|Saving Private Ryan|
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Spielberg"s Role: Director, Co-ProducerUS Release Date: 1993
This FAQ was created by Jack Macpherson in response to many type of repetitive concerns on the ALT.MOVIES.SPIELBERG Usenet group. It has been reorganized, and posted to civicpride-kusatsu.net" Stalso Spielberg Directory to aid answer prevalent questions. If you have an comments about the content of the FAQ, please send them to Mr. Macpherchild.
Keep in mind from the author:
Thanks to all the folks that sent suggestions and inputs. While no suggests definitive, this must anser the majority of folks questions around the film. It"s practically become a "Dummies Guide to D-Day." The questions store putting in, maintaining the one-male research department busy. Thanks to all the folks (as well numerous to name) for offering so many kind of of the answers.
Plot - Production - History - Miscellaneous
Q: Is the German soldier captured at the Radar Site and then released by Captain Miller the exact same one who stabbed Private Mellish to death?
A: No. The German POW, Steamboat Willie, did not kill Mellish. Mellishs killer was a member of the Waffen SS. Steamwatercraft Willie was an plain Germale infantrymale. When Mellish and the SS trooper fight, notification the SS collar insignia on the Germale and his SS camouflaged smock.
Q: Why did Miller have actually Wade accompany the squad on the attack on the machine-gun nest?
A: Probably an oversight of the film. One would certainly have to assume that Miller directed Wade to reprimary behind with Upham however that Wade disobeyed in order to remajor close to his comrades. That would not have been inexplicable habits for a combat medic.
Q: Is there a clue in the opening scene as to the identity of the old man at the cemetery?
A: Yes. Hes wearing the division pin of the 101st Airborne Division. Who is the featured character that belongs to the Screaming Eagles? Private Ryan.
Q: What does Captain Miller say to Ryan on the bridge?
A: James . . . earn this, and then Earn it, obviously telling him to live a life worthy of the lives sacrificed to rescue him.
Q: What did Upham say when he caught the Germale soldiers at the finish of the film?
A: Upham (preventing the running group): "Drop your guns--every one of you, drop them!" Steamwatercraft Willie then sassist, "I know this soldier. I understand this male . . . Upham." After Upham swarm Steamwatercraft Willie, he then sassist to the rest of the adversary soldiers, "take a hike . . . run!"
Q: What did Mellishs killer say to him?
A: "Give in . . . you have actually no various other choice . . . make it less complicated for both of us . . . . shhhhhh."
Q: What did Fish (Mellish) say to Caparzo once he handed him the Hitler Youth knife?
A: "Now it"s a Shabbat challah cutter." (bcheck out knife).
Q: What was Caparzo trying to give to Fish after hed been shot?
A: A V-mail letter to his father. He wanted it rereplicated so his father wouldn"t see all the blood on the letter. V-mail was totally free mail residence for the GIs. Caparzo"s father wouldn"t have obtained the original bloodstained letter in any type of case. To conserve valuable cargo space, the V-mail letters were microfilmed and then redeveloped back in the States.
Q: Why didnt Mellish store all the ammunition with him rather of leaving it through Upham?
A: The defense plan referred to as for Mellish and also Henderboy to fire and also dislocation or shoot and scoot. Mellish mentioned to Upham that they would certainly be fallin back like crazy. Despite its name, a light machine gun and also all its accessories isnt all that light. The last thing Mellish and also Henderboy wanted to be burdened with while theyre bugging out is extra ammunition. It made feeling to save it at a rearward area and also have actually Upham distribute it as needed.
Q: What was leading to Captain Miller"s hand to shake?
A: A reaction to the anxiety of combat undoubtedly. His character had actually remained in combat for 2 years, as revealed by the discussions between him and also Sergeant Horvath. He"d checked out combat in such locations as Kasserine Pass in North Africa and also Anzio in Italy. As an infanattempt officer, Miller has actually beaten the odds so far simply by still being alive. The First Ranger Battalion had actually been decimated in Anzio and also rerelocated from the U.S. Army"s order of battle. In other words, Captain Miller has actually been under intense pressure for 2 years. He additionally suffers vigorously from the deaths of each among his guys and also he has shed many kind of.
