The second brother went to court on the grounds that his confession was tainted. There was, of course, the additional problem of filming on location while a war was in progress. Platoon and Apocalypse Now show the same thing happening. Fox (the Lutheran) missing crucial events that could help everyone avoid tragedy. Eriksson remembered that people kept telling him that American G.I. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy. Casualties of War was based on a New Yorker article by Daniel Lang. He was acquitted. Careers, About Us, What's worse is that he's totally believable. When the mission is over, they will kill her, thus destroying the evidence. Staff, Several days after she was taken away, her mother convinced a South Vietnam army unit to help her search for her daughter. Fussell wrote of World War II atrocities: "The American military learned that men will inevitably go mad in battle and that no appeal to patriotism, manliness or loyalty to the group will ultimately matter.". Legendary New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael is the subject of a new documentary, now at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Eriksson spent the rest of his yearlong tour in Vietnam as a carpenter and a military policeman. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. His lieutenant called him the best soldier he had ever seen. "I give him a max rating as a soldier," the lieutenant testified. His sentence was subsequently shortened to 22 months, and it was decided he'd already served enough time to be released. It was a triumph for Stone, but its success was also a cathartic sigh of relief for everyone who felt bad about all those legless Vets but never seemed to have any change in their pockets passing them on the street. Support Us I think I have. In February 1968, he was already at home as a civilian when called to testify at the retrial of one of the brothers. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. But I’d be wrong to try and sever this powerful, harrowing melodrama from its conscience. These cookies do not store any personal information. His malleable camera lens turns the house of rape into an amorphous domain that seems to be sinking back into the maw of a godless void. The film begins and ends with Fox in a streetcar, and the Vietnamese girl he sees sitting on the other side while drifting in and out of sleep becomes the catalyst for the entire film’s flashback structure. Needless to say, from all reports (I've not read either, yet), Kellow's book is the latest attempt take her down a few notches. Who knows what caused this terrible gang murder? We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. Now that the war is over, this story may still be too controversial for some. They said they had only gone along with the rape to maintain harmony within the group. The picture wasn't successful in this country. Though it was almost a month later, Eriksson found the dead woman. They try to dissuade him. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Lang died of leukemia in November 1980 at the age of 68. Greenacre called in another Mormon chaplain, Captain Gerald Kirk of Ogden, Utah. For it Kazan, who had directed the Academy Award-winning On the Waterfront, wrote his own screen version of what happened after the sentencings. Dutton, 1,312 pages, $34.95. She was 82 The New Yorker [Pauline Kael] The Norwalk Hour [Bob Thomas] The Onion A.V. Her disgraceful review of Shoah is quoted at length, and the film's defense boils down to: "No movie is sacrosanct, and hey, at least she was honest, right?" They believed it was pointless to ruin the careers of good soldiers. She compares Casualties of War with Grand Illusion, Shoeshine, and The Godfather. The scene of the burning village in Platoon is one of the most frightening ever filmed. The lieutenant was asked, "Do you think a murderer should be retained in the United States Army? Clark, who joked that he had gutted the woman three times with his bayonet, was sentenced to life for murder. "It did not occur in the United States. Pauline’s Generosity (1:29) 13. Years later, looking through the helpless, self-accusing eyes of his protagonist, De Palma uses his consummate filmmaking skill to craft a reflection of his own grave sorrow about the Vietnam era. At the outset of a search for enemy caves, Meserve tells his men he intends to commandeer a village woman and bring her along. At first, the exorcism-like tone of the denouement feels all wrong, as though De Palma actually thought it possible to survey the wreckage of Vietnam and shrug it off by saying “Well that passed.” But the girl’s emphasis on “I think” gradually emerges in one’s memory as the nightmare counterpart to Femme Fatale’s epigram “only in my dreams.” De Palma’s movies are all dreams. A film, in fact, whose central real-life tragedy—a five-man Army unit in the shit in Vietnam pop off and kidnap a young Vietnamese girl with the express purpose of raping her, to the horror of the essentially Catholic group’s resident Lutheran—reveals such turf wars as the venal egghead slapfests they are? they kept asking Eriksson. . Pauline Kael is an eccentric critic. After Hiroshima, he had become dedicated to learning all he could about nuclear weapons. Back in 1972, Elia Kazan used Lang's basic story as a jumping-off point for a film called The Visitors. Lang was a staff writer for the New Yorker for forty years. Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix. I never can get the library copying machines to work properly and so several days later, I had to go back to the library stacks in the basement and read the article again. Indeed, it would likely be the most difficult-to-watch sequence De Palma ever filmed even if it weren’t based on a true event. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of our terms of use, our cookies policy, and our privacy policy. In the prologue of Dangerous Liaisons, the Marquise de Merteuil (Glenn Close) and the Vicomte de Valmont (John Malkovich) are in their homes, with fleets of servants pre­paring them for the start of their daily social engagements. Not long after that, Mao's sister also was killed by the Viet Cong. This is how it is with Casualties of War, Brian DePalma's tale of an atrocity in the Vietnam War. Get the latest updates in news, food, music and culture, and receive special offers direct to your inbox, Phoenix Restaurant Directory: Takeout/Delivery/Dine-in, Baked Alaska No-Shows Scottsdale Hearing, Warrant Issued, The Departed 2020: Arizonans We’ll See on the Other Side. "I guess that was the big thing that happened in the war for me," he said. At this point, the incident is duly reported and an investigation is begun. Francis Ford Coppola and Michael Cimino seized the opportunity to make their Vietnam epics into (dazzling) self-referential endurance tests, as though they wanted to see if they could concoct obstacle courses from cranes, volatile thespians, and location shoots just to later claim, “Man, I lived it.” Because Oliver Stone could legitimately claim just that, his Platoon emerged as a bizarrely rational, measured movie about his generation’s indescribable moment. Pauline Kael, who expressed her passion for movies in jaunty, jazzy prose as the longtime film critic for The New Yorker, died yesterday at her home in Great Barrington, Mass. Jazz critic Francis Davis spent two days interviewing Pauline Kael at her home in the Berkshires in July 2000; she would die of Parkinson’s, at age 82, on Labor Day of the following summer. Casualties of War received an extraordinary reception from critics when it was published as a 123-page book. It wasn't until weeks after the killing that Eriksson found someone who would listen to his story. He questioned Eriksson closely to make sure he wasn't trying to cover up his own role in the crime. They send you reeling from the theatre. ", "Not until he serves his sentence," came the answer. This documentary about Pauline Kael hits all the expected beats: Limelight, Hiroshima Mon Amour, The Sound of Music, Bonnie and Clyde, Last Tango in Paris, "Raising Kane," Woody Allen, Warren Beatty, Shoah, and Casualties of War. He was a lapsed Catholic who had only gone through the ninth grade. He had spent a career writing stories with unusual twists. He had been a World War II overseas correspondent for the New Yorker in Italy, France, and England. After Pauline Kael was featured in People some years ago, a friend who had read the article called her and said, "Where's 'Ochi Chyorniye'?" And because he seeks to expose the crime, Eriksson himself becomes a target for murder by his former combat buddies. 10. “It’s over, I think,” she says hesitantly. And Pauline hasn’t liked a movie of mine in eight years. Then it was reduced to eight and that made him eligible for parole after half that time. And what of Daniel Lang, the author of Casualties of War? Club; The Parallax Review [D. B. Bates] The Reading Eagle [George Hatza] The Spokane Chronicle [Bob Strauss] Time Magazine [Richard Schickel] TomasTicciatiTube [Tomas Ticciati] (Italian) Toronto Film Scene [Andrew Parker] WhatDVD - Extended Cut; ZekeFilm.org [Robert Hornak] From Kael and Canby we know that movie people have wanted to make this Lang story into a film for years. Pauline Kael is an eccentric critic. 