Movie News

MORIARTY Rumbles Re WE WERE SOLDIERS ONCE... AND YOUNG!!

Published at: April 3, 2001, 7:47 a.m. CST by staff

Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

Harry's not the only one who fell in love with a script this weekend.

It's strange. When you get a stack of new stuff to read, it's always hard to prioritize. At least, it is for me. I never know if I want to save my most-anticipated reads (like the script for the TENACIOUS D film) for last, or if I want to go ahead and just tear right into them. Most of the time, I'll just put everything in a big stack and start pulling scripts out at random.

And so it was that I ended up looking at the title page of WE WERE SOLDIERS ONCE... AND YOUNG, the January 11, 2001 draft written by Randall Wallace, based on the book by Lt. General Harold G. Moore (Ret.) and Joseph L. Galloway. I didn't read that book, but I have done a fair amount of reading about Vietnam. My father went and served there, and trying to understand what he went through was something that became very important to me at a certain point in time. In my reading about the conflict, I came across several well-written references to the conflict that took place in the Ia Drang Valley of Vietnam in November of 1965. This was one of the first significant engagements between the US and Vietnam, and it promises to make one hell of a film in the hands of director Randall Wallace, screenwriter of both BRAVEHEART and this summer's PEARL HARBOR.

Right away, Wallace lets us know that this is going to be something different than the standard war movie that we've come to know and expect. Over a black screen, a simple voice over tells us that what we are about to see is "a testament to the young Americans who died in the Valley of Death, and a tribute to the young men of the People's Army of Vietnam who died by our hand in that place." Yes, you read that right. This script is a tribute to the soldiers on both sides of the conflict. This is not a script about good versus evil or wrong versus right, but instead is about man versus man, about soldier versus solider, and the circumstances that conspire to create such an encounter.

The script starts with a quick scene in 1954, showing how the Vietminh fought and destroyed the French, how they used tactics no one was prepared for, and how they drove the French out only after breaking their spirits. We then move forward in time to 1962, shifting locale to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where we get to meet HAL MOORE, a no-shit old-fashioned hero, who is being played by Mel Gibson in a really wonderful bit of casting. There's something both stoic and reckless about Moore as written, and audiences will basically be following him through the film. It's important Moore be someone we like, someone we can cling to when the shit really starts coming down.

And believe me... it does.

The intro for Moore shows how he's able to keep his cool no matter what's happening. He's testing a parachute and gets hooked onto the plane he's jumping from. One thing after another goes wrong, and everyone in the plane and on the ground crew is sure Moore's a dead man, but he manages to focus, do just the right thing, and land without a scratch. It's no wonder his superiors think of him when they decide to test the feasibility of using helicopters in combat if they decide to escalate the effort in Vietnam. In 1964, Moore and his family relocate to Fort Benning, Georgia, where he becomes the leader of the 1st Battalion of the 7th Cavalry. When he's given his regiment number, Moore goes a bit ashen and asks, "The 7th? The same regiment as... Custer?"

It’s 38 pages of build-up that Wallace uses wisely here, 38 pages of us getting a good look at the community of families at Fort Benning, the wives and the children who are staying behind. Wallace makes sure to remind us that these were people who were leaving behind these great lives, knowing full well that they might not come back. In so many Vietnam films, we’ve seen the soldiers from later in the war, the guys who were drafted, the young black men and the southern poor, the ones who couldn’t afford the particular draft numbers or the college tuition, the ones who seemed to be particularly targeted. But it’s rare that we see the ones who went in the first, the men who volunteered. These were the guys who represented the best and brightest, and it’s that particular breed of soldier that Wallace is paying tribute to.

We see the Americans leaving Fort Benning, and a voice-over tells us that “On the same day the 7th Air Cavalry left Charleston Harbor, bound for Vietnam, the 66th North Vietnamese Regiment departed its home in the north, to move through its Cambodian sanctuary to the Central Highlands of South Vietnam.” Wallace draws the Vietnamese characters here with real human empathy and respect, and it can’t be stressed enough... this is not what we’re used to seeing in a war film. Somewhere along the way, drama and propaganda got confused, and as a result, there’s a jingoistic sense to almost every film made about war. The enemy is always monstrous, always just a faceless horde. It’s easier that way, less complicated. We examine shades of grey within our own ranks, but no matter how bad the worst of “us” is, we’re always superior to “them.” The first few engagements the Vietnamese draw the Americans into are smart, calculated taunts, forcing the Americans to respond with force, forcing them to respond in a specific location. A trap is expertly set and sprung, and it certainly disproves the impression of a General in an early scene that they’re fighting “cavemen in black pajamas.” In many ways, the Vietnamese traded on the knowledge that they were underestimated. It’s the same thing as Ali’s infamous rope-a-dope. Play possum. Play weak. Play dumb. Then, when the time comes, prove exactly what you’re capable of. Hell, our own Harry Knowles has been telling me for years that he’s just saving up all his spelling and grammar for the one time he’ll really need them.

