It was an act of love. Those men on the line were my family, my home. They were closer to me than I can say, closer than my friends had been or ever would be. With “shattering prose,” the New York Times–bestselling author of From Here to Eternity captures the intense combat in the battle of Guadalcanal (San Francisco . Terrence Malick's cinematic version of James Jones's The Thin Red Line was Thin Red Line presents an unrelentingly bleak vision of the world, and when all.

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The Thin Red Line. Context/Production. Great changes in M's absence and success of Jaws (!) and Star Wars (): blockbusters, sequels, high concept. THIITRED LINE The Thin Red Line is neither the distortion of Jones's novel nor the historical aberration that some have claimed it to be. In fact, Malick's film not. 'Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line and Homeric Epic. Spectacle, Simile, Scene and Situation.' In *War as Spectacle: Ancient and Modern Perspectives on the.

More intimate, less sentimental; more soulful, less flashy. The Thin Red Line is a traumatic, contemplative, visually stunning journey into the heart of man. But how did it all began? The filmmaker refused, but ten years later met with Geisler once again. The producer, accompanied by partner John Roberdeau, wanted Malick to write and direct a film based on D. Geisler and Roberdeau agreed to the second proposal and gave Malick a quarter of a million dollars to write the screenplay. Malick started working on the project at the very beginning of , and five months later, sent his pages-long first draft to his producers. This was a crucial moment for the production of The Thin Red Line , as Medavoy supplied the team with a starting budget needed to get the film off the ground. This is the reason why Malick encountered a problem not many other filmmakers ever had to face: There are several interesting anecdotes regarding the casting process which serve as best examples of the level of eagerness and anticipation of movie stars. Stars like Brad Pitt, Gary Oldman, George Clooney and Al Pacino all offered to work for a fraction of what they would usually take, while some of them actually expressed the desire to work pro bono.

A further point to make about the combat film, especially in its contemporary form, is the extent to which sophisticated film technologies achieve increasing battle verisimilitude in a way that privileges the soldier's point-of-view experience. Barrett Hodsdon notes that "the obligatory experiential framework of the Gl film limits its reflexive function, usually placing a seal on the ability of the filmmaker to abstract the genre, either by conceptualizing or 'playing' with the contradictions of the war experience" In The Thin Red Line, the meanings attached to the mission to take a hill are far from certain, and a different form of experience is proposed.

The story's World War II context is largely unannounced; victory is quickly forgotten in a futile skirmish; personal tragedies and emotional disintegration scuttle the men's morale; and the moral claims of the victors usually secure in the American World War II setting are muted at best, or else openly undermined.

Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk Spring film it must conform to certain self-explanatory standards of historical veracity. Thus, while Kenneth Jackson complains that the film "does not tell the viewer enough about history," he also acknowledges a central debate about historical films: True, he goes on to complain that the viewer "learns too little about Guadalcanal, either as personal experience or as grand strategy," but by this point, the damage is done: Jackson's form of criticism assumes such a privileged position especially through its emphasis on specific detail that any viewer unable to tell one kind of troop transport from another is, by implication, incapable of postulating a valid reading of the film.

Thin Red Line (Philosophers on Film) - David Davies, medical-site.info | Affect (Psychology) | Perception

On these same grounds, Lawrence Suid, in his book Guts and Glory, completely dismisses The Thin Red Line, claiming that it "[says] almost nothing about war" —not just Guadalcanal, but war in general. However, as Suid's study demonstrates, a filmmaker dedicated to any concrete realization of a film treating the American military is caught in a bind: Suid is not wrong to suggest that the viewer will not get a correct history of Guadalcanal in The Thin Red Line, but his claim that the film "says nothing about war" is the product of narrow historlographical thinking.

Simon Critchley's assertion seems more productive: Rather, Malick's movie is a story of what we might call 'heroic fact': Basinger's lesson—about distinguishing the assumed pattern from the evolving one—has not been lost on every critic, though: Millett But such perspective is usually in the minority.

Eliot A. Cohen angrily denounces the film as Disgraceful - an act of dishonor towards a tormented author who was not merely exceptionally skilled at the literary craft, but who had lived the story he wrote, and who knew that in later years the real story would be lost in mock heroics and stylized histories - or, in this case, in sentimentality and sheer lack of comprehension.