Q: Early in the film, Captain Miller reports to Lt. Col Anderson (Dennis Farina), his battalion commander, and also gets his assignment to "Save Private Ryan." (In reality, the second Ranger C.O. was Lt. Col Rudder.) Miller first briefs Anderson on what he"s been doing and points to a space on the map wright here he took out Gerguy towed 88MM artillery. But later in the film, when the squad is debating whether to assault the machine gun colony at the radar website, Pvt. Jackson claims "we left them 88s," and also Miller states "yeah, for the Air Force." Did they attack the 88s or not? Is that an error?
A: No, just an outcome of editing. Jackkid is talking around different 88s. When Miller and also his merry males set off from Omaha Beach, they"re in a jeep. Next off we check out them on foot. What remained in the manuscript yet omitted from the finiburned product was as soon as their jeep came under fire from Gerguy 88s and also was destroyed, in addition to many of their ammunition. (Remember as soon as Capt Miller tells Capt Hamill in Neuville that they lost most of their ammunition?) Those are the 88s Jackboy is talking around. Spielberg had to modify out about 20 minutes of the film so it wouldn"t be rated NC-17.
Q: Did Upham really shoot Steamboat Willie? His body does not show up visible as soon as Upham tells the other Germans to bug out.
A: Yes, he shot him. The screen shot is so tight that you can only just make out Steamboat Willie"s boot. But Upham is looking dvery own at the body. Besides, the script says he did.
Q: Where is Pvt Jackson meant to be from?
Q: How old is Captain Miller?
A: Let"s use some reverse design. He"s been in the Rangers considering that the North Africa project. That"s means he more than likely joined the Military shortly after Pearl Harbor. Let"s say he"s been in nearly three years. Then he sassist he taught high college for eleven years. He can have actually taught in other places before then, however let"s just leave his teaching career at elalso. He was more than likely no younger than 22 when he finished college. That makes him around 36 at the youngest. By means of contrast, James Gavin, that was the assistant department commander of the 8second Airborne at Normandy, was a Lieutenant General at age 36.
Q: Would Captain Miller have won the Medal of Honor for his actions?
A: Probably and in the book, he was awarded it posthumously. However, in the film we understand he wasn"t offered the Medal of Honor. How have the right to we tell? At the Omaha Beach cemetery, the winners of the Medal of Honor have actually the name on their cross highlighted through gold lettering. Miller"s cross wasn"t.
Q: If Miller"s squad remained in such a hurry, why did they take the moment to bury Wade and also those dead paratroopers from the 8second Airborne?
A: In actual life, they probably wouldn"t have. After making all that noise, they would certainly have actually been anxious to gain on dvery own the road prior to foe infantry or artillery came calling. They"re supposed to be behind adversary lines, after all. But remember, this is a movie. We would have missed all that drama with Steamboat Willie. Events have to be compressed to tell the story.
Q: Why didn"t the Tiger tanks use their bow machine gun? They might have actually conveniently wiped out many type of of the Americans through it.
A: Excellent question and one we"ve wondered about likewise. We"ve come up via 3 feasible solutions:The tanks were out of machine gun ammo. The machine guns were not operable. The machine gun ammo came from Oskar Schindler"s factory in Czechoslovakia.
Q: Where was the movie filmed?
A: The D-Day invasion scene was filmed at Wexford, Ireland also. The remainder of the movie was filmed in England also. The village of Ramelle was developed at a previous British Aeroroom manufacturing facility.
Q: Where were the opening and cshedding scenes filmed?
A: At the UNITED STATE Military Cemetery at Ste. Laurent-sur-Mer, France, which is on the bluffs above Omaha Beach.
Q: Is the film based upon a true story?
A: Yes yet rather loosely. The real Private Ryan was Private Fritz Niland also of the 101st Airborne Division. Two of his brothers were killed at Normandy and a third was reported lacking and also presumed dead in Burma. The Military issued an order to carry Private Niland also house but nobody was sent trying to find him because nobody knew where he was. He was discovered two weeks later on, unconscious of what had actually transpired. His brvarious other in Burma later turned up alive.
Q: Why were no Allied soldiers shown in the film?