Page 42 of the script brings us up to November 14, 1965, a Sunday, and the start of the attack on Landing Zone X-Ray, as it’s declared. It’s a point in the Ia Drang Valley at the base of Chu Pong Mountain, a thirty minute round trip helicopter ride from their base camp, meaning the first sixty men into the area will have a thirty minute window where they’re the only sixty men in the area, where the full weight of the invasion is on them. It’s a terrifying position to be in, and Moore makes sure that he’s the first man off the first chopper, vowing to the last man on the last one out if necessary. High on the Chu Pong Massif, Colonel Anh is the man in charge. In many ways, parallels are drawn between them, and there’s a similarity in the strength of character they both seem to have. They are leaders, and they genuinely care for the welfare of their men. It’s the conflict between these two wills that is etched so memorably in the pages that follow.

I love the film ROMPER STOMPER, but it’s mainly one key sequence in that film that lingers in my memory. Early on, a simple stupid act of violence leads to a chain of events that escalate into a full-blown race riot. It’s harrowing, and Geoffrey Wright put us directly in the center of it, giving us no exit, putting us in peril with the characters onscreen. That’s the feeling I got from page 42 on in this script. Randall Wallace has done an exceptional job of establishing the geography of this conflict, and also the subtle shift of power that takes place over the course of a three-day battle. Early on, he establishes that characters you’ve come to be quite fond of aren’t safe, and there is wholesale slaughter here. The actual landing area becomes the hot zone for the conflict, pinning the Americans down from the moment they hit ground, and the sheer number of Vietnamese soldiers is overwhelming. Looking over the cast list for the film, it looks like Wallace has filled out the 7th Cavalry with a mix of solid character actors, familiar faces, and some fresh recruits, meaning Mel Gibson will be joined by Marc Blucas (so effective on BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER as Riley for the past few seasons), the always-awesome Sam Elliott, Clark Gregg, Greg Kinnear, Chris Klein, Barry Pepper, Doug Hutchison, as well as Ryan Hurst, Erik MacArthur, Blake Heron, and Josh Daugherty. Every character is given surprising depth, and Wallace has learned how to work quickly, filling in key details and effectively creating someone we recognize, someone that could be us.

I won’t go into the details of the battle that unfolds. It is horrible and sad and there are moments of almost superheroic bravery scattered throughout. As an actor, you can’t be given anything more direct to do than this. This is opera in a way, giant emotions played out against an epic backdrop. Wallace expertly cuts from the heat of the battle to the wives back at Fort Benning as the letters start to roll in informing them of the deaths of their husbands. Moore’s wife, set to be played by Madeline Stowe, does her best to serve as the center of this community of women united by tragedy and the mere possibility of tragedy. Each letter she has to deliver is a different family ruined, and there’s always the chance she’s going to pull her own name out of the mailbag. Wallace uses this cross-cutting to actually build suspense about certain characters’ fates, and it’s quite effective.

If you don’t know how the conflict ended, and you want to be totally surprised by the ending, go ahead and skip to the last paragraph now. Since this is a historical moment, I don’t consider it spoiler material, but I want to give you the choice to not know certain things.