Let it Slip Away' Cohen ends his review by trotting out Jones's now famous conclusion to the novel - "One day one of their number would write a book about all this, but none of them would believe it, because none of them would remember it that way" - as if this makes sense in itself.

Cohen seems happy for Jones to write the story from one soldier's perspective but denounces the film as "psychologically wrong, failing utterly to get inside the heads of American young men in battle," thus generalizing for all American soldiers and explicitly denying their individual psychologies. And this psychology was, as R. Barton Palmer writes of Jones's concluding lines, a crucial aspect of the novel: The novel also defies the usual ways in which the experience of war is 'universalized'" In a more general comment on the war film, Cohen proposes that the genre can be useful to a "student of international conflict" if "one is willing to learn how to view a movie critically" 'Taking the Movies to War,' ; however, in the outmoded pedantry about 'fidelity' to the source that characterizes his review, he shows little appreciation for film criticism when it comes to literary adaptation.

By contrast. Palmer feels that "in a general sense, [The Thin Red Line], by rewriting the novel is more deeply faithful to it" Jackson and Cohen allow for the possibility, even the necessity, of a personal account that might tell a different story, but woe betide the filmmaker who dares a 'distortion' of the event. Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk Spring The aesthetic standards for combat movies are thus surprisingly high.

They are expected to be narratively and psychologically coherent whilst remaining historically accurate. The "myth" operating inside combat films—of "compatibility" between individual and community values—and become the critical standard operating outside them, largely because of their perceived influence over public opinion and their ambiguous, almost folkloric position as educational often indoctrinating narratives.

Virtually every history film thus becomes a pedagogical and philosophical war involving academic historians, politicians, psychologists, hobbyists, and, in certain cases, the very individuals who were alive at the time of the events depicted. The Timepiece of Memory Opinions of Jones the writer were, and still are, divided. Jones's crude style met with censure as well as praise for its realism, and it is amusing to note Hemingway's notoriously bitter and ironic comment to the publisher Charles Scribner about Jones: Historian Gerald Linderman describes his wartime participation thusly: He was a company runner at Schofield Barracks on the morning that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

For 10 days he prepares lists, helps with reports, runs messages. It begins at o6h3o; at ioh3O he is wounded - a mortar fragment to the head. Ten days later, he returns - to clerking at company headquarters. To be sure, not all during this period remains routine: James Jones must kill him with a knife. Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk Spring catches sight of Jones's chronically injured ankle and orders him out. So what do we have? Pearl Harbor and Guadalcanal - less than two days of combat of any intensity.

Jones knew about the problem of memory and objectivity from the outset: From Here to Eternity, opens with an epigraph from Emerson: If the whole of history is in one man, it is all to be explained from individual experience. Few critics have made this observation or linked it to the fact that Jones intended his three war novels including Whistle to be a loose trilogy where characters 'recurred.

As an event grows more distant in time, so the memory hardens particular aspects and lets slip others, providing the impetus for the generation of myths, which sacrifice individual experiences to a collective narrative. Like filmmakers themselves, Jones has been drafted into both sides of the fight over the authenticity of experience.

While Cohen imagines "the torrent of rich Army profanity that James Jones would have turned loose at seeing his novel He did not intend to soften what he called battle's 'awful animal indecencies. As he explains in Goodbye Darkness - part travel narrative, part exorcism, and part history - One difficulty is that, in looking back through the lens of time, we are constantly revising the definitions of proper nouns, both history's and our own, giving more weight to this battle, less weight to that.

We balkanize the past, too; my recollections of the Canal are as fragmented and jumbled as the jungle I toiled through. And if you were hit in the skull, like me, you are never going to get the shattered pieces of remembrance just right.

Finally, at Okinawa, "continuity disappears; the timepiece in the attic of memory ticks erratically Certain incidents and impressions can be recalled, but only as a kaleidoscopic montage" Manchester's language might not be intentionally filmic, but his resorting to the collapse of "continuity" into "montage" is interesting when considering the narrativization of personal trauma.

His struggle to square his perceptions of his experiences in World War II with the demands of narrative coherence and historical veracity illuminates an anxiety in history films generally and in war films particularly.

