One of the fascinating pieces of trivia below is true*, the other is false. Do YOU know which is which?
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
1) In the D-Day landing sequence, there are anti-landing obstacles all along the beach. One type, nicknamed “Czech Hedgehogs,” being short and prickly and was designed to rip open the hulls of the landing craft as they approached, and the other being long poles pointing at an angle. Officially called Hemmbalken, they were made out of wood or metal and angled towards the beach, most being topped with a Teller mine (anti-tank mine) and placed in rows. The Germans expected the Allies to land at high tide, to minimize the open space that the infantry had to cross, and the beach obstacles were designed with this in mind. The plan was that the landing craft would ride onto the poles, which, at high tide, would be underwater, and detonate the AT mines, causing death and destruction. However, the Allies landed at low tide, making the obstacles visible, and useless.
2) Tom Hanks and the rest of the cast who played the soldiers under his command underwent a rigorous boot camp weeks before filming to help them get into character and build camaraderie. Hanks decided that as the leader he needed to ratchet up the sense of tension and urgency among the group, so he led them on frequent simulated missions to save “Private Ryan,” who was represented by Hanks’s brother, Jim. Tom would routinely tie Jim to a tree and have him surrounded by “Nazi” guards while he awaited rescue from the cast, who would go through a rigorous obstacle course. However, Tom always set an unrealistically short amount of time for the cast to get to Jim, and each time they would fail to reach him before the time limit was up, resulting in Jim being shot in the back of the head point blank with rubber bullets. This would continue for days on end, sometimes as many as 40 times a day. While the cast’s times eventually improved, they were still nowhere near fast enough, and Jim’s painful cries persistently rang throughout the camp, and eventually stopped altogether after he took so many rubber bullet shots to the base of his skull he literally forgot how to cry. On the last day of camp, the cast posted their best time yet, but were still off the mark by 17 minutes. Tom then gave them a 4-hour speech about how disappointed he would be if he wasn’t already so delighted at both Jim’s discomfort and the cast’s now-seething hatred for Jim. He praised the Nazi actors for their good work, then shot Jim in both knees with real bullets, instructing him to “Either crawl back to freedom or to Hell, I don’t give a fuck which.” Tom Hanks went on to be nominated in the category of Best Performer, Male, at the Toronto Film Critics Association Awards, thereby fully justifying his actions.