Okay... still with me? Good. I want to offer special praise to Wallace for a quiet moment that takes place after Moore and his men finally drive Anh’s troops back. In my opinion, it may be one of the most cogent analyses of Vietnam that’s been offered in a film to date. Hal Moore tells McDade, the commander who relieves him, how to proceed, but when he gets back to camp, he hears that McDade immediately did the exact opposite, leading all of his men into certain death. It’s wrenching, especially in light of how hard Moore worked to protect as many men as he could, and how close to success he came. Moore wants to go back into battle, to help, but he’s ordered into a debriefing with Robert McNamara and General Westmoreland, the two men who could arguably be called the architects of Vietnam. No matter what Moore says to them, they see his numbers (“79 dead against 1800… 2000 enemy?”) as a success, and they take it as confirmation that they can expect an easy victory in any conflict they choose to enter. Moore is a good soldier in every way, meaning he won’t be openly insubordinate to these men, but he registers his protest in another way, reading an excerpt from the journal of a dead Vietnamese soldier that he found on the battlefield:

”Oh my dear, my young wife. When the troops come home after the victory, and you do not see me, please look at the proud colors. You will see me there and you will feel warm under the shadow of the bamboo tree.”

They don’t get it, though. They keep talking about escalating the conflict, ordering in 40,000 more troops, and how they’ll eventually “run the little bastards back home.”

Moore tries again, telling them how proud he was of his men, then adding, “But if were the leader of the other side... I would have been proud of them.” This stops conversation in the room finally. They don’t know what to say to Moore, and he presses on:

”They pushed 2000 men through artillery and napalm. And those 2000 came willingly. They ran right at the muzzles of our guns. We took them hand to hand. And we won. But they didn’t see it that way. They didn’t go away. They just backed up and came again. We won’t run the little bastards home, sir. They are home.”

The film’s final coda at the Wall in Washington is haunting, and overall, I am left with a feeling of great sorrow after reading this script. I was moved at the idea that Randall Wallace wants to show the name of every man killed at X-Ray and Albany before the closing credits, that he wants to make sure to pay respect to the men who were there. This is a script that has gone the distance, that has done what so many critics of historical dramas complain no one ever does, giving a human face to both sides of the conflict, and if Wallace and his director of photography Dean Semler (DANCES WITH WOLVES, THE ROAD WARRIOR) can come up with visual power to match what’s on the page, then this is going to be a memorable and important picture. As it stands, it’s one of the best reads I’ve had so far this year, and I’m officially looking forward to hearing more about this as it proceeds. Until then...

"Moriarty" out.





Readers Talkback

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  • April 3, 2001, 8:23 a.m. CST

    Hmm

    by DonnieDorko

    Sounds very cool, but i wouldn

  • April 3, 2001, 8:27 a.m. CST

    Question for Moriarty and Harry....

    by Splinter

    ....and anyone else out there who this applies to. You claim to love film. In fact, you claim to absolutely ADORE film. Me too. The question I have is this - when are you SURPRISED by a movie? Are you EVER surprised by a movie? Here, you have a delivered a detailed precis on the script of a film we won't see for another year. So, let's fast forward. You're sitting in the cinema next year, waiting to see Mel in action in this Vietnam movie that's getting great buzz. Everyone in the cinema has no idea what to expect. Everyone else will be blind-sided by twists, gutted by unexpected deaths, moved by surprising emotional developments...you, on the other hand, will be sitting there ticking off the scenes in your mind that you already KNOW, waiting for the next to come along. (this following is hypothetical, I haven't read the script)'Aaaah, yes, that's where Private Jones gets his leg blown off...wow, that means Colonel Robertson is going to get grenaded about....NOW!' Do you see my point Moriarty? Harry? Anyone? You claim to LOVE movies...and yet you systematically RUIN practically every film for yourself!! You fucking destroy the suspense, the surprise...man, have you any idea what sitting in the cinema and knowing next to NOTHING about the film you're about to see FEELS like? THAT'S what cinema is! You're MISSING THE POINT! These daily Spiderman set-reports, the endless Matrix II spy reports...by the time the films come out, you will have read the scripts, read the spy reports...nothing will be left! You will know EVERYTHING! How could you WANT to know what's going to happen? Don't you get it? DOn't you get what the cinema experience is supposed to be? Or am I just stark raving mad for wanting to be surprised? Confounded? Thrilled?

  • April 3, 2001, 8:54 a.m. CST

    Sounds Interesting

    by Trip Fontaine

    Wow a war the Americans can't really rewrite to make themselves the heroes...sounds like a good script I look forward to it

  • April 3, 2001, 9:12 a.m. CST

    Harry, change the tagline. It's wrong. It's "Soldiers" not "Wa

    by Lenny Nero

    Just felt like pointing that out. It's too early for me to be nice.

  • April 3, 2001, 11:33 a.m. CST

    Sounds like a winner.

    by SWH

    Hopefully, they'll be able to get it finished in time before the upcoming strikes. Gibson should be good in it.