Depicting a sympathetic and psychologically accurate protagonist requires the filmmaker to fragment and marginalize broader political and cultural discourses, yet those discourses—and the collective narratives emerging from them—provide the sort of historiography that counts as public fact, as "history.

For example, in an early scene a legend spells out the location and date—"Guadalcanal, 9 November "—and the screenplay opens with a long quotation from Goodbye Darkness, which declares, at its end, that "Any man in combat who lacks comrades who will die for him, or for whom he is willing to die, is not a man at all.

He is truly damned. Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk Spring more explicitly philosophical context, in which the characters Tall, Staros, Welsh, and Witt all perceive the world differently beyond the immediate context of the battle for the hill.

As a result, the film focuses more on the fragmentary subjectivities of the soldiers than the coordinated efforts of a group of soldiers towards a tactically and ideologically established end. Soldiers might fight and even sacrifice themselves for their comrades, but no soldier is more alone and in need of 'comradeship' than Bell upon reading the letter in which his wife leaves him. In this scene, Malick condenses the novel's protracted passages of Bell's anguish and, at the same time, neatly deflates the mail-call scene that generally is central to a combat film's sense of national purpose: Collateral Damage, Collateral History The most notable departure of the film from the novel Is the inclusion of indigenous islanders.

While their representation in the film is doubly controversial - they are not present in the novel, and the opening scenes are anthropologically questionable - their presence summons a history absent from the majority of combat films about World War II.

Guadalcanal Diary includes a brief early scene featuring two native guides who are indirectly commended for their bravery, but the scene is immediately made 'humorous' by a soldier remarking, "Look at the hair on them guys.

What a spot for a mattress factory. When he hears there are natives on the island, he wears a shocked expression and asks "Uh But then, of course, they've never tasted Marine meat. The war had a profound effect on these island communities. On the one hand, many labourers were left unpaid, unfed, and unprotected by their employers, leaving the colonial government to organize repatriations and belated reparations; on the other hand, these events "brought about a loss of face for the whites," from which the colonial authorities never fully recovered Bennett White compile images of engagement between troops mostly American and For a detailed examination of this theme, see Susie Walsh, 'Friendly Fire' Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk Spring inhabitants of the numerous islands that were ravaged by the Pacific campaigns.

World War II is the most photographed war ever, but, as the authors point out, "empty spaces in our visual understanding of ourselves at war" do occur, mostly through censorship and selectivity: Other empty spaces in war pictorial history result not from conscious restriction, but from the fact that certain encounters and events are not even recognized as photographable. Pacific islanders occupied one of these spaces. One image that does occur sporadically is that of the loyal islander acting anonymously as an extra in the greater performance of the war: Villagers who suffered bombing, dislocation, and starvation did not" Lindstrom and White, 4.

The Pacific combat film ignores the island's inhabitants before the war arrived, before thousands of lives and a quarter million tonnes of shipping were lost over a single airfield. Certainly, Malick's representation of the world in which the fighting takes place is not without its ambiguities. Polan contends that "in Malick [there is] a romanticism that seeks to posit a coherent authenticity of nature beyond all subterfuge, beyond all the incoherencies of human conflict," and that his "use of the natives to portray lost innocence is certainly politically problematic and not at all innocent" But such a perspective is faintly countered by the second village scene in The Thin Red Line.

On the face of it, the scene shows the destructive effect of the war on indigenous village life: Looking through the eyes of Witt, the viewer draws comparisons to the idyllic opening scene and shares Witt's shock and disappointment when children do not greet him.

Whereas earlier only his dog tags represented his military identity, here he is fully outfitted, rifle in hand. Griffith's The Battle for Guadalcanal For a more recent history, see Richard B. Frank's Guadalcanal Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk Spring powers has entered this paradise and brought ruination. While the opening and closing scenes suggest a world beyond the war, three encounters between the soldiers and the islanders force that world into the war.

As Charlie Company scurries ashore, a scout confers with Captain Staros about their move inland: The funniest thing I ever did see, sir - they got fish that live in trees. It is a fascinating edit, especially in light of other similarly incidental moments in the following scene, the long march to the front.

Then there is a shot from Doll's point of view as he moves quietly in line through the long grass. The sounds of birds, animals, and the moving grass itself are audible, and clearly the men are nervous after encountering no opposition on the beach. A figure comes into view, moving in the opposite direction, an old man who passes the soldiers without even a glance.