A: According to Steven Spielberg, this was a film around an Amerihave the right to squad searching for an Amerideserve to soldier in the Amerihave the right to sector. It was not a documentary around the Normandy battle. That was done in "The Longest Day." The Allied departments that landed at Normandy had actually strict boundary lines, via the Amerideserve to troops on the right or West flank. The direction that Captain Miller"s squad took to look for Private Ryan took them northwest, also additionally away from the British and also Canadian sectors. If it will certainly make the Allied faithful any kind of happier, Barry Pepper, that portrayed Pvt. Jackboy, is a Canadian.
Q: Why were no babsence soldiers portrayed in the film?
A: The U.S. Military was segregated during World War II. Although black systems did watch combat in the time of the battle, no black combat devices landed on D-Day.
Q: What is the meaning of that Blue and also Gray yin-and-yang symbol worn by Corporal Upham?
A: That is the department patch of the 2ninth Infanattempt Division, a National Guard Division via troops from Virginia, Maryland, and also DC It was well-known as the Blue-Gray Division, bereason it had regiments through ties to both the Confederate and also Union Armies. All U.S. soldiers wore their department patch on their left shoulder.
Q: How exact are the weapons and unidevelops in the film?
A: Considering the manufacturing agency is trying to reproduce devices that is over 50 years old, the tools and also unicreates are incredibly specific. Every unidevelop for the cast and also extras had to be produced and then made to look worn. An example of the trouble Speilberg checked out is the soldiers" boots. His costume director found the agency that made the U.S. Army"s combat boots in World War II and also obtained the specific instructions and patterns. Then she had 2000 pairs of boots made and also aged for the actors.
Q: Plastic bags didnt exist in 1944. How come the soldiers landing on Omaha Beach are presented through tools enclosed in plastic bags?
A: Those werent plastic bags but bags made from a substance well-known as PLIOFILM. Amerihave the right to soldiers at Normandy offered such bags.
Q: What were the steel obstacles the Amerihave the right to troops sheltered behind on Omaha Beach?
A: Those obstacles were component of the Germale defenses and also were intended to rip out the bottom of Allied landing craft. Rommel and his staff assumed the Allies would certainly attempt to land at high tide, reducing the amount of open beach the Allied troops would need to cover. If the Allies had landed at high tide, those metal obstacles would have been effective. However before, Allied planners chosen to land at low tide to reveal the obstacles.
Q: Why did so many type of of the Gerguy soldiers at the battle of Ramelle have actually such brief haircuts?
A: Since many type of of the extras in the film were active duty soldiers and also had short haircuts.
Q: Who are the Sullivan brothers the army colonel at the War Department referred to? He said something about after what happened to the Sullivan brothers, the army break-up the Ryan brothers up.
A: The Sullivan brothers were 5 brothers from Waterloo, Iowa that offered aboard the light cruiser U.S.S. Juneau. All five brothers were killed in activity in the naval battles of Guadacanal. After that event the army took action to proccasion brothers from serving in the very same unit to prevent similar tragedies.
Q: What were the Rangers and paratroopers calling out in the village of Neuville? It sounded like "Dunder." Is this some sort of password or a French word?
A: Words was "Thunder," and it was an obstacle word. It was somepoint the GIs would certainly speak to out to persons unrecognized. The correct response was "Flash." Challenge and reply passwords were particularly handy in bad visibility instances. Thunder and Flash were the words actually supplied in the time of the Normandy intrusion.
Q: What were those tanks the Germans had at Ramelle? Were they realistic?
A: Two Tiger tanks and also two Marder tanks. The Marders were actually open-turret tank destroyers, and yes, the tanks were about as realistic as is feasible for a film made 50 years after the finish of World War II. When Jackkid signaled from the bell tower, he referred to the Marders as Panzers, which was probably generic shorthand also for an unrecognized type of opponent armor.
Q: Did Americans really shoot prisoners?
A: Unfortunately, yes, on occasion. This happened on all sides and isnt all that unexplained for soldiers that have been in deadly combat and also have seen their finest friends killed. Millers squad would have been specifically enraged at Steamboat Willie bereason their medic had actually been shot. Medics were classified as non-combatants and also were not intended to be fired upon.
Q: The standoff in Neuville between the Amerideserve to and Germale soldiers appears farfetched.
A: Truth is stranger than fiction. The history of D-Day is replete via stories that seem also even more farfetched than the Neuville standoff but they actually occurred.
Q: How exact is the opening scene at Omaha Beach?
