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Saturday, June 18, 2005

perpetuating war by exalting its sacrifices or: screw you, tom brokaw

I just finished watching a great movie that just came out on DVD, "The Americanization of Emily" (1964) directed by Arthur Hiller from a screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky.


This is a terrific movie, with great anti-war themes running through it, including inter-service rivalry, critiques of the causes of European wars and the real price of bravery. There is a terrific exchange between James Garner's character and Emily's mother, where Garner's character trashes bravery and war in general, pointing out (a la the title of this post) that it is the people who praise warriors who are really to blame (are you listening, neocons?):
[m]aybe ministers and generals blunder us into war...the least the rest of us can do is to resist honoring the institution
What is so wonderful about the movie is that it is done in the context of a "good" war, fought by the "Greatest Generation".

Andrews has a great line after Garner's character is believed to have died and everyone tries to make a hero out of him:
Dear me, we should be celebrating cancer and automobile smashups next.
A prophetic line presaging the modern tendency of turning of every death into an act of heroism. What an un-PC movie! The only real flaw in the film was the dramatic change in attitude of James Coburn's character about halfway through. It was so rapid and inexplicable that it really stood out.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Strange referring to a leftist movie as lessons for neocons. How superficial can one get here?

12:43 AM  
Blogger Ross said...

We can get as superficial as we want, natch, but I don't see how my post was superficial. Also, I recommend learning where the term neocon originated. When the word was coined way back when, it referred to former leftists who had converted to conservatism, thus a "leftist" movie is a perfect vehicle for teaching lessons to neocons. Alas, I doubt they will learn anything, but one can hope.

11:21 AM  

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