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'Soldier Bear' movie could hit cinemas in 2017

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 12.06.2015 16:16
A movie about Wojtek the Soldier Bear, a four-legged private who served alongside Polish soldiers in World War II, could reach the silver screen in 2017.
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Irish film-maker Brendan Foley, who has purchased the rights to the story, is currently negotiating with a US investment consortium and a Polish special effects company.

US producer Ned Dowd, who worked on movies such as 'Apocalypto' and 'Last of the Mohicans', has signed up for the project, Foley told STV Edinburgh.

Movies like 'War Horse' showed there is a real appetite for movies about animals during war time,” Foley has enthused.

He said the bear himself will be brought to the screen in a variety of ways.

It will be a real bear for some shots, it will be an animatronics bear for some of it - a mechanical bear for want of a better word - and the bulk of it will be a CGI.”

Wojtek was adopted as a cub in Iran by soldiers of the Polish Second Corps, a formation that was part of the British 8th Army.

The Polish corps was chiefly made up of men who had been deported to Siberia and other barren regions of the Soviet Union following the Red Army's occupation of eastern Poland in 1939.

When Nazi Germany, which had conquered western Poland, turned on its Soviet ally in 1941, Stalin released many of his Polish prisoners, following pressure from London. An army was created, and General Władysław Anders transported the fledgeling force to Iran.

Legend has it that during the 1944 Battle of Monte Cassino, Wojtek helped pass ammunition to his fellow troops. The bitterly fought battle against Nazi Germany was a key victory that opened the road to Rome.

Like his fellow soldiers he was partial to drinking beer, although rather than smoking, he tended to eat cigarettes.

After the war, most Poles who had fought in the British 8th Army did not return to their homeland, after it became clear that a Moscow-backed Soviet regime was being installed in Poland.

Wojtek ended his days in Edinburgh Zoo. (nh)

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