Just two days before George Clooney brings the drama and action of one of the greatest treasure hunts in history to life in “The Monuments Men,” the National Geographic Channel (NGC) is proud to present the documentary companion to the feature film.
Hunting Hitler’s Stolen Treasures: The Monuments Men sheds light on an unlikely unit of middle-aged art scholars that rescued thousands of years’ worth of European art and culture from Nazi-occupied Europe. The remarkable true story is told through the personal accounts of a surviving member of the actual Monuments Men unit, interviews with expert historians and family members, and candid conversations with the A-list actors who appear in the movie. The one-hour television special (premiering Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NGC) weaves together extensive archive video and photographs, journals and letter extracts, along with exclusive footage from the feature film, to offer a unique blend of nonfiction storytelling with a flair of Hollywood cinema.
“Art is the soul of a society, it represents the very best things that we have achieved, and to go after that art and try to rescue it and try to save it and protect it and preserve it is this incredibly noble endeavor,” explains actor Matt Damon when asked about the significance of the Monuments Men’s role in World War II.
As the Allies fought to liberate Europe, it was the Monuments Men’s job to save its soul. Volunteering for the front lines of the bloodiest war in history, these brave men, among them museum curators, artists, architects and art historians, hunted down thousands of cultural treasures that had been stolen from the private collections of wealthy Jews. During the final years of World War II, Adolf Hitler plundered Renaissance masterpieces, Michelangelos, DaVincis and a mind-boggling number of priceless historic artifacts. They even “burnt Picassos, they burnt Salvador Dalis, they burnt Klees, they just pulled them out and burned them,” explains Clooney. The looting was all part of the Third Reich’s vision to culturally dominate the world.
Starting just a month after the first shot was fired on D-Day and ending in the desperate last days of the Soviet advance on Berlin, Hunting Hitler’s Stolen Treasures: The Monuments Men charts the remarkable journey of this overlooked group who risked their lives to save, recover and return an estimated 5 million irreplaceable pieces of art and cultural artifacts stolen by the Nazis during World War II. Without the deliberate actions taken by the Monuments Men, an important chapter of history would have been completely lost.
Hunting Hitler’s Stolen Treasures: The Monuments Men is produced for National Geographic Channel by October Films. For October Films, executive producer is Adam Bullmore, producer is Rebecca Hayman and director is Paul Nelson. For National Geographic Channel, executive producer is Hannah Demidowicz and president is Howard T. Owens.
Source: tvbythenumbers.com, 1/30/14