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  #1  
Old 19 October 2015, 21:38
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Bridge of Spies

Short version: Good flick. I recommend it.

Long version – contains spoilers…








No gun fights, no massive explosions, no saving the world. Just a very solid drama based on a true story.

Interesting combination of Spielberg as the director and the Coen brothers as the writers, and it shows in the film. Solid and clever dialogue. Tom Hanks gives another great performance. Mark Rylance, who plays the Russian spy Rudolf Abel, was outstanding.

I like how they attempted to demonstrate that the Constitution always applies and those in power will “interpret” it as they see fit. I have no doubt some of this was intended as a reminder given contemporary conditions. But it never devolved into an overt political message one way or the other in my opinion. The inclusion of some old-school tradecraft (authentic or not) was a welcome change from all the cyber/tech craft in modern movies.

I don’t know how close they stayed to the actual story, but if it is remotely close, Jim Donovan was a very resourceful and capable man. I knew of his historical role in this exchange – but I did not know of his later work in negotiating with Cuba for the Bay of Pigs refugees. And if he really did recommend Abel not receive the death penalty for the reasons provided – the guy was almost clairvoyant.

Last point (and definitely spoiler-worthy) – for those who have seen the movie: I am wondering about the truth of the “spend the dollar” instructions given to the pilots to prevent capture. We all hear about spies and cyanide teeth, etc. – but I am not convinced they would actually expect these pilots to check themselves out in a capture situation. But hey, there was no SERE school back then, so who knows…
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Old 19 October 2015, 21:45
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Looking forward to seeing this one.
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Old 19 October 2015, 23:58
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I had the good fortune to function within the re-entrance of Gary Powers into the return and future that he chose. A friend of mine was the go-between approver of Gary's exchange on the bridge. A close friend had to do the exchange so a double could not be run in on us. A simple question like, "What did we have for dinner on Xmas?" would do wonders for verifying Gary.

Men have an unknown breaking point and a point of fear. Yes, there is a pill. Gary was a pilot, not a SpecForces Frog.

Gary Powers was killed in a Helo crash in Encino, CA., while flying as traffic advisor for KNBC. Those whom knew Gary did not forget. One enterprising Agency employee stationed in So. Calif. tried to "dress down" to deliver flowers "personally" to the widow. But discussions with old hands surfaced the realization that the press would be all over any visitors. And Agency personnel whom were working cover, and most are, would not get past the press and perhaps even fired for exposing the particular operation/station the exposed employee was attached to.

Much later was the only time I came quickly to the defense of the Agency in public. A blow-hard was telling another how the Agency had screwed over Gary. I did not realize I was so in-bed with the subject. But I was on the loud mouth like a mad wife. Of course, at this time I had Retired out and had years of episodes to make noise about.
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Old 20 October 2015, 00:08
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Thank you, once again Cass, for sharing some of your history and experience.

Please, write the book !!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cass View Post
I had the good fortune to function within the re-entrance of Gary Powers into the return and future that he chose. A friend of mine was the go-between approver of Gary's exchange on the bridge. A close friend had to do the exchange so a double could not be run in on us. A simple question like, "What did we have for dinner on Xmas?" would do wonders for verifying Gary.

Men have an unknown breaking point and a point of fear. Yes, there is a pill. Gary was a pilot, not a SpecForces Frog.

Gary Powers was killed in a Helo crash in Encino, CA., while flying as traffic advisor for KNBC. Those whom knew Gary did not forget. One enterprising Agency employee stationed in So. Calif. tried to "dress down" to deliver flowers "personally" to the widow. But discussions with old hands surfaced the realization that the press would be all over any visitors. And Agency personnel whom were working cover, and most are, would not get past the press and perhaps even fired for exposing the particular operation/station the exposed employee was attached to.

Much later was the only time I came quickly to the defense of the Agency in public. A blow-hard was telling another how the Agency had screwed over Gary. I did not realize I was so in-bed with the subject. But I was on the loud mouth like a mad wife. Of course, at this time I had Retired out and had years of episodes to make noise about.
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Old 20 October 2015, 16:03
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Great movie. Worth seeing in theaters, IMO.
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Old 20 October 2015, 20:02
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Gary Powers' son tried to set up a Cold War Museum in Lorton, VA. onthe ground of the former DC jail.
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Old 20 October 2015, 23:43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usmc_3m View Post
Thank you, once again Cass, for sharing some of your history and experience.

