George Clooney’s latest directorial offering, Monuments Men, is not exactly getting five-star reviews, yet after watching Charlie Rose‘s mindblowing interview with Robert Edsel — the man who wrote the true story which inspired the film — I feel like I absolutely need to see this story on the big screen.
Robert Edsel’s The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History was published in September 2010, and caught the attention of Clooney’s close friend, collaborator, and screenwriting partner Grant Heslov. And for good reason. The synopsis of the true story reads as follows: “At the same time Adolf Hitler was attempting to take over the western world, his armies were methodically seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures in Europe. The Fuehrer had begun cataloguing the art he planned to collect as well as the art he would destroy: ‘degenerate’ works he despised. In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Momuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture. Focusing on the eleven-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world’s great art from the Nazis.”
In Rose’s conversation with Edsel, we are privy to an extraordinary series of stories from the remarkable true events, including: how the Italians stacked a mountain of bricks around Michelangelo’s “David” in order to preserve it from a possible bombing; the sandbag mountain that surrounded Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” which came within a hair of being completely obliterated by a British bomb that accidentally fell within feet of it; and the unbelievable story of how one Monument Man’s chance encounter with a German dentist ended up being the critical key to saving the greatest works of art in Western history from certain destruction.
You can watch Rose’s interview with Edsel above, and watch what happens when Edsel opens a box in front of Charlie which contains one of Hitler’s most important objects from his private office. Charlie also spends an hour with Monuments Men co-star Bill Murray where he discusses his role in the film, and gives us a rare and intimate glimpse into his private life.