A: In the words of many veterans who have actually viewed it, as well bloody exact. For instance, what happened in the film when the ramp goes dvery own on that initially landing craft is nearly precisely what occurred to Company kind of A, 116th Regiment of the 2nine Infanattempt Division. Ninety percent of its soldier were eliminated in the initially minute of the landing.
Q: Why were the Germale tank leaders wearing black uniforms? Was that a Hollylumber tool having actually the poor males wear black?
A: Nopoint of the sort. German tank crews wore babsence unidevelops. The film was meticulously precise regarding uniforms, tools, techniques, and also jargon.
Q: When Millers squad finally discovered their guy, Ryan introduced himself as Ryan, first of the 506th. His buddy said Third of the 506th. What does this mean?
A: Its typical of the means GIs present themselves, also to this day. It s their attend to, if you will. First of the 50sixth expected he was from the First Battalion of the 506th Regiment. Third of the 50sixth meant Third Battalion.
Q: Why werent the German defenses at Omaha Beach knocked out by airpower and the naval bombardment?
A: Due to the fact that of concern around hitting Allied troops, Allied bombers were ordered to delay their drop suggest a pair of secs inland. Consequently all their bombs dropped well behind the Gerguy defenses. The naval bombardment was curtailed in attempt to maintain the facet of surprise. However, a vital element to the UNITED STATE troops acquiring off the beach at Omaha were the U.S. Navy destroyers that closed on the shore until tbelow were literally only a pair of inches of water beneath their keel. At point empty range they dueled via the German gun emplacements and cleared exits from the beach.
Q: Why was the water so deep once the troops gained off the landing craft?
A: The coxswains unloading their troops as well much out led to some of this. In many kind of cases, but, tbelow were deep pools of water brought about by exploding naval shells that had actually fallen short. These deep holes couldnt be watched from the landing craft and so troops who assumed they were unloading right into shpermit water stepped off right into water that was 30-feet deep in some situations.
Q: Did it just take 30 minutes to get off the beach at Omaha?
A: No, it took even more than half a day and price hundreds of casualties, even more than shown in the film. But nobody would certainly want to sit with 4 or five hrs of carnage waiting for Captain Miller and also his men to obtain off the beach.
Q: How specific is the location of the film?
A: Well, Normandy really does exist, as did Omaha Beach. Neuville likewise is a genuine village. The Merderet River is actual. Other towns pointed out in the film, Caen, Vierville, St. Lo, Volognes, and also Cherbourg are also genuine. But Ramelle is fictitious.
Q: Were the Allied paratroopers really scattered all over the place?
A: Yes. Of the six regiments of Amerihave the right to paratroopers launched right into Normandy, only 2 got their guys to the appropriate drop zones. Ironically, among those regiments was the 506th, which in the film was Private Ryans regiment.
Q: At Omaha Beach, Captain Miller states no DD Tanks are gaining ashore. What are DD tanks?
A: They were M-4 Shermale tanks designed to float in to the beach. The DD means duplex drive, meaning they had a drive system to propel them via the water and on land. The tanks were additionally equipped through an blow up skirt to carry out buoyancy. These floating tanks had a really low freeboard, but, and might swamp quickly in turbulent seas. That"s exactly what happened at D-Day. Many of the DD Shermans went directly to the bottom as soon as launched, drowning their crews. One battalion, on orders from Rear Admiral Kirk, rode their LCTs appropriate to the beach and also unloaded without any challenge. Of the 29 introduced 5000 meters offshore, only 2 made it to the beach.
Q: What was the definition of Dog Environment-friendly Sector at the start of the film? That sounds like a goofy name.
A: The Allies arbitrarily separated the beaches right into sectors and also assigned letters of the phonetic alphabet to them. In the alphabet of the time, A was Able, B was Baker, C was Charlie, D was Dog, E was Easy, and so on. Omaha sectors were Able with George while Utah Beach had Peter via William. Each sector was further subsplit into 3 colors, Environment-friendly, White, and also Red (West to East). Not all the sectors would be provided. Omaha, for instance, was only going to use Charlie via Fox. Easy Sector on Omaha was just split right into Red and also Eco-friendly. The 2ninth Infantry Division, fifth Rangers and Charlie Company kind of, second Rangers were to land on Dog Eco-friendly. The 1st Infantry Division landed at Easy Red and Environment-friendly.
