Saturday, February 20, 2010
The fellow above, in case you can not read the caption next to his face, is one Pierre Boulle born this day 1912 in Avignon, France. He studied to be an engineer, and was working on a British rubber plantation in Malaya when World War II broke out. When war came, he enlisted in the French army in Indochina, and eventually joined the Free French Forces, after the fall of France in 1940. In 1943 he was captured by Vichy France loyalists, and was subjected to severe hardships and forced labour. From these and other war experiences would come one of the two books which make him our hero of the day. "The Bridge over the River Kwai" is an excellent book, and was turned into a fantastic film in 1957. The film won several Oscars, including Best Picture, and Best Actor. Boulle won the Oscar for the Best Adapted Screenplay even though he freely admitted to not being able to speak English at the time. He gave what is reported to be the shortest speech in Oscar history by merely saying Merci, and accepting his award. The film's actual writers were blacklisted at the time of the film, but their names were later added to the award as well. The other work that gets him into the hero hall of fame is his 1963 work, the Planet of the Apes. It was also turned into a lovely film, the original that is, the one with Charlton Heston, not the shitty remake done in 2001. Not a bad track record as an author for a guy who was an engineer. So, for writing two lovely works, that were turned into lovely films as well, Pierre Boulle (February 20th, 1912-January 30th 1994, at the age of 82), you are my (179th) hero of the day.