It’s not surprising that George Clooney and his producing/screenwriting partner Grant Heslov would choose to make a film with politically or socially oriented subject matter (see Argo or The Ides of March, for example). Adapting Robert M. Edsel’s true story, The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and The Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, hits a fair amount of both.
Speaking with The Wrap, Clooney revealed:
“I’m not opposed to doing a commercial film. I’m just opposed to doing a film that doesn’t feel organic to me. I want to do something that’s fun and actually has something to say. This film is big budget, and has the potential for a big box office. You can’t do it small, it’s landing in Normandy!”
The true story focuses on a special task force of both men and women in a race against time during World War II. These people were hand-picked art experts, historians, and museum curators chosen by the British and American governments for the purpose of recovering renowned works of art before Hitler either destroyed them or stashed them away. Hitler systematically picked clean the museums and private art collections of Europe during World War 2. These men and women risked their lives to prevent the complete destruction of culture.
The film specifically follows the eleven months between D-Day and V-E Day.
Robert M. Edsel created The Monument of Men Foundation in 2007 for the ongoing retrieval of art and artifacts stolen by the Nazis. As recently as this past March, two albums/logs were retrieved from Hitler’s private collection that document much of the stolen art. The albums were turned over to the National Archives.
The Monument Men also stars Cate Blanchett. It is co-produced by Columbia Pictures/20th Century Fox and Studio Bablesburg, and will be in theaters December 18, 2013.