Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Hollywood Military.

This is coolbert:

It seems that Hollywood is enamored of two types of military movies.

One type is that involving the military trial [tribunal]. Soldiers being courts martialed for violations of the Rules of Land Warfare or Rules of Engagement.

The movies of the courts martial variety I have in mind are:

The Caine Mutiny. A great Humphrey Bogart movie. Superb acting with surprise ending. No extraordinary special effects here. Relies upon just plain ordinary good acting ability.

A Few Good Men. Great cast. Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Tom Cruise. Continued as a television series with a different cast as JAG. Deals with a violation of the Rules of Engagement at Guantanamo. Another surprise ending. "You can't handle the truth!!"

Paths of Glory. One of the best, perhaps the best, of all the movies of Kirk Douglas. Douglas plays French Colonel Dax, who first leads an abortive attack on a fortified German position, the "Anthill", and then defends five French soldiers who were accused of cowardice during the attack.

[it was not permissible in France to show this movie, made in 1955, until recently, so controversial was this movie to the French. The same for the "Battle of Algiers" and of all movies, "Casablanca". The French seem to be overly sensitive and prickly about negative depictions of themselves in war movies.]

Breaker Morant. Australian soldiers accused of atrocity during the Boer War. Morant is a controversial figure in Australia to this day.

The second type of military movie so favored by Hollywood seems to be those involving submarines and the interplay of the crew aboard such a vessel.

The movies I have in mind with regard to submarines and their crews are:

Das Boot. [an exception here. Is a German movie, NOT Hollywood. But qualifies in my mind as part of the genre!] The "good" German fighting bravely. Very intense.

Hunt for Red October. The first of the Tom Clancy series of hit books and movies. Soviet submarine commander [Sean Connery] attempts to defect. Chased by American and Soviets.

Crimson Tide. Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington. Great cast. To fire the missiles or not fire the missiles - - that is the question.

U-571. Bon Jovi in an acting role. American submarine attempts to capture a German submarine. American crew transfers to German sub when their own vessel sinks. Melodrama ensures.

K-19: the Widowmaker. Very good cast. Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson. Soviet submariners on a do or die mission. Succeed but then have a nuclear reactor catastrophe. Based upon a real incident. Survivors of the actual K-19 "incident" reviewed the move and generally gave it high marks.



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