Doll, open-mouthed, watches him go by, and a soft non-diegetic bamboo flute 'breath' is heard, fading as he walks away out of shot. Shortly thereafter, the soldiers reach the top of a hill and are seen gathered around a bare-chested and bare-footed guide.

The camera focuses on his bare feet before moving up his body to his face. In all three shots involving the island men, the combination of image and sound deliberately evokes strangeness and confusion. While one might critique Malick's "Orientalism," these shots also clearly recall facets of the frontier myth: Significantly, The Thin Red Line admits to the traditionally privileged space of the combat film genre a disorienting world that exists prior, during, and after the narrative: The inconsequence of Guadalcanal to the warring armies beyond its tactical position is suggested in the conversation Ian Hogbin writes in A Guadalcanal Society: These are the trophies of former battles in which the nanama of the spirit whose house it is brought victory to the worshippers" Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk Spring between General Quintard and his officers - "Nobody wants this island" - a scene that establishes Sgt.

Welsh's famous rants about "Property," distilled, in the film, into one explosive speech. In imperial eyes, the island is a wasteland, a place "nobody" wants excluding, presumably, the people who live there. In Sands of Iwo Jima , Private Bass asks, "what does anyone want to take an island like this for? The answer from Private Thomas is that war is a trade between real estate and men.

While most films recognize one half of this equation - that war is about sacrificing men for "property" - very few films describe that property beyond the topography of tactical significance. In an interview, cinematographer John Toll describes Malick's interest in "the story of the Melanesian people who lived there during the war" and the director's decision to have second- and even third-unit teams gather footage of communities on Guadalcanal and nearby Savo Island Pizzello Though John Wayne successfully memorialized Iwo Jima with Sands of Iwo Jima, Pacific war narratives have struggled to come to terms with, firstly, the swift growth of friendly and beneficial economic ties with Japan in the post-war years, and, secondly, the ideological quagmire of the war in Vietnam.

In some cases, this struggle encouraged experimentation: Based on Peter Bowman's short, fierce account of a day in the life of a soldier going ashore on a Pacific island. Beach Red transforms the author's bitter, battle-centered antagonism towards the Japanese into a treatise on equality in war.

Roughly coterminous with The Green Berets , Beach Red is an early reflection on '' "That godforsaken backwash", James Michener in Manchester ; "fleurs du mal", Manchester ; "weird green blotch," Bowman 7. Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk Spring the passage of myth through history as the 'Good War' myth runs into the divisive trauma of Vietnam.

Marilyn Young proposes that films from the Pacific theatre have suffered because "jungle warfare recalls Vietnam too directly" , while Cohen complains more specifically that a film like The Thin Red Line "[transposes] one military experience on to another": Particularly in its sympathetic view of the Japanese enemy, the film raises the spectre of America's turbulent interventions in Southeast Asia at a time when a battalion of films set in Europe seeks to redeem a military record sullied by similar interventions around the world.

The Thin Red Line

American soldiers might zealously shoot Nazis in Saving Private Ryan, for example, but that film re-inscribes character at the national level, challenging viewers to use the sacrifices in the Good War as an index of the good life. For the audience of The Thin Red Line, there is something far more disconcerting at work as soldier Charlie Dale casually examines the teeth of the living and the dead, with broken cigarettes up his nose and pliers in his hand.

And yet Malick has Dale toss his bag of teeth away while sobbing uncontrollably in the rain, whereas Jones has the newly promoted Dale looking for a bigger jar. Malick could introduce material that would help us understand Dale's initially calloused actions, and he hints at such brutality when Charlie Company finds two mutilated soldiers on their march to the line, but Malick's aim is not to balance the public record; it is to investigate and excavate the individual record.

While the "historical particularity" of Dale's actions might "anchor some of [Malick's] story in history," Streamas - because such mutilation became increasingly common as the campaign wore on - the scene functions not only as a revision of earlier filmic representations of the war; it also shows the appalling emotional struggle of men in combat engaged in dehumanizing behaviour without censure.

