OPERATION MARKET GARDEN – Hell’s Highway

Mark Barnes
 
 
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The BHTV team returns with a further episode of the Market Garden saga with an account of the events involving the 101st Airborne Division and XXX Corps in their attempt to force a route through to Arnhem.

As we know this is a well trodden story, both in print and on celluloid; so it is something of a challenge to produce a package which tells the story in a way to keep viewer onside, especially one with knowledge of the campaign.  As with the Arnhem episode we reviewed previously, this one uses the same technique mixing location filming, archive footage, living history elements and talking heads.

The presenting team dovetail together nicely and they interact very well. I like the way they keep the viewer in mind of how all the elements of the battle overlapped but this outing lacks much of the dramatic pace of the Arnhem outing.

The welcome appearance of British veterans, including none other than Lord Carrington, the former Foreign Secretary, gives a good degree of kudos to the end product and it’s safe to say we’ll see him again. It’s a shame we don’t hear from any American veterans and I’d like to have heard more from the Brits on hand. Maps and diagrams are interspersed carefully and the result is a story told with clarity.

Just like the previous film, I am not convinced all the living history footage works entirely well; but, in truth, one can see how it is all meant to fit together and overall, it helps things along by adding a bit of colour. There is a very nice sequence involving Keith Brigstock of the Garrison group which fits in really well as he explains the role of elements of the Royal Artillery.

It is always interesting to get an impression of how the battlefield looks today and the location episodes of the film add real strength to the story.  Coverage of the German reaction to the operation is as good as always and we see how they moved to halt the advance using all the resources they had available. This adds a degree of balance the film really benefits from.

The film concludes with analysis of the dramatic events which delayed the overall plan with such fateful consequences for the British at Arnhem and in conjunction with others yet to be released it does the job of making a pilgrimage to the battlefield very enticing.

All in all, this is a good film and I look forward to the Nijmegen instalment due out soon.

Mark Barnes

OPERATION MARKET GARDEN
Hell’s Highway
Pen & Sword Digital DVD 107 mins
£16.99