Have a question for Jim? Send him a message using the contact form.
Don Fox, from Jacksonville, author of “Patton’s Vanguard,” my favorite history of the 4th Armored wrote:
Jim…I just this evening came across your web site. The content was fantastic. I must ask: Any prospect of having your screenplay brought to life? I have often said that the greatest topic for a WWII movie is the story of the Hammelburg raid. It is better than any fictional story could ever be. Your passion for the topic is abundant; I wish you the very best in your endeavors to have the film produced!
My Answer: So very nice to hear from you. Your name comes up often at the Ft. Snelling Round Table discussions and rumors of getting you get you on the program again. I relied heavily upon your unparalleled, terrific book in my descriptions of the Bulge battles in my “Patton: The Madness behind the Genius.”
Thanks for your encouragement on the screenplay. I agree that “Patton’s Secret Mission” could be the greatest WWII tank story of all time. And it’s all true and needs no Hollywood embellishments. As a full time medical researcher in 2006 I couldn’t find an agent, nor did I have time to promote the script. Sometimes it takes time. It took seven years for “Saving Private Ryan to find a producer.” If there is anything you can do to give it a nudge, I’d be extremely grateful. Warmest regards, Jim
P.S. We have enough extra material for at least a five part TV mini-series, with logical cliff-hanging points. The suspense builds and builds. This is probably the most realistic way to make this movie these days. Remember, the TV mini-series “Band of Brothers” grossed over a billion dollars worldwide.
James from Tennessee asks: Why does the world need another Patton biography? The work of Blumenson, D’Este, and others have been thoroughly researched.
My answer: We understand much more about psychology today than we did twenty years ago, and we have new diagnostic tools. I am taking the opportunity to research the research—a second generation biography.
Susan from Nebraska asks: How accurate was the portrayal of George C. Scott in the movie Patton (1970)?
My answer: I loved that movie at the time. But after researching General Patton’s character, I realized how inadequate the Scott portrayal had been. For example, instead of Scott’s gravel voice, Patton had a high-pitched, almost squeaky voice (listen under Patton Memorabilia), which he compensated for by using profanity. The movie reinforced better than any press agent could have the macho, Cowboy General image that Patton projected, and barely touched the contradictions of his personality.
David from Georgia asks: You got to know many of the survivors of the Hammelburg raid. Who were the favorite characters in your screenplay?
My answer: There were many. Irv Solotoff saved his own life while awaiting execution by killing a dozing German guard with his bare hands. That was hard to believe when I met this kind and gentle man. Milt Koshiol from my home state of Minnesota after his capture was caught carrying a medal he had removed from a dead German. His life was spared by a whisker — and a wink from his German captor. I talk in more detail about tank driver W. C. Henson and tank commander Bill Nutto under My Heroes.