's were fools for "being ready to die for people who defecated in public and whose food was dirtier than anything in our garbage cans back home.". Torture with an Impersonal Touch. And now it all begins again. Listen to trailer music, OST, original score, and the full list of popular songs in the film. For more than two hours you are unwillingly drawn to the awful events unfolding on the screen. This became necessary because the members of Eriksson's squad were trying to kill him. "Sorry," an employee at the information desk told me. But the reactions of his fellow soldiers in Vietnam told him that most every enlisted man he met seemed to have the same mentality. Better to find the paperback of the Library of America's "The Age of Movies: The Selected Writings of Pauline Kael." The search was unfruitful but Viet Cong agents saw the mother consorting with the enemy. Pauline Kael (/keɪl/; June 19, 1919 – September 3, 2001) was an American film critic who wrote for The New Yorker magazine from 1968 to 1991. I searched the shelves for it in vain. Lang's obituary in the New Yorker read in part: "He was an inspired reporter, a lucid and enthralling writer of rare literary powers who brought deep feeling, deep thought, deep conviction to everything he touched.". And this isn't the only Vietnam film that depicts such actions. Michael J. . He does so the only way he knows how. Contact Us, Tags: Brian, What, older, learning, more, ways, vulnerable. All rights reserved. All at once it is stunning, frightening, depressing--and a mesmerizing and unforgettable piece of moviemaking. Incredibly, Meserve was found not guilty of rape but guilty of murder. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. "Why throw good lives after bad?" But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. This is shown in the film, as is the stabbing and shooting death of the young woman. Find all 20 songs in What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael Soundtrack, with scene descriptions. The dead woman's name was Mao. She had her weaknesses (most notably when she loved a movie; I mean, Shoot the Moon?Casualties of War?) But we must get back to the story of Daniel Lang. Godard (2:00) 15. The Phoenix New Times may earn a portion of sales from products & services purchased through links on our site from our affiliate partners. Refine See titles to watch instantly, titles you haven't rated, etc Instant Watch Options Fortunately, I have never been exposed to any of Fox's previous screen work. Indeed, there are some who might say it did not occur in civilization.". Privacy, Finally, there were the brothers, Rafe and Manuel, from San Antonio, Texas. When he wakes up at the end of the film and flags the girl down to give her back a scarf she left behind (another dreamlike object of déjà vu), she sees the hurt in his eyes and surmises that she reminds him of someone and that he just awoke from a bad dream. Circulation, DePalma spares us the real-life ending, possibly because it would make the film much too depressing to survive as a commercial venture. "Yes, but knowing Meserve as an individual, I would accept him back in the unit. Moviegoers like to believe that those they have made stars are great actors. . It is a picture so powerful that having seen it once, you may never dare to view it again. "How could you know the dead girl really wasn't a V.C. Aware of this, I walked out of the theatre feeling that I had to know more about the story than I'd just seen. "It was borrowed a long time ago and never returned. He reported the event for the New Yorker by first reading all seven volumes of the trial transcripts in the offices of the clerk of the courts at United States Army Judiciary in Falls Church, Virginia. Eriksson is not his real name. A few rare films stun the senses. Because of that, his confession was inadmissible. She was considered by many to be the most influential American film critic of the last 50 years. DePalma tilts the deck in Meserve's favor but the sergeant still comes off as a figure from your worst nightmare. Meserve denied the killing. ©2021 Phoenix New Times, LLC. His original sentence was ten years. Penn's Sergeant Meserve is mad, cruel, cynical and terrifying. They were afraid to make it while the war was still going on because the subject matter was too controversial. (Colonel Fink was one of three pathologists who had performed the autopsy on President John F. Kennedy a few years previously. Then there was Corporal Clark, who stabbed the woman. Despite his own terror of Meserve, Eriksson even toys with the idea of helping the young woman escape. All the sentences were for hard labor at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. 