For a first-hand account of "field stripping", see E. Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk Spring forcing American soldiers to 'fight dirty' just as learning the Indian way helped the frontier warrior fight his "savage" foe in the Western , Malick's film measures the individual price to be paid. Malick's sympathy for the Japanese in The Thin Red Line is really sympathy for all men in war and is a way of dealing with the combat film's fundamental ethical quandary: The most obvious demonstration of this sympathy is a remarkable shot of a Japanese face, half buried in the dirt so that it resembles a mask.

A voiceover says, "Are you righteous? Does your confidence lie in this? Are you loved by all? Know that I was, too. Do you imagine your sufferings will be less because you loved goodness? It leads to the American soldiers finally attacking the Japanese camp, in a scene that places everyone inside an eerie mist and that cuts with such graceful disorientation between the waiting Japanese and the cautiously advancing Americans that the opposing groups of combatants become humanized—as individuals, beyond their corporate identities—by the shared experience of dread.

Malick's approach to representing the enemy, thus, neither vilifies American soldiers, as many Vietnam films have done, nor promotes both sides of a moral or political argument, as one finds in Beach Red and Clint Eastwood's two films on Iwo Jima.

Malick dazes his viewers by suspending the argument altogether and sinking them in a more personal response to carnage and death. The Thin Red Line follows Charlie Company almost all the time, and through various characters we see the tremendous emotional turmoil and unpredictable behaviour of individual men in these uniquely horrible conditions.

Doll says in voiceover after his first kill, "I killed a man Worst thing you can do. Worse than rape There's plenty of valour in the actions of Malick's Charlie Company - Witt's courage and sacrifice, Welsh's mad rush to aid the dying Telia, Doll's charge for the Japanese stronghold. Bell's recce up the hill - but little nobility in the end. Weingartner, 'Trophies of War' Poisons the soul. Doubt, anxiety, madness, and post- traumatic stress belong in Vietnam, not amongst the brave fighting men of World War II.

But Malick is actually in line with Jones, who often treated macho representations of combat satirically. At one point in the novel. Bell converses with his absent wife in interior monologue: You want to make life. You dont [sic] understand men" As Steven R.

Carter has written, "The Thin Red Line devastatingly comments on the 'toughness' of men in combat who fail to acknowledge the wholeness of the masculine and the feminine Transcending Genre In its departures from the combat-movie genre. The Thin Red Line questions the myths of national unity and character that have grown out of World War II, and the film subverts the mythic qualities of those narratives that have come to represent World War II, just as The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now, and Platoon have, in a reverse tone, come to represent the war in Vietnam.

The Thin Red Line questions the untroubled return to the values of the Greatest Generation by reminding the viewer of the intervening trauma of Vietnam and, more important, by reminding the viewer of the trauma of conflict for everyone involved.

The questions posed by the film in voiceover are muttered doubts about the spiritual cleansing of the national character through most World War II revival films. Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk Spring Malick's film suggests, instead, that the negative myths of Vietnam and the positive myths of World War II are inseparable stitches in the same seam that runs back to the origins of America's conception of itself.

Against offering evidence for the necessity of winning WWII, no matter the cost. The Thin Red Line maneuvers the details of the war to the margins, details that would form the narrative crux of other combat films. It also refuses to affirm the importance of the war film as an educational or commemorative text, a way of teaching those who weren't there what it was really like. While Malick stages several ground-shaking battle sequences and spares the viewer little in depicting the physical annihilation of war, he refuses to make these a central locus for meaning.

Subtly but forcefully, the film challenges the ethos of the genre and the culture of the combat film, where imagery and narrative structure combine to set the epic reach of the war film—in its grand depictions of the wastefulness of war, the capricious termination of young lives, the class battles between those who give and those who take orders—within the scope of individual experience. In The Thin Red Line's closing shots, America's newly affirmed nationhood, yearning to rise from the epic tales of toughened young fighting men and their conquests of strange shores, is dissolved into the idiosyncratic images of a life lived wholly outside the mythologizing discourses of war.

Works Cited Anderegg, Michael, ed. Inventing Vietnam: The War Film and Television. Temple University Press Basinger, Jeanine. Anatomy of a Genre. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press Bennett, Judith A..

Wealth of the Solomons: A History of a Pacific Archipelago, — University of Hawaii Press African History on Screen. Particularly in its sympathetic view of the Japanese enemy, the film raises the spectre of America's turbulent interventions in Southeast Asia at a time when a battalion of films set in Europe seeks to redeem a military record sullied by similar interventions around the world.