Please, write the book !!
I talk a good short game. But a whole book? My massacring of the English language would be unbearable to the eye.
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Old 21 October 2015, 00:11
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Looking forward to seeing this and the inevitable sequel with Cass as the main character. I'm thinking Ben Foster from Lone Survivor would be a good fit for the role.
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Old 21 October 2015, 00:14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockville View Post
Gary Powers' son tried to set up a Cold War Museum in Lorton, VA. onthe ground of the former DC jail.
Looks like he succeeded, sort of.

http://www.coldwar.org/

It's only open on weekends. Not in Lorton, though.
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  #10  
Old 21 October 2015, 00:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cass View Post
I talk a good short game. But a whole book? My massacring of the English language would be unbearable to the eye.
A collection of 'short games' sir, would make a book. A decent editor would help with the massacree of the Queen's Inglish.

The book would be of great benefit, for several reasons. Please, write the book.
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Old 21 October 2015, 12:33
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Originally Posted by Medic09 View Post
A collection of 'short games' sir, would make a book. A decent editor would help with the massacree of the Queen's Inglish.

The book would be of great benefit, for several reasons. Please, write the book.
I am flattered with the suggestions of a book. And yes, I have been asked to write for many years and from previous military webs. I do feel my varied travels, private episodes, and varied professional depths would make at least a decent read. However, I am not an author nor primary to a ghost writer. Also, my private life does not lend me taking the time to document a book or even a "Based on true facts" revelation.

I thank the many whom have suggested I write a book. But I think the better course is to lay silent and allow what is presently a positive reputation go without disturbance.
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Old 21 October 2015, 13:27
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The suicide needle concealed in a coin (silver dollar) was real.

It was given to the pilot with the instruction "if you want ..."

Gary Powers said he might have considered it, if he was being tortured. But he realized almost immediately that if he were ever captured, a United States silver dollar would be immediately seized, if only as a "war trophy" and under no circumstances would have followed him into a prison cell.
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Old 22 October 2015, 09:53
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Cass, as always, much respect for not only your service but your sharing of it here. Your 'book' is contained within these forums

Thank you again
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Old 22 October 2015, 11:53
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Enjoyed the movie. Would have liked to have seen more of the back story on Abel and his operation and arrest, its fascinating. The hollow nickel was hugely important to that case, but took a long time to connect to Abel. Could have had some fun showing some of the tradecraft.

Also found it annoying that the showed the wall going up in the winter, when it went up in August of 61.

Cass, I second the need for writing down your stories. Or at least just reciting them in to a recording device for some one else to review edit later.
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Old 22 October 2015, 12:20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veritatem Cognoscere View Post
Enjoyed the movie. Would have liked to have seen more of the back story on Abel and his operation and arrest, its fascinating. The hollow nickel was hugely important to that case, but took a long time to connect to Abel. Could have had some fun showing some of the tradecraft.

<snip>
Yes, I totally agree. More of this part of the story would have added to the story. Perhaps the editor chopped some of that out since the movie is already at 2:20...
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Old 22 October 2015, 12:21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cass View Post
I am flattered with the suggestions of a book. And yes, I have been asked to write for many years and from previous military webs. I do feel my varied travels, private episodes, and varied professional depths would make at least a decent read. However, I am not an author nor primary to a ghost writer. Also, my private life does not lend me taking the time to document a book or even a "Based on true facts" revelation.

I thank the many whom have suggested I write a book. But I think the better course is to lay silent and allow what is presently a positive reputation go without disturbance.
Roger that, sir. I get it.
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Old 22 October 2015, 20:02
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...the better course is to lay silent and allow what is presently a positive reputation go without disturbance.
Whoever writes definitions for dictionaries and the like should paraphrase that, and add it to the definition of quiet professional.
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  #18  
Old 31 October 2015, 23:50
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Saw it tonight. Good movie. Also wished more had been in the movie about Abel's work in the US.
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Old 1 November 2015, 08:00
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Two thumbs up. Solid flick. You didn't realize it was three hours long.
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  #20  
Old 2 November 2015, 12:08
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Looking forward to seeing it. There is a screening locally with a Q&A afterward with Gary Francis Powers Jr; unfortunately I will have to miss that. I imagine he has some unique insight.
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