Q: What was the significance of the horizontal and also vertical white stripes on the ago of some of the Americans helmets?
A: Officers had actually a vertical white stripe. Non-commissioned policemans (such as Sergeant Horvath and also Corpdental Upham) had actually a white horizontal stripe on the ago of the helmet. It was to determine the management to the men following.
Q: What are the Rangers? Are they Marines?
A: The Rangers are elite infanattempt of the U.S. Army. The U.S. Marines did not fight in Europe in the time of World War II. The Rangers were hand-picked volunteers from other U.S. infantry departments and also were modeled upon the British commandos. Their motto, "Rangers Lead the Way" was earned on Omaha Beach. The name Rangers was taken from Rodger"s Rangers, the special Amerideserve to scouting pressure that offered the British Army in the time of the French-and-Indians War. Their job was to "range" ahead of the major army and also locate the enemy. Kenneth Roberts" book "Northwest Passage" was around the Rodger"s Rangers.
Q: The soldiers in the film didn"t use much profanity. That couldn"t have actually been accurate, could it?
A: George Patton notwithstanding, one have to realize that these soldiers were the assets of a different generation. Americans on average did not often resort to profanity nor generally toleprice those that did. These "Citizen Soldiers" were from that society. Many veterans interperceived around the film have actually proclaimed that also in combat the use of profanity wasn"t all that common and also once it was offered, it really obtained their attention. Would "Saving Private Ryan" have actually been a more powerful film if the characters had actually been speaking prefer they were in a Quentin Tarantino film? Doubtful.
Q: Sergeant Horvath hauling approximately souvenir dirt seems farfetched. And the lids of his dirt containers look like they were labeled through a magic marker. They didn"t have those earlier then, did they?
A: It"s a movie, remember? With that one straightforward little scene, the audience realizes that Sergeant Horvath is a long-time veteran. We do not need to waste a totality bunch of dialog delving into his background. We know he"s viewed a lot of combat. If he"d really had such a souvenir repertoire, he wouldn"t have actually lugged it ashore at Omaha Beach, but so what? Just imagine the containers were smaller sized and also he"d labeled the tops with blue paint. There"s several paint accessible on ships.
Q: What are those balloons on the beach when Miller and also his squad set off to discover Private Ryan?
A: Those are barrage balloons, which were provided to discourage low-flying adversary aircraft. The balloons trailed steel cables, which would certainly sheer off the wings of aircraft that encountered them.
Q: How come some of the Amerideserve to soldiers in the film wore puttees (what the British contact gaiters) while others didn"t?
A: With the exemption of paratroopers, Amerideserve to infantryguys, consisting of the Rangers, wore the puttees. However, paratroopers, did not. They blooffered their troindividuals over the height of their jump boots. It caused the difference of non-Airborne soldiers being recognized as "straight-leg" or "leg" infantry. In the scene at the gliders when the airborne troops are filing previous Miller"s men, some of the troops are wearing puttees while others have actually their trocustomers blosupplied over their boots. The ones with the puttees are glider troops. Even though they were in an airborne department, glider infantrymales were not accorded the "privilege" of blousing their trousers. In fact, the negative glider troops were not even provided the jump pay that their parachuting comrades got, even though going to battle in a flimsy glider was most likely just as dangerous and also more terrifying than dropping in using parachute.