American soldiers might zealously shoot Nazis in Saving Private Ryan, for example, but that film re-inscribes character at the national level, challenging viewers to use the sacrifices in the Good War as an index of the good life. For the audience of The Thin Red Line, there is something far more disconcerting at work as soldier Charlie Dale casually examines the teeth of the living and the dead, with broken cigarettes up his nose and pliers in his hand.

And yet Malick has Dale toss his bag of teeth away while sobbing uncontrollably in the rain, whereas Jones has the newly promoted Dale looking for a bigger jar. Malick could introduce material that would help us understand Dale's initially calloused actions, and he hints at such brutality when Charlie Company finds two mutilated soldiers on their march to the line, but Malick's aim is not to balance the public record; it is to investigate and excavate the individual record.

While the "historical particularity" of Dale's actions might "anchor some of [Malick's] story in history," Streamas - because such mutilation became increasingly common as the campaign wore on - the scene functions not only as a revision of earlier filmic representations of the war; it also shows the appalling emotional struggle of men in combat engaged in dehumanizing behaviour without censure.

For a first-hand account of "field stripping", see E. Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk Spring forcing American soldiers to 'fight dirty' just as learning the Indian way helped the frontier warrior fight his "savage" foe in the Western , Malick's film measures the individual price to be paid. Malick's sympathy for the Japanese in The Thin Red Line is really sympathy for all men in war and is a way of dealing with the combat film's fundamental ethical quandary: The most obvious demonstration of this sympathy is a remarkable shot of a Japanese face, half buried in the dirt so that it resembles a mask.

A voiceover says, "Are you righteous? Does your confidence lie in this? Are you loved by all? Know that I was, too. Do you imagine your sufferings will be less because you loved goodness? It leads to the American soldiers finally attacking the Japanese camp, in a scene that places everyone inside an eerie mist and that cuts with such graceful disorientation between the waiting Japanese and the cautiously advancing Americans that the opposing groups of combatants become humanized—as individuals, beyond their corporate identities—by the shared experience of dread.

Malick's approach to representing the enemy, thus, neither vilifies American soldiers, as many Vietnam films have done, nor promotes both sides of a moral or political argument, as one finds in Beach Red and Clint Eastwood's two films on Iwo Jima.

Malick dazes his viewers by suspending the argument altogether and sinking them in a more personal response to carnage and death. The Thin Red Line follows Charlie Company almost all the time, and through various characters we see the tremendous emotional turmoil and unpredictable behaviour of individual men in these uniquely horrible conditions. Doll says in voiceover after his first kill, "I killed a man Worst thing you can do.

Worse than rape There's plenty of valour in the actions of Malick's Charlie Company - Witt's courage and sacrifice, Welsh's mad rush to aid the dying Telia, Doll's charge for the Japanese stronghold. Bell's recce up the hill - but little nobility in the end. Weingartner, 'Trophies of War' Poisons the soul. Doubt, anxiety, madness, and post- traumatic stress belong in Vietnam, not amongst the brave fighting men of World War II.

But Malick is actually in line with Jones, who often treated macho representations of combat satirically. At one point in the novel. Bell converses with his absent wife in interior monologue: You want to make life.

You dont [sic] understand men" As Steven R. Carter has written, "The Thin Red Line devastatingly comments on the 'toughness' of men in combat who fail to acknowledge the wholeness of the masculine and the feminine Transcending Genre In its departures from the combat-movie genre.

The Thin Red Line questions the myths of national unity and character that have grown out of World War II, and the film subverts the mythic qualities of those narratives that have come to represent World War II, just as The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now, and Platoon have, in a reverse tone, come to represent the war in Vietnam.

The Thin Red Line questions the untroubled return to the values of the Greatest Generation by reminding the viewer of the intervening trauma of Vietnam and, more important, by reminding the viewer of the trauma of conflict for everyone involved. The questions posed by the film in voiceover are muttered doubts about the spiritual cleansing of the national character through most World War II revival films.

Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk Spring Malick's film suggests, instead, that the negative myths of Vietnam and the positive myths of World War II are inseparable stitches in the same seam that runs back to the origins of America's conception of itself.

