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Thread: Spike Lee: Clint Eastwood omitted black troops in WWII films

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Default Spike Lee: Clint Eastwood omitted black troops in WWII films

    Lee: Eastwood omitted black troops in WWII films - MSN Movies News

    (I certainly can see some aspects of his argument, you never see Black American troops in the movies in the Pacific and European theaters outside of the ones where they were in segregated units)


    The Associated Press

    Spike Lee is slamming Clint Eastwood over his two recent Iwo Jima movies, saying the filmmaker overlooked the role of black soldiers during World War II.
    Lee whose next film is this fall's "Miracle at St. Anna," the story of an all-black U.S. division fighting in Italy during the war said Eastwood's 2006 movies "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Letters From Iwo Jima" were whites-only affairs.
    "He did two films about Iwo Jima back to back and there was not one black soldier in both of those films," Lee said Tuesday at the Cannes Film Festival, where he was a judge in an online short-film competition.
    "Many veterans, African-Americans, who survived that war are upset at Clint Eastwood. In his vision of Iwo Jima, Negro soldiers did not exist. Simple as that. I have a different version," Lee said.
    Eastwood was in Cannes for his missing-child drama "The Changeling," starring Angelina Jolie. At a news conference for the film, a reporter tried to ask for his reaction to Lee's criticism, but the moderator cut her off and told journalists to limit questions to Eastwood's own movie.
    Due in U.S. theaters in October, "Miracle at St. Anna" centers on four Americans played by Derek Luke, Michael Ealy, Laz Alonso and Omar Benson Miller in the Buffalo Soldiers division in Tuscany.

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    hmmm he's got a film about all-black troops in WWII? and he's bitching about clint not showing any black soldiers in his movie? coincidence?
    i think not. someone wants publicity.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    i didnt know any were at iwo, i thought most of them ended up in europe
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Ok Spike...

    Letters From Iwo Jima was told from the Japanese POV.....

    And Flags was about specific real life Marines, not all the men that fought at Iwo Jima

    STFU



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    Angry

    asshole

    get to work on making a wwII movie

    instead of bitching

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    Bronze Member elrock6's Avatar
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    Why does he have to be all of the bad names? Just because Spike questions these fools about excluding black people from historical events? Sometimes this place scares the shit out of me.

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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    i'm sick and tired of the bitching about Blacks being left out, abused, etc etc. does anyone EVER do anything positive that this man likes?
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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Absent From History: the Black Soldiers at Iwo Jima

    Absent From History: the Black Soldiers at Iwo Jima

    Nearly 900 African-Americans fought on the Japanese island but not one appears in Clint Eastwood's Oscar-tipped film, writes Dan Glaister.
    On February 19 1945 Thomas McPhatter found himself on a landing craft heading toward the beach on Iwo Jima.

    "There were bodies bobbing up all around, all these dead men," said the former US marine, now 83 and living in San Diego. "Then we were crawling on our bellies and moving up the beach. I jumped in a foxhole and there was a young white marine holding his family pictures. He had been hit by shrapnel, he was bleeding from the ears, nose and mouth. It frightened me. The only thing I could do was lie there and repeat the Lord's prayer, over and over and over."

    Sadly, Sgt McPhatter's experience is not mirrored in Flags of Our Fathers, Clint Eastwood's big-budget, Oscar-tipped film of the battle for the Japanese island. While the battle scene's in the film - which opens today in the US - show scores of young soldiers in combat, none of them are African-American. Yet almost 900 African-American troops took part in the battle of Iwo Jima, including Sgt McPhatter.

    The film tells the story of the raising of the stars and stripes over Mount Suribachi at the tip of the island. The moment was captured in a photograph that became a symbol of the US war effort. Eastwood's film follows the marines in the picture, including the Native American Ira Hayes, as they were removed from combat operations to promote the sale of government war bonds.

    Mr McPhatter, who went on to serve in Vietnam and rose to the rank of lieutenant commander in the US navy, even had a part in the raising of the flag. "The man who put the first flag up on Iwo Jima got a piece of pipe from me to put the flag up on," he says. That, too, is absent from the film.

    "Of all the movies that have been made of Iwo Jima, you never see a black face," said Mr McPhatter. "This is the last straw. I feel like I've been denied, I've been insulted, I've been mistreated. But what can you do? We still have a strong underlying force in my country of rabid racism."

    Melton McLaurin, author of the forthcoming The Marines of Montford Point and an accompanying documentary to be released in February, says that there were hundreds of black soldiers on Iwo Jima from the first day of the 35-day battle. Although most of the black marine units were assigned ammunition and supply roles, the chaos of the landing soon undermined the battle plan.

    "When they first hit the beach the resistance was so fierce that they weren't shifting ammunition, they were firing their rifles," said Dr McLaurin.

    The failure to transfer the active role played by African-Americans at Iwo Jima to the big screen does not surprise him. "One of the marines I interviewed said that the people who were filming newsreel footage on Iwo Jima deliberately turned their cameras away when black folks came by. Blacks are not surprised at all when they see movies set where black troops were engaged and never show on the screen. I would like to say that it was from ignorance but anybody can do research and come up with books about African-Americans in world war two. I think it has to do with box office and what producers of movies think Americans really want to see."

