It changed my feelings toward my country and has become one of my favorite moments in American history.  Last year I read Andrei Cherny's The Candy Bombers, and I am convinced the Berlin Airlift and the unprecedented historical circumstances that surrounded it could make an incredible film.

If a film were to be made revolving around the Berlin Airlift it would look a lot more like Spielberg's Lincoln than it would Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan.  The full frontal aggression and warfare had concluded by the time the Airlift was underway, but the political machinations and cold deliberations between the United States and the Soviet Union were just getting underway.  In fact, it was one of the first salvos in the Cold War.  Taking it from that angle, the film could focus on key Americans bearing the burden of leadership and how their decisions directly impacted the lives of Berliners.  Of necessity the film would have to create an emotional connection between the audience and Berliners; otherwise, you might as well make a documentary.  Giving sufficient time to show the Berliners' struggle to cope with their ruined city and nation and their subsequent struggle for freedom would be a way to create that connection. 

The beating heart of the film, however, should focus on the singular and moving action of the 'Candy Bombers.'  When I read of American pilots improvising miniature parachutes to attach to candy bars and dropping them from their planes over suffering Berliners I felt it was the most humanitarian action I had ever heard of.  I think the visual alone of floating candy bars slowly descending on a devastated city and its people could create a powerful reaction in the audience and a truly unforgettable moment. 

The Berlin Airlift was an extraordinary moment in American history and in the history of its military.  The event should inspire a film to showcase the tragedy and triumph included within the circumstances of the event and the people involved.  It is my sincere hope that I will eventually have the pleasure of watching one of America's finest moments on the big screen."

Other topics of interest:
Reflections: The Candy Bombers
Adaptation, Please: Mistborn
Writing History I Can't Forget: Leon Uris

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