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Eastwood and Spielberg to recall famous World War Two battle

Story by: Jack Foley

THE story of one of America’s most important World War II battles, which also gave rise to one of the world’s most famous monuments, is to be turned into a film by Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood.

The dream-team duo will produce and direct an adaptation of James Bradley’s book, Flags of Our Fathers: Heroes of Iwo Jima, for the former’s Dreamworks studio.

The battle for the island of Iwo Jima, in early 1945, was a turning point in the fight for control of the Pacific, but also saw some of the war’s bloodiest fighting involving US troops. In total, 21,000 Japanese and 6,800 US soldiers were killed in combat within a single month.

Yet, the ensuing American victory produced one of the war's most enduring images - a photograph of six soldiers raising a US flag on the flank of Mount Suribachi, the island's highest point, which has since been turned into one of Washington’s most prominent monuments, as well as being one of the most enduring images of the Second World War.

It also provided the inspiration for a similarly symbolic gesture following the September 11 attacks of 2001, in America, when US firefighters were pictured defiantly raising the American flag in the days following the collapse of the Twin Towers.

However, the picture, by Associated Press photographer, Joe Rosenthal, was at the centre of a controversy, when it emerged that it had not been captured while the troops were under fire, as first suggested, but may have been posed.

Of the six soldiers in the photograph, however, three were killed in combat, while those who survived were hailed as heroes.

The story of their lives after the war, however, made for tragic reading. Ira Hayes, took refuge in drink and was killed in a fight, while Rene Gagnon could not convert his fame into a full-time job.

The last, John Bradley, never spoke about his experiences to his family and his heroism only came to light when his son, James, discovered his past, following his death, in 1994.

He subsequently wrote the best-seller upon which the film will be based.

The eagerly-anticipated project will mark the second collaboration between Spielberg and Eastwood, following The Bridges of Madison County, in 1995, which Eastwood directed and starred in, and Spielberg again produced.

The script for the film is being written by Paul Haggis, who is also working with Eastwood on another film, Million Dollar Baby.

Eastwood to produce two Iwo Jima movies

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