Flags of our Fathers

This is a link to a Flags of our Fathers message board.


There are IWO vets posting on there onie is Richard Wheeler whose screen name is "Wheeler" and a Bob Allen whose screen name is "usmc987332"




Parade Magazine interviewed Clint Eastwood this week regarding his movie. I read the article tonight. It will be available on their site tomorrow, so I will post the link then.


Here's the complete article: Added 10-17-06


By Clint Eastwood

Published: October 15, 2006


At age 76, Clint Eastwood has undertaken his most ambitious project, exploring the 1945 battle of Iwo Jima from both the American and Japanese perspectives. Flags of Our Fathers, due Oct. 20, is based on the book by James Bradley, and Letters from Iwo Jima will be released in Japan (and in the U.S. with subtitles) soon after. PARADE asked Eastwood why he made the films.


Every movie I make teaches me something, and that’s why I keep making them. I’m at that stage of life when I could probably stop and just hit golf balls. But in filming these two movies about Iwo Jima, I learned about war and about character. I also learned a lot about myself.


All most people know now about Iwo is the photograph of six young men raising a flag. Here are some other facts: In the month of fighting, nearly 7,000 American soldiers died, and there were 26,000 casualties. Most of the 22,000 Japanese on the island fought to their deaths. More than a quarter of all the Marine Medals of Honor from World War II were awarded to men who fought there. We don’t realize what these soldiers did—these skinny kids out of the Depression who joined the service. The average age was 19, and some as young as 14 lied about their age to get in.


Of the six men who raised that flag, only three survived—John Bradley, a Navy corpsman from Wisconsin; Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian and Marine from Arizona; and Rene Gagnon, also a Marine, from New Hampshire. As the war raged on, they were pulled out of the fighting and sent on a government tour to raise money for war bonds. Suddenly, they were being cheered by 50,000 people at Soldier Field in Chicago or a million people in New York’s Times Square. It was overwhelming for them and, in some ways, humiliating. They were terribly guilt-ridden about being treated as heroes when so many of their comrades had been killed or injured back on the island.


I was a teenager when the battle of Iwo Jima took place. I remember hearing about the bond drive and the need to maintain the war effort. Back then, people had just come through 10 years of a depression, and they were used to working for everything. I still have an image of someone coming to our house when I was about 6 years old, offering to cut and stack the wood in our backyard if my mother would make him a sandwich.


The Americans who went to Iwo Jima knew it would be a tough fight, but they always believed they’d win. The Japanese were told they wouldn’t come home—they were being sent to die for the Emperor. People have made a lot out of that very different cultural approach. But as I got into the storytelling for the two movies, I realized that the 19-year-olds from both sides had the same fears. They all wrote poignant letters home saying, ‘I don’t want to die.’ They were all going through the same thing, despite the cultural differences.


I guess if you see both of the movies together, they sum up as an anti-war film. Whether it’s about territory or religion, war is horrifyingly and depressingly archaic.


But I didn’t set out to make a war movie. I cared about those three fellows—Bradley, Hayes and Gagnon—the headliners on that war bond circus. The young men were taken off the front lines, wined and dined, introduced to movie stars. But it felt wrong to them.


I can certainly understand. I think every celebrity, false or otherwise, wonders how he got to his position. I remember years ago working with Richard Burton and somebody asking him about his great success. And he said, “I attribute it to luck.â€


I also wonder how I got this far in life. Growing up, I never knew what I wanted to do. I was not a terribly good student or a very vivacious, outgoing person. I was just kind of a backward kid. I grew up in various little towns and ended up in Oakland, Calif., going to a trade school. I didn’t want to be an actor, because I thought an actor had to be an extrovert—somebody who loved to tell jokes and talk, and be a raconteur. And I was something of an introvert. My mother used to say, “ You have a little angel on your shoulder.†I guess she was surprised I grew up at all, never mind that I got to where I am. The best I can do is quote a line from my movie Unforgiven, where one character says, “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.â€


