17 January 2007

Dance With A Bayonet - "Sands Of Iwo Jima" (1949)

They treat them like rigorous fathers. They will not let them get away with anything. They take it out on them. Why they do so? Because they are aware of what will meet those young lads if they are not prepared. Inexperienced fresh soldiers always cause a lot of trouble to those older by rank. Officer’s job is to make them realize what is war and what is possibly the way to survive through it. Definitely it is not a piece of cake. Methods of training are usually tough and undisputed. This is captured by “Sands Of Iwo Jima” - movie released just four years after actual events on Pacific theatre in 1945.
Iconic John Wayne, labeled as an American legend, portrays cold-blooded sergeant who is not used to show any compassion to his subordinates. He drills them hard and believes one day it will help them in battle.
Life of a soldier is pain. Only being on a pass brings some kind of relief. One will meet his girlfriend, other drink till he drops to erase unwanted memories. This film shows it well and make a viewer consider how much are those men influenced by realities of war.

Significant fact is that makers of this motion picture invited remaining members of the group of six that actually planted an American flag on Iwo Jima Island’s Mount Suribachi on 23rd of February 1945, which was documented by world famous photography of Joe Rosenthal.

But that is not the main topic of this film. Real story is a relation between a private that joined the force following fallen father’s will and cynical sergeant who used to be private’s parent’s comrade. Kid blames his father for underrating him. Now sergeant impersonates his old man and all disappointment and hate goes to him as a superior.

Movie questions a condition of people who participate in war. Can soldiers, who are taught to obey the orders at any cost, witness their best friend’s death be healthy and able to return to society of people who know war from television and newspapers? Are they doomed to a failure?
In “Sands Of Iwo Jima” spectator finds tears of sadness and happiness, because they are inseparable. Line between laugh and crying is thin.

According to such a short period after the end of the World War II and production of the movie, important thing to mention is a lack of view from enemy’s perspective. This picture is not about fighting the enemy. It is about a struggle that happens inside of every man on the front.

Kaohsiung (18-01-2007)

"Sands Of Iwo Jima" (1949), directed by Allan Dwan, starring: John Wayne and John Agar.

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