    He added: "I want to see these guys get their due. They're just so anxious to have their story told and to have it known."

    Roland Durden, another black marine, landed on the beach on the third day. "When we hit the shore we were loaded with ammunition and the Japanese hit us with mortar." Private Durden was soon assigned to burial detail, "burying the dead day in, day out. It seemed like endless days. They treated us like workmen rather than marines."

    Mr Durden, too, is wearied but unsurprised at the omissions in Eastwood's film. "We're always left out of the films, from John Wayne on," he said. Mr Durden ascribes to both the conspiracy as well as the cock-up theory of history. "They didn't want blacks to be heroes. This was pre-1945, pre civil rights."

    A spokesperson for Warner Bros said: "The film is correct based on the book." The omission was first remarked upon in a review by Fox News columnist Roger Friedman, who noted that the history of black involvement at Iwo Jima was recorded in several books, including Christopher Moore's recent Fighting for America: Black Soldiers - the Unsung Heroes of World War II. "They weren't in the background at all," said Moore.

    "The people carrying the ammunition were 90% black, so that's an opportunity to show black soldiers. These are our films and very often they become our history, historical documents." Yvonne Latty, a New York University professor and author of We Were There: Voices of African-American Veterans (2004), wrote to Eastwood and the film's producers pleading with them to include the experience of black soldiers. HarperCollins, the book's publishers, sent the director a copy, but never heard back.

    "It would take only a couple of extras and everyone would be happy," she said. "No one's asking for them to be the stars of the movies, but at least show that they were there. This is the way a new generation will think about Iwo Jima. Once again it will be that African-American people did not serve, that we were absent. It's a lie."

    The first chapter to James Bradley's book Flags of Our Fathers, which forms the basis of the movie, opens with a quotation from president Harry Truman. "The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know." It would provide a fitting endnote to Eastwood's film.

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    ^^ Yes, there were black soldiers in the battle on Iwo Jima

    But Letters shows only the Japanese, the movie is about those men. Real men, that existed.

    Flags is the story of what happened to the men that raised the flag on Iwo Jima....and those men were not black. Also, real men that existed.

    If the stories filmed had blacks included in the real events, then Eastwood would be wrong to have left them out. But Spike is looking to rewrite history as it relates to these two particular stories.



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    Quote Originally Posted by msdebagain View Post
    i'm sick and tired of the bitching about Blacks being left out, abused, etc etc. does anyone EVER do anything positive that this man likes?
    Spike has a short memory. He seems to have forgotten about

    Clint's movie "Bird" starring Forest Whitaker; Clint's involvement in casting Morgan Freeman as a Black Cowboy in Unforgiven when it was wriiten for a white performance; Clint's involvement with the Documentary about Thelonious Monk; Clint's involvement with Scorsese's Doumentary on the Blues where Clint gave an audience to great Blues Pianists which many might not know such as Jay McSchann or Pinetop Perkins and many others; Clint using a great deal of Johnny Hartman's songs in Bridges of Madison County.

    Bottom line, he needs to STFU!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jane Doe View Post
    Spike has a short memory. He seems to have forgotten about

    Clint's movie "Bird" starring Forest Whitaker; Clint's involvement in casting Morgan Freeman as a Black Cowboy in Unforgiven when it was wriiten for a white performance; Clint's involvement with the Documentary about Thelonious Monk; Clint's involvement with Scorsese's Doumentary on the Blues where Clint gave an audience to great Blues Pianists which many might not know such as Jay McSchann or Pinetop Perkins and many others; Clint using a great deal of Johnny Hartman's songs in Bridges of Madison County.

    Bottom line, he needs to STFU!
    I think Spike gave him a rap on the knuckles for the Charlie Parker film too. Spike thought that it was presumptous for Clint to make a movie about a black man. Clint defended himself, pointing out that he was coming from the perspective of a jazz and not of race; and he was making the film about one of his heros.

    Incidentally Clint is a self taught jazz pianist, and used to sponsor jazz festivals down in Carmel, California.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Ok, from now on anything BLACK related will be the sole domain of Spike Lee. That seems to be what he wants.

    God, get over yourself and your skin color. Frealz.

    Would I care if some stra8 guy made a movie about gays? No, as long as it was well made.

    Jesus christ, grow the fuck up.
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    Elite Member tkdgirl's Avatar
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    Oh shut up, Spike. You're so 1989 anyway.

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    is strong enough to take everything you have. ~Thomas Jefferson

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    *Yawn*

    A pathetic ploy to try to drum up publicity for his own movie.

    I love how the article called Clint's movies "whites only affairs." One look into Two Letters from Iwo Jima will reveal that the cast was mostly Asian, not to mention that the film was in Japanese language.

    I don't think directors should be pressured to cast a certain race of actors in their films to achieve a racial balance. They should cast who is appropriate for the story. It's not like Clint's never cast any black people in his films. And his wife is a black woman, too.

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    Elite Member RevellingInSane's Avatar
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    I am a minority and I don't agree with Spike Lee. This man is a shit starter who is trying to keep the fires of racism burning brightly because it profits.



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