IIn retrospect, it is clear why America’s imperial project in Vietnam failed in the 1960s: you cannot win a war when your army does not want to fight. In the desperate need to send troops into battle, the deployment of troops seemed to be the only option for the US military, when in fact this choice was more like their great abolition.
The FTA show took shape as an inevitable consequence of these unrest at home and abroad. Led by Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland with the support of activist folk musicians such as Len Chandler, the anti-USO diverse spectacle channeled the bitterness and frustration of the moment into an unpleasant subversive protest detention. . GIs are eager to hear an alternative to the rah-ra party line of their “jailers,” as the Fund jokes. The film spent only a week in theaters before quietly disappearing from the schedule; director Francine Parker claims that the distributor, American International Pictures, gave way when receiving a call directly from the White House. But now, a brand new 4K restoration has finally received a public announcement, issuing an elusive call for disobedience for all to hear.
The gang of hippies, radicals and merry pranksters tried to turn Bob Hope’s “political vaudeville” with satirical songs and skits that undermined the chain of command. Callers are often disgusted by commanding officers who bark, contempt easily translated into MAD Magazine-shaped styles. In a comic interstitial, a general asks one of his soldiers for a quarter, who offers it with an informal “Sure!” , as in many others, the spirit of disobedience compensates for the rather mild humor, not as noisy as Laugh-In, but 10 times more dangerous. A musical number like Nothing could be finer than being in Indochina! is braver than anything else, calling out what many consider unspoken from the top of the singer’s lungs.
Extensive segments of the interviews support the bold ideology with testimonies from people on the ground on both sides of the conflict. Among the most controversial elements was an introductory title card stating that the film was produced in collaboration not only with GI but also with their “friends” whose lands they currently occupy. The crew had no problem finding Americans and Japanese united in their desire for the armed forces to leave Okinawa and leave the island, or Filipino protesters expressing a shared desire with the GI to take them home. The military seems to alienate its people on every personal line, whether it’s race (black soldiers discuss the discrimination they face in their own ranks, and hypocrisy in the struggle for a state that could not be less interested). of them), gender (the Fondin song song I’m Tired of Fuckin ‘Over Me Calls Sexism and Harassment) or class (volunteers from dirt-poor communities realize they risk their lives to make rich men richer).
The meager moments with a direct face – Sutherland, reading an excerpt from “Johnny got the gun” by Dalton Trumbo, Okinawan musicians gloomily sing in their native language – emphasize that the excited show seeks more than just provocation. The opposition came from a place of compassion, a position not of hatred for the soldiers themselves, but for the establishing powers that compelled them to act against their own interests. The film has a sense of dissonance that made conservatives at the time wonder why Hanoi Jane wouldn’t just leave America if he hated it so much. With a 20/20 look, we can see that precisely because she and her comrades loved the country, dedicated their energy and risked their reputation to improve it, their criticism is the ultimate act of patriotism.