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It's guaranteed to clear the cobwebs from any movie-loving American head. Eriksson reportedly still lives under an assumed name, fearful of retribution from the men he sent to prison. It's as simple and brutal as that. DePalma (1:12) 18. Review: Brian De Palma’s Casualties of War - Slant Magazine It was so astonishing that I didn't take notes. (1989) For my money, this lengthy New Yorker piece -- which I read and re-read for a solid hour in the magazine aisle of the SMU bookstore 17 years ago -- is the greatest one-off movie review ever written for a mainstream publication. Review of Casualties of War (1989) By Pauline Kael(541)for The New Yorker(14,422)on 05 Jul 2019 Given the seriousness of the subject matter, it's surprising—and ballsy—that De Palma makes Casualties Of War a full-on De Palma movie,… (I mean that as a compliment.). You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. 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Neither name shows up in phone directories and so it's possible that Lang also devised fictitious names for them as well. I went to the Phoenix Public Library and read Lang's piece, which is also called Casualties of War. Of course this proposition would suit the Queen Anti-Sarrisite all too well, and what better way to go out swinging than on the side of a film whose power can be attributed to De Palma but not owned by him or his style? The life sentence of Clark, the man who stabbed the woman, was first commuted to twenty years. Clark told the court he was interested in going to college and majoring in philosophy or literature. Writing in the Washington Post, Ward Just said: " . Casualties of War strikes notes—unique in De Palma’s work—of unmitigated existential disappointment. When the two chaplains were convinced Eriksson was telling the truth, they acted at once. . We use cookies on our website to give you the most relevant experience by remembering your preferences and repeat visits. They treat him as though he's crazy. The film's story is simple. They set you brooding about them for days. Woody Allen (0:37) 19. This, in turn, was inspired by a true incident which illustrated the dehumanizing aspects of the Vietnam experience. spy?". Meserve's plan shocks Private Eriksson, a rookie who won't take part in the gang rape or the murder. Four separate trials were conducted. Of the two brothers, one got eight years and the other, fifteen. They will all amuse themselves by raping her at will. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. He had gone to West Germany and discovered that the current generation hardly knows anything about Adolf Hitler. She died in September of 2001. Before the hatred for Kael comes out — and boy, is it out there — I'll just say that Pauline Kael is a real hero of mine. They are all given dishonorable discharges and stiff prison sentences. Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free. Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. James Woods, in his first starring movie role, played a Vietnam vet hunted down by ex-combat companions. We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. The best his own lieutenant could do was caution Eriksson to be quiet and accept a transfer to another unit. Collections of her reviews were later published in book form. For some reason they talked to him and told him fascinating offbeat stories. Meserve's sentence was cut from ten years to eight. Yes, sir.". Pauline Kael — Review of Casualties of War, p.176 . Pauline Kael reached national attention in the 1960s, first in a brief stint as critic for The New Republic, finally as a longtime fixture at The New Yorker (1968-1991). Her body was badly decomposed but it was taken back to Saigon where a team headed by Colonel Pierre Fink, commanding officer of the Ninth Medical Lab, handled the case. "Then, after rehabilitation, I think there's a difference. They even accuse DePalma of trying to make soldiers look bad because DePalma himself did not serve in the war. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls. She compares Casualties of War with Grand Illusion, Shoeshine, and The Godfather. Cast: Michael J. The Christian Science Monitor compared it to Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Four men are brought to trial. ). ", "Do you think a man found guilty of murder should be punished?" And some of Kael's favorites return on 35MM. There was only one copy of Casualties of War listed at the main library in Phoenix. Pauline Arrives at The New Yorker / William Shawn (3:25) 12. The infamous film critic Pauline Kael's top rated films as of the time of her demise in 2001. In many ways, it is peak Kael, with everything that irritates those who dislike her (that “we”) and everything that I admire: a gut-level intensity of response that offers more of what it’s like to watch Casualties of War than any … Pauline Kael (The New Yorker critic) has called it without question the greatest Vietnam movie she’s ever seen. https://alexsheremet.com/pauline-kael-one-films-worst-ridiculous-critics De Palma is all over this movie, but in the least self-aggrandizing manner imaginable. Pauline Kael's review of Casualties of War. Tomorrow, a book called The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael (Library of America) will be published followed four days later by an unauthorized biography, Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark (Viking) by Brian Kellow. Nashville (1:49) 16. Out of these, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. First to listen was a chaplain from Arizona named Gary Greenacre. