Hollywood, Film & Politics
Chapter 9: Remembering Vietnam on Film: Lessons Learned and Forgotten
“I love the smell of napalm in the morning…smells like…victory.” —Col. Kilgore, Apocalypse Now “The Oriental doesn’t put the value on human life as we do in the West.” —General William Westmoreland “Everything depends on the Americans. If they want to make war for 20 years then we shall make war for 20 years. If they want to make peace, we shall make peace and invite them to tea afterwards.” —North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh, December 1966 “Television brought the brutality of war into the comfort of the living room. Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of America—not on the battlefields of Vietnam.” —Marshall McLuhan Unlike the Korean conflict, Vietnam was very much a television war, with the fighting and dying vividly displayed on the evening news. Bringing the war into the home was best expressed in a scene from the film Summertree (1971), where actor Michael Douglas drops out of college and is shipped to Vietnam. The poignant moment occurs in the final scene when his parents, watching the late night television news in their bedroom, click off the set just as their son’s body bag is being loaded onto a helicopter. This dramatic scene depicts the pervasiveness of the war, from the soldiers at the front to civilians in the comfort of their homes. To avoid its presence would have required a life of isolation, a monk’s existence without access to the daily newspaper or television set. In urban centers and on university...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.