Special Sub-Topic: Anti-War Films
|In what 1964 film of World War Two, was James Garner offered an opportunity to be the first dead man on Omaha Beach?|
The Americanization of Emily. The Admiral played by Melvyn Douglas, is jealous that the army will steal all the glory of the Normandy invasion, so he orders his chief aide, Garner (a self-proclaimed coward), to be the first dead man on Omaha Beach. Garner's job in the navy has been as a procurer for officers of luxury items. Meanwhile, Garner's romance with Julie Andrews is slowed by her reluctance to be close to any military man as she has lost several members of her family to the war. James Coburn is given the assignment to make sure Garner follows through. The screenplay was by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Arthur Hiller.
|A burned-out and troubled officer is sent deep into the jungle of Vietnam to defray the actions of a renegade colonel. The film was "Apocalypse Now" based on the novel "Heart of Darkness" by what Polish born writer? |
Joseph Conrad. Conrad's novel was greatly modified for the screen. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning two, for cinematography and sound. Because of illnesses and other delays the film took three years to finish. Robert Duvall played the gung-ho colonel, Dennis Hopper the foul-mouth reporter, Martin Sheen the troubled officer, and Marlon Brando was the rebel Colonel Kurtz. The film is best summed up in Kurtz's speech in the latter part of the film:
"I've seen horrors... horrors that you've seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that... but you have no right to judge me. It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror... Horror has a face... and you must make a friend of horror."
|Ron Kovic's autobiography dealt with the Vietnam war and his struggle to overcome his injuries and to tell the war from his perspective. What actor played Ron Kovic in "Born on the Fourth of July" (1989)?|
Tom Cruise. One can never fault Tom Cruise for not trying a variety of roles. He has been a race car driver, a vampire, a bartender, a pool shark, and a Nazi just to name a few. In "Born on the Fourth of July" he gives one of his better acting performances, resulting in an Academy Award nomination.
Kovic returned from the war bitter for the lack of support of the public to the war. Kovic felt guilt about his participation in killing civilians and about a 'friendly fire' incident. After awhile, he became disillusioned as to the war and his role in it and became an ardent protester.
|Charlie Chaplin returned to the screen in 1940 in his first full length 'talkie' after clinging long to the silent formula. It was a stinging satire on dictators and their potential for evil. What was the name of this Chaplin production?|
The Great Dictator. "The Great Dictator" featured Chaplin as Adenoid Hynkel, Dictator of Tomania,(Hitler) and as a Jewish barber, mistaken for the dictator. Jack Oakie, a character actor from that era, scored as Napaloni, Dictator of Bacteria,
(Mussolini). In 1940 few knew of the events in Germany and had little hint of the holocaust to come. "The Great Dictator" was hence on the cutting edge.
The film was banned in Germany. It was Chaplin's most successful commercial venture. The film had five Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Musical Score, Best Screenplay, and Acting nominations for Chaplin and Oakie. Two years later, "To Be Or Not To Be" (1942) with Jack Benny was released with a similar plot.
|"Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" (1964) was a deep thoughtful satire of the possibility of the 'cold war' erupting into a 'hot' one. Peter Sellers starred but was under a contract to play four roles as he had done multiple roles in previous films. However, he ended up with only three roles. Which of these did he not play?|
Major J.T. 'King' Kong, US Air Force Pilot. Sellers said that he could not master the Texas drawl required for the role as Kong, so Slim Pickens got the role. A classic movie scene is Pickens riding an atomic bomb like a cowboy as it falls on Moscow.
"Dr. Strangelove" was the cult hit of 1964 and was nominated for a number of awards. Stanley Kubrick directed and wrote the film along with Terry Southern and Peter George. Oscar nominations were made for Best Picture, Best Directer, Best Screenplay, and Peter Sellers. Up until this time the so-called 'cold war' was not funny.
Images from the film include a bulky coke machine, Dr. Strangelove regressing into German, the hawkish war room, and the sexist sex scene without humans or animals involved to the tune of "Try a Little Tenderness".
|Zero tolerance taken to its extreme is the core of "Paths of Glory" (1957). French generals demand a 'no defeat' policy. This means that soldiers who survived the battle lost will be executed for their failure.The decision will be made by lot rather than men who might have shown cowardliness in battle. Who played the officer who tries to defend his men from this unreasonable sentence?|
Kirk Douglas. Again, this anti-war film also was directed by Stanley Kubrick. Although many armies practiced penalties for cowardliness under fire, this incident based on a true case was the most dramatic. Douglas plays an attorney in the army who tries to defend the accused. Reportedly, the families of the executed men received one franc in compensation. The title is taken from a poem by Thomas Gray that reads:
"The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Awaits alike th'inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave."
|Roland Bozz, the protagonist of the film, either is the biggest 'screw up' or the best soldier in his outfit. He along with his fellow soldiers must survive "Tigerland" (2002). What is Tigerland?|
Final training prior to assignment to Vietnam. Private Bozz, played by Colin Farrell in his break-through role, helps covertly to get men out of the army who are inappropriate to be there. He is constantly in trouble with the non-coms and officers of his outfit. But he is also the 'barracks lawyer' advising others, when asked, what their military rights are. Despite drawing the ire of superiors, he wins the respect of both his comrades and authorities.
"Tigerland" was not a smash hit although Farrell made a mark. The film not only asks the question of the United States participation in foreign wars, but also questions the system whereby the men are selected to fight these engagements. A question also arises as to the qualities of leadership in the military.
|What should come first? Loyalty to a country and its goals in war or maintaining morale and usefulness in times of crisis? That is the dilemma that faces Colonel Nicholson, a prisoner of war played by Alec Guinness, either to assist the Japanese in a building project or let his fellow prisoners succumb to the harsh prison conditions, even though the project would be detrimental to his country's war effort. What is this film? |
Bridge on the River Kwai. Colonel Nicholson strives to make the bridge as fine as it can be, even to rejecting an inadequate building site. Unknown to him, the British have a special task force to destroy the bridge.
The film dominated the 1958 Academy Awards with Best Picture, Best Director (David Lean), Best Actor (Alec Guinness), and additional ones for screenplay, musical score, editing, and cinematography.
|"The Sand Pebbles" (1966) is a parable of racism and colonialism. The American gunboat on the Yangtze River tries to preserve peace by protecting Americans from the Chinese. The captain of the gunboat was an actor up to that time more associated with comedy than with dramatic parts. Who was he?|
Richard Crenna. Crenna portrays the rigid 'go-by-the-book' captain of the San Pablo, taking its mission at its most literal extreme. The crew of the boat have native coolies who do the grunt work aboard and for the most part are treated poorly. Nationalist elements provide difficulties for the San Pablo (called Sand Pebble by the crew) to fulfill its mission.
McQueen starred in the film and had health issues as a result and was unable to work for a year. The original nine week filming schedule ran seven months. McQueen did snare an Oscar nomination and the film was nominated for several technical awards but won none.
|This French film consists of a dialogue between two lovers, a French woman and a Japanese man. As they talk there is interspersed footage of the ravages of the American use of the atomic bomb on Japan. What was the name of this 1959 film?|
Hiroshima Mon Amour. Two lovers, perhaps meeting for the last time, reflect on how the atomic bombing of Hiroshima affected their lives. The film would have been a slight independent film were it not for the subject matter and the footage.
Originally it was planned as a documentary on the effects of the atomic devastation but was developed into a movie based on the script by Marguerite Duras, which received an Oscar nomination. It was also well received at the Cannes Film Festival but no awards were given as the subject was too sensitive for United States audiences. The film was part of what was called new wave cinema in France.
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