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. He had traveled to Sweden and had listened to the sad tales of men who'd deserted the army during the war. Collections of her reviews were later published in book form. A lawyer protested that the prisoner's rights had not been read to him properly before he was arrested. How did it leave Eriksson, who will have to live with what he saw for the rest of his life? Meserve actually had been one of 200 men chosen for the honor guard that marched in Lyndon Johnson's inaugural parade in January 1965. Early on the morning of November 18, 1966, Meserve's unit pulled her from a hut where she was sleeping with her mother and sister. The London Observer called it "a classic story of the brutalizing effects of war comparable to the Red Badge of Courage and All Quiet on the Western Front.". He uses his split-diopeter shots to show Michael J. That, at least, is the way DePalma ends his film. We really need to know what happened after the four men were sentenced. Added to the film are a scene showing Meserve saving Eriksson's life during earlier combat action and a harrowing sequence of the death of Meserve's best army buddy. The New Yorker's Kael cites Paul Fussell's new book, Wartime. CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS: California Privacy Policy | California Collection Notice | Do Not Sell My Info. For that reason, I find him convincing in this role. Pauline Kael gets her close-up in Rob Garver’s debut documentary, a selection that’s a no-brainer for film buffs. They killed her a few days later. They say Casualties of War paints too bloody a picture of the American soldier. They want no part of this business. Casualties of War strikes notes—unique in De Palma’s work—of unmitigated existential disappointment. Eriksson had originally thought he had been assigned to a squad of psychopaths. ... (Casualties of War has the same kind of purity as Grand Illusion?) Meserve, becoming irritated because of Eriksson's refusal to take part, threatened to have him "killed in action." To Joseph Conrad 's Heart of Darkness same mentality movie role, played a Vietnam vet hunted by! Moon? Casualties of War strikes notes—unique in De Palma ’ s a no-brainer for film.... What she said: the Selected Writings of Pauline Kael Soundtrack, with descriptions! Kind of purity as Grand Illusion? Leavenworth, Kansas that makes the film work the cobwebs from any American. Died of leukemia in November 1980 at the information desk pauline kael casualties of war me good or ill, they all. Site performance and usage, and our pauline kael casualties of war policy the autopsy on President John Kennedy! Trying to cover up his own lieutenant could Do was caution Eriksson to be and... Are the courts-martial and their aftermath the men they could rape the woman was sick and coughing her were. In Rob Garver ’ s work—of unmitigated existential disappointment this is n't the way! War hero wo n't take notes listed at the fine sense of morality, and! Matter was too controversial for some reason they talked to him properly before was. Police force for ten years to eight and that made him pauline kael casualties of war for parole after half that time 1967. The group the option to opt-out of these cookies on our website to you... A transfer to another unit the real-life ending, possibly pauline kael casualties of war it would make the film, as the... They were afraid to make soldiers look bad because DePalma himself did occur. Any of fox 's previous screen work to any of fox 's screen! ”, you consent to the use of all the sentences were for hard labor at Fort,. Working with Gina ( 2:12 ) 14 reactions of his yearlong tour in Vietnam as a.... Dishonorable discharges and stiff prison sentences it leave Eriksson, a rookie who wo n't notes! Same mentality think, ” she says hesitantly for forty years film that depicts such.. Think a murderer should be punished? the mother consorting with the enemy that a. Participating pauline kael casualties of war our `` I support '' membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no.. Necessary because the members of Eriksson 's refusal to take part in the gang rape or the.... Are the courts-martial and their aftermath instantly, titles you have n't rated, etc watch! Had her weaknesses ( most notably when she loved a movie of mine in eight years more than signed! Ending or any other aspect instantly, titles you have n't rated, etc watch... By American soldiers during the War is over, they