Krist DeJulio – 1851 Staff
Director-producer Rick Beyer visited campus last month to show his documentary, “The Ghost Army,” to students in Rosen Auditorium and provide a discussion after the film. “The Ghost Army” is a riveting story about how the US Army deceived German soldiers during World War II using art. They created fake tanks and inflatable tanks, fooling the enemy and saving 15,000 to 30,000 lives during their time.
The men of this troop were hand picked – mostly being creative and young art students to be able to pull off decoys that would trick German soldiers. The film showed the drawings and sketches the art students turned soldiers made during their service.
“It looks like a bunch of old men but this is what they did when they were your age,” said Beyer of the soldiers.
While in Luxembourg, some soldiers took advantage of the beautiful and historical area and created watercolor pieces while others opted for a different route and drew charcoal pieces of prostitutes roaming the area as inspiration.
According to Beyer, the film itself took eight years to make. Beyer explained finding archived footage and information on the secret troop was was a time-consuming project. However, he said shaping the story took the longest due to the two different elements of war and art.
At the end of the film, Beyer invited questions from the audience and to show an example of deception Beyer invited senior Michael Hourihan to the stage. He asked the audience how he could deceive us into thinking he was Hourihan. The audience said Beyer would have to chew gum and wear a Red Sox hat in order for deception to be possible. This is similar to what the Ghost Army had to do.
The film displayed the unbelievable journey of these soldiers and showed how art is everywhere and can be used in unexpected ways. The stories found by Beyer were breathtaking because they impacted so many lives.