Life is a constant class, and once you think you know it all, you’re due to decay. You’re due to slide. I have to keep challenging myself and try something I haven’t done before. The movie studios aren’t always happy with that. When I wanted to make Mystic River, the studio said, “Uh-oh, it’s so dark.†And I said, “Well, it’s important. And it’s a nice story.â€


Then the next movie, Million Dollar Baby, they said, “Who wants to see a picture about a girl boxing?†And I said, “It’s really a father-daughter love story. Boxing just happens to be what’s going on.†They didn’t have much faith. [Editor’s note: The movie won four Oscars in 2005, including Best Picture and Best Director for Eastwood.]


So there are always obstacles and people afraid to take risks. That’s why you end up with remakes of old television shows as movies. But playing it safe is what’s risky, because nothing new comes out of it.


I found it fascinating to make Letters from Iwo Jima in a whole different culture and language. Sure, I didn’t understand what the actors were saying, but all those Italian movies I did in the ’60s taught me that acting is acting.


The actors on both movies were fine, dedicated young men. For the scenes where there would be explosions, I’d talk about safety, but we’d never rehearse. I’d say, “Take care of yourself. Let’s roll.†Afterward, one of them would come up to me: “I didn’t know a bomb would go off there.†I’d nod and say, “And your look was accordingly shocked.†You don’t know what’s going to happen in combat, and I wanted to capture that confusion.


As for me, I like being behind the camera instead of in front of it. I can wear what I want. Will I act again? I never say never. I like doing things where I can stretch and go in different directions. I’m not looking to take it easy. Like the Marines on Iwo Jima, I understand that if you really want something, you have to be ready to fight.


World War II was supposed to be the war to end all wars, and at its close, everybody was dancing in the streets. But a few years later, we were in Korea, and then Vietnam. And now Iraq. Who knows where it will end? For us, at this moment in history, it’s very difficult to feel idealistic. We seem to be at our most creative figuring out ways of destroying each other.


But there’s always hope. The soldiers who raised the flag were common men in an almost unfathomable situation. I’m amazed when I look at what these young men did. This is my tribute to them.

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

I mentioned this in another thread but think it's worth repeating. For a real Veteran's point of view on this particular battle you can't beat "IWO JIMA- 36 DAYS OF HELL", a 3-part DVD set that came out just recently. Several dozen IWO Vets talk about their experiences.

I'm not sure if I'll be one of the people who are disappointed in the movie or not...just have to wait and see. I'm normally not as critical as the critics who are paid to dislike movies :lol: I do however believe that like it or not, from here on all WWII movies will be judged by the standards set by SPR., even though that one was semi-ficticious in the story line.



DD :woof:


Darn....no movie for DD this weekend! Seems this town is not big enough to rate an opening Friday showing. I would have to drive the 120 miles to Seattle if I wanted to see it now......I'll wait. :rolleyes:





Jim :woof:




It is a moving and powerful movie that should be seen by all who love our veterans!



It is a stark story as to what happens at home and what happens in combat and how the worlds differ.


Hats off to Clint for this great movie.




Saw this fine film tonight, and I think now I understand why they are not comfortable being called "Heros" by us folks back home.......Powerful movie. Poor Ira Hayes.. :(




DD :woof:


I read the book this weekend. That helped clarify the characters where the Movie really got me confused. In the movie, Iggy suddenly disappeared and was missing. I never could remember who Iggy was in their circle of buddies.

The book had some additional bites of history that wasn't covered in the Movie. And of course, the movie had scenes that weren't in the book and I hope were accurate in details.




Iggy's story was indeed a sad one.




There is a companion DVD out, narrated by Gene Hackman, who joined the Marines in 1947, called "Heroes of Iwo Jima." This also goes into greater detail about the men who raised both flags. It features comments by Joe Rosenthal and others who witnessed these historical events. :pdt34::pdt34:



DD :woof:


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