Terrence Malick’s ‘The Thin Red Line’: The Traumatic and Poetic Journey into the Heart of Man

Against offering evidence for the necessity of winning WWII, no matter the cost. The Thin Red Line maneuvers the details of the war to the margins, details that would form the narrative crux of other combat films.

It also refuses to affirm the importance of the war film as an educational or commemorative text, a way of teaching those who weren't there what it was really like. While Malick stages several ground-shaking battle sequences and spares the viewer little in depicting the physical annihilation of war, he refuses to make these a central locus for meaning. Subtly but forcefully, the film challenges the ethos of the genre and the culture of the combat film, where imagery and narrative structure combine to set the epic reach of the war film—in its grand depictions of the wastefulness of war, the capricious termination of young lives, the class battles between those who give and those who take orders—within the scope of individual experience.

In The Thin Red Line's closing shots, America's newly affirmed nationhood, yearning to rise from the epic tales of toughened young fighting men and their conquests of strange shores, is dissolved into the idiosyncratic images of a life lived wholly outside the mythologizing discourses of war.

Works Cited Anderegg, Michael, ed. Inventing Vietnam: The War Film and Television. Temple University Press Basinger, Jeanine. Anatomy of a Genre. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press Bennett, Judith A.. Wealth of the Solomons: A History of a Pacific Archipelago, — University of Hawaii Press African History on Screen.

Cape Town: Double Storey Bowman, Peter. Beach Red. New York: Random House Burgoyne, Robert. The Hollywood Historical Film. Blackwell Cain, Jimmie E. Carter, Steven R. James Jones: An American Orientalist Master. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press Chion, Michel. BFI Publishing Christie, Patrick Paul.

Louisville, Kentucky February 22, Available at http: Critchley, Simon. Routledge , Cohen, Eliot A. Doherty, Thomas. Projections of War: Hollywood, American Culture, and World War 11, revised and updated edition. Columbia University Press Dower, John W.

War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War. Pantheon Books Francaviglia, Richard and Jerry Rodnitzky. Portraying the Past in Fiim. Frank, Richard B. The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle. Penguin Books Gates, Philippa. Griffith, Samuel B. The Battle for Guadalcanal. Lippincott Company Hellmann, John. Temple University Press , Hodsdson, Barrett.

A Guadalcanal Society: The Kaoka Speakers. Holt, Rinehart and Winston Hynes, Samuel. Jackson, Kenneth. Representing Vietnam,' in Hollywood and War: The Film Reader, edited by J. David Slocum. Jeffords, Susan. Jones, James.

From Here to Eternity. Collins The Thin Red Line Laurel Giles and J. Michael Lennon. Birch Lane Press Klawans, Stuart. Kline, Michael. Lacy, Robert. Linderman, Gerald. Accessed online at http: Lindstrom, Lamont and Geoffrey M.

Island Encounters: Black and White Memories of the Pacific War. Smithsonian Institution Press Malick, Terrence. Revised first draft of The Thin Red Line. Manchester, William. Goodbye Darkness: A fVlemoir of the Pacific War. Michael Joseph Michaels, Lloyd. Millett, Allan R. Misek, Richard. Morison, Samuel E. August 2—February Little, Brown and Company Barton Palmer.

Cambridge University Press , Paris, Michael. Representations in Film and Television, edited by Michael Paris. Palgrave Macmillan , Pizzello, Stephen.

Polan, Dana.

Terrence Malick's War Movie,' Metro , Rasmussen, Karen and Sharon D. Ray, Robert. A Certain Tendency of the Hollywood Cinema, — Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press Rollins, Peter C.

How the Movies have Portrayed the American Past. Rosenstone, Robert. Visions of the Past: Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press Rosenstone, Robert A. O'Connor, Robert Brent Toplin. Sledge, E. With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa Presidio Press Stevens, Sharon Ritenour. Review of The Thin Red Line. The Journal of Military History Streamas, John.

Wallflower Press , Studlar, Gaylyn and David Desser. Rambo's rewriting of the Vietnam War,' Film Quarterly Suid, Lawrence. Guts and Glory: University of Kentucky Press Toplin, Robert Brent.

Reel History: In Defense of Hollywood. University of Kansas Press Guadalcanal Diary The Modern Library

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