Q: What are some of the feasible errors in the film (as detailed by Normandy veterans and keen-eyed observers of the movie)?1. When were the Ryan brothers last together? When Mrs. Ryan gets the telegram there is a photograph on a table by her front door of 4 men together in unidevelop. At the War Department scene it is detailed that all four brothers were in the very same company in the 29th Infantry Division yet then were break-up up. Yet in the village once Ryan is reminiscing about his brothers with Captain Miller, he tells a story the story of Alice Jardine and says that was the last night his brothers were together. Best solution: Ryan expected that was the last time they were together at home. The noisy patrol. When the squad initially sets out to look for Private Ryan, they make a great deal of noise as Corpdental Upham concerns them. Rangers (or any competent infantrymen) would never before have actually been so caremuch less because noise intended death. This scene was most likely artistic license to assist sketch the characters of the film. The lacking bodies at the peak of the stairs. Private Mellish and Corporal Henderboy shoot two Germale soldiers exterior the entrance to the room theyre in. Yet when we see Corpdental Upham frozen on the stairs, the bodies have vanished. The Captains bars. Captain Miller had his rank painted on his helmet. Experienced combat policemans (i.e. those that made it through their first day of combat) obliterated all authorize of rank from their perboy lest they entice the interemainder of enemy snipers. While many kind of officers did have their rank prominently shown on their helmet, these were mostly rear echelon types who never before got close to the sound of gunfire. The wrong combat patch. Soldiers who have actually remained in combat are allowed to wear their unit patch on their best shoulder. During the scene at the War Department, Colonel I.W. Bryce, the one-equipped colonel, has actually a combat patch of the 2nd Infantry Division. This isn"t possible because the second Infantry Division did not view any type of combat until June 7, 1944. An obscure error. Bryce might have lost his arm in the first World War, though he looked as well young to be a WWI vet. In the book based upon the script he supposedly shed his arm in combat in Sicily. (Incidentally, one of the producers of the film is Ian Bryce. Neat means to sneak your name right into the show.) The reappearing arm. The exact same Colonel Bryce regrows his missing left arm in General Marshall"s office. Watch carefully as the electronic camera pans from General Marshall to assembled officers. Apparently the army reissued Colonel Bryce his left arm. Some think it can just be a shadow that reasons this illusion. Gorganize in the squad. Just prior to the machine-gun colony strike, Millers squad is checked out in a panoramic see with eight members. They began out via eight but Private Caparzo was killed at Neuville. The squad is haunted. In the film, Private Ryans drop zone is supposedly near Neuville. The town is likewise shown as lived in by paratroopers from the 101st Airborne Division. In truth Neuville remained in the 8second Airborne Divisions area, just north of the 50fifth Regiments drop zone. Private Ryans regiment was actually dropped 7-10 kilometers to the southeastern in the vicinity of Vierville. A minor suggest just for the historically obsessed. Which firm is Ryan really in? When Miller initially sets out to look for Ryan, the lacking private is supposed to be in Baker Company type of of the 50sixth Parachute Infanattempt Regiment. Yet at the glider landing zone where the squad finds the deafened soldier that knows Ryan, hes moved right into Charlie Company kind of. But the soldier could have actually just acquired confused regarding which company Ryan remained in. That would certainly have actually been an easy mistake to make. Both carriers were in the same battalion. The P-51s that conserve the day at Ramelle do not have bomb racks. A exceptionally obscure mistake at the glider landing zone: the squad viewpoints a makechange table to look with the dog tags. The table has nopoint on it in the first shot but when they gain to it, Pvt. Jackson kicks a K-ration box off it. Somehow package jumped onto the table. For the really, really sharp eyed: the .30 caliber machine gun ammo is lacking the primers. Wrong-way poles. In the Omaha Beach scene some of the obstacles are pointed in the wrong direction. We"re referring to the big wood obstacles, not the steel tetrahedrons that the UNITED STATE troops sheltered behind. These wooden obstacles had a log roughly the dimension of a telephone pole through one end elevated and also supported by 2 various other logs. The raised end was expected to challenge the beach. The principle was that an incoming landing craft would ride up the pole and detonate the Teller mine at the end of it. Yet in the opening beach scene, the elevated end of these poles is facing the water. Later throughout the Omaha Beach sequence the poles have actually reversed direction and are facing the correct way.
A: An age-old military acronymFouled Up Beyond All Recognition (the PG version). Cousin to SNAFUSituation Normal, All Fouled Up. Often supplied as a verb, as in We really FUBARED that.
Q: What was the name of the Edith Piaf song Upham was translating in the village?
A: "Tu Es Partous" (Phonetically: Two A Par Two, obviously a song about miniature golf)
Q: What was the song Melish sings?
A: "Solitude" by Duke Ellington et al.
Q: Whom was the Czech Wehrmacht soldier described in the credits?
A: No figuring what Hollylumber is reasoning. After taking the bluffs above Omaha Beach two Wehrmacht soldiers attempting to surrender are shot by two Rangers. One of the Wehrmacht soldiers was speaking Czech. But according to an additional web site whose writer has actually resources associated through the manufacturing, the Czech Wehrmacht soldier was the killer of Mellish, although that character remained in the SS, never spoke Czech, and there were no other hints identifying him as Czech. All in all, it has actually no bearing on the film.