Would Bernie Webber Have Been Happy with “The Finest Hours”

Posted: February 1, 2016 in Contemporary Commentary
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“I wonder what Bernie would think,” said a writer friend of mine.  “He was so meticulous in his telling of the story, that he may not have appreciated all the liberties the screenwriters took.”

Would Bernie have liked the film?

Oh, hell no.  HELL no.

Not at first anyway.

Bernie wasn’t happy with any account of the rescue, including his own.

He was okay with “Two Tankers Down” but wrote me:

“…it is difficult for me to read such a glorifying accout. To this day it was one of the many challenges of service life and going to sea for 24 years thereafter on all kinds of buckets makes it pale to some of the other adventures faced….”

And he would not let me forget that somehow in the sea of ink in galleys, in one spot ever so briefly, I put the wrong number on a rescue boat.  He was peeved at that for days. Only reluctantly, over a couple of weeks did he acknowledge the book got it right, more or less and all his Coast Guard peers thought so

Bernie on the red carpet? He avoided the limelight and never profited from the rescue and in fact suffered a great deal as a result of the spotlight

But I sincerely think he would have warmed to this.

I think he would have enjoyed seeing Miriam portrayed as a glamorous woman, which he is exactly how he saw her. And after hurling his popcorn at the screen a couple of times, I think he would have recognized the larger truth here.

The spirt of the rescue was accurately portrayed.  The film could have gone wrong 10,000 different ways.  But the screen writers and director and actors shot the bar on this one, in my opinion

I think Bernie would have agreed.  Eventually.

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