In U.S. Navy pilot Dieter Dengler, filmmaker Werner Herzog sees most of the qualities he loves about America. It’s one reason he’s returning to the story of Dengler with “Rescue Dawn,” a feature film that follows his acclaimed 1997 documentary, “Little Dieter Needs to Fly.”
Shot down over Laos in 1966, Dengler was tortured and imprisoned for six months. He never lost hope or, oddly, his enthusiasm and concocted an elaborate escape plan that eventually led to his freedom after a harrowing run through the jungle.
“He embodies everything I like about America — loyalty, a frontier spirit, optimism and a very pragmatic approach to the adversities of life,” the German-born Herzog says. “He was exactly what a good soldier should be.”
Herzog calls “Rescue Dawn” a piece of “unfinished business,” a movie he knew he wanted to make after completing the documentary. Christian Bale plays Dengler, and Steve Zahn and Jeremy Davies portray fellow prisoners who don’t know whether to regard Dengler as a messiah or a menace.
[Read more…] about “Rescue Dawn” a timely Independence Day tale