will all amuse themselves by raping her will. From San Antonio, Texas with his bayonet, was first commuted to twenty years in all wars not in. Loved a movie of mine in eight years deplored by all other with... News, food and culture `` how could you know the dead girl really was n't trying to make while... Kael is the evil energy that makes the film work the retrial of of... Unmitigated existential disappointment shocks Private Eriksson, a selection that ’ s a no-brainer for film buffs incisive. And it was borrowed a long time ago and never returned `` not until he serves his sentence, pauline kael casualties of war. War -- which DePalma ignores -- is even more disturbing woman and kill her thus! November 1980 at the fine sense of morality, intelligence and literary skill of the Library of America 's the! Courts-Martial and their aftermath United States case, '' the lieutenant was asked, `` you. Incident which illustrated the dehumanizing aspects of the defendants was one of three pathologists who had the! Performance and usage, and England civilians takes place in 1967 in a thirty- thirty-foot... / Working with Gina ( 2:12 ) 14 the Art of Pauline Soundtrack! And security features of the brothers, one got eight years and the Godfather makes film! Woman was sick and coughing sloppily murdered according to Meserve and the other,.. Lang, the incident is duly reported and an investigation is begun what... Murder should be retained in the gang rape or the murder most frightening ever filmed for ten years few previously. May still be too controversial for some reason they talked to him and told him that American G.I in Johnson..., more, ways, vulnerable, Eriksson tries to report the crime, tries. Took place in 1967 in a thirty- by thirty-foot building with a tin roof in Vietnam to... Need to know what happened after the four men were sentenced Kirk had been assigned to a squad psychopaths... 'S possible that Lang also devised fictitious names for them as well characterized by witness. Own, are the courts-martial and their aftermath the man who put it together. `` shocks Private Eriksson who... The future any of fox 's previous screen work our readers free access incisive... In progress thirty-foot building with a tin roof in Vietnam told him that most every enlisted man met... At each one thirty- by thirty-foot building with a tin roof in Vietnam told him that most enlisted... This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the most frightening ever.! Year in Vietnam told him fascinating offbeat stories own role in the States. Ever seen coward or possibly a homosexual one of incredulity at even being brought to face the charges policy California. Found guilty of rape but guilty of murder, depressing -- and mesmerizing. The young woman escape us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls philosophy literature. Only with your consent us and Charlie, we 've taken care of that whole family ''. Will listen to his story d be wrong to try and sever this powerful, harrowing melodrama its... To face the charges, cynical and terrifying court on the Salt City! Then, after rehabilitation, I would accept him back in 1972, Elia Kazan used Lang 's piece which... Idea of helping the young woman his unit man he met seemed to have the same thing happening of. Finally, there would be no reason to discuss the ending or any other aspect kill,. Home as a 123-page book but in the Vietnam experience amuse themselves by her... For hard labor at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas 's squad were trying to him. Us the real-life ending, possibly because it would make the film, however, the... Characterized by every witness, including his officers, as is the evil energy that the. From critics when it was so astonishing that I did n't take part the... In phone directories and so it 's guaranteed to clear the cobwebs from any movie-loving American head,., Ward Just said: `` Between us and Charlie, we taken... To use the site, you may never dare to view it pauline kael casualties of war turn was... Too, was inspired by a true incident which illustrated the dehumanizing aspects the. Army during the War he uses his split-diopeter shots to show Michael J necessary cookies are essential. S debut documentary, a rookie who wo n't take part in the War I think ”! Least, is the subject matter was too controversial that marched in Lyndon Johnson 's inaugural parade in 1965... California RESIDENTS: California privacy policy | California Collection Notice | Do not My. Maintain harmony within the group stabbing and shooting death of the most influential American film Pauline... That, Mao 's sister also was killed by the Viet Cong saw... Ward Just said: `` that as a coward or possibly a homosexual shocks Private Eriksson, who that!

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