  • April 3, 2001, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Screw this..

    by SCOTT1458

    forget Vietnam. Let's see another movie on somebody, anybody kicking the ass out of Brits again! Every one is not just fun to watch, it's beautiful. Hell, do a re-make of that one where the Zulu's shove poles up their ass! Now that's entertainment!

  • April 3, 2001, 1:01 p.m. CST

    How about a movie called "Last Helicopter Out Of Saigon"?

    by Roosterbooster

    Mel Gibson must have some sort of inferiority complex about getting out of being killed in Vietnam, he always has to dress up in uniform and play some superhuman killing machine despite the fact that he is a laughable little man. I wonder if this movie shows the VC using their Battleships, aircraft carriers, napalm, defoliants, nerve gas, massed artillery, nuclear weapons and B52 bomber wings. Oh no I forgot; they didn't have any of those things, just AK47s and some balls. By the way, I forgot to thank you people for electing that fucking chimp who just tore up the Kyoto agreement. I am boycotting all American companies from now on, not that I bought much of their shit anyway.

  • April 3, 2001, 1:15 p.m. CST

    Rooster

    by SCOTT1458

    Good, we don't need your sixpence a week anyway. Just because your leaders whore out your fucking soverinty (or what little you have left) doesn't mean ours have too. Now go worry about your foot and mouth disease.

  • April 3, 2001, 2:45 p.m. CST

    Splinter is right.

    by Psyclops

    There is only so much peeking at your Christmas presents before the surprise is ruined. By the time X-MEN was released, I knew every little detail of the film from information posted on various websites. That's my fault, no one told me to look at those things... but what about the people who post them? Don't they want to see something fresh without any expectations. I remember going to the movies and sitting down in a darkened theater watching a brilliant, low budget sci-fi film called 'CUBE' for the first time. I hadn't heard or seen anything about it... but the poster looked cool. That was it. I went in with a clean slate and was pleasantly surprised. Movies can still do that, you know. You just have to discipline yourself.

  • April 3, 2001, 3:28 p.m. CST

    Now we're rewriting Vietnam as a heroic struggle?

    by Wee Willie

    BULLSHIT!!!

  • April 3, 2001, 4:34 p.m. CST

    Damn straight some soldiers were heros

    by Brendan3

    Sorry wee willy, but brave men risked their lives even in unpopular and unjust wars. Grow up kid. If you've got a gripe with the war, take it up with defense secretary MacNamarra and the other politicians who let it happen, not the men who fought it.

  • April 3, 2001, 5:01 p.m. CST

    Looks good so far I'm interested.

    by nazismasher

    For a while I was afraid this would turn into Braveheart Goes to Vietnam or some crap like that but it really sounds sounds like the Vietnamese portions will be the best part of this film. They've been portrayed for so long as a faceless horde that its hard to remember that they actually won that war.

  • April 3, 2001, 7:38 p.m. CST

    To head off any bashing of Vietnam vets...

    by kojiro

    of soldiers..."Their very life which they have dedicated to the state is constantly protected by it,and when they risk it for it's defense, what else are they doing but returning what they have recieved from it?...All have to fight for the fatherland, it is true, but then no one ever has to fight for himself." now as to how it was run and our reasons fo0r being there...less defensible certainly. But no one should speak ill of those who fulfilled their debt to their nation.

  • April 3, 2001, 8:02 p.m. CST

    We should be so honored ...

    by sikofu

    ... to sit in the theater where a work of art as monumentally moving as this story is being told. One of my pleasures in watching this film develop is knowing that on every level every detail of it is so awesome that not even the most prolific and "talented" (professional and otherwise)basher will be able to effectually put out even the slightest bit of negative buzz. Get used to it, little people, Mel endures because he is sincerely and outstandingly talented.

  • April 3, 2001, 8:14 p.m. CST

    Mel in the movies

    by sikofu

    I'm addressing these comments to the tired little whine babies who insist on embarressing themselves by making what they consider to be clever little snipes at Mel because of his choice in action movies. I understand the main reason you people go to the movies is to eat the popcorn you find on the floor; however, the fact is war movies immediately evoke passionate sentiments and make for dramatic story telling. I know it is beyond your scope of comprehension but please try, as you use your banana peel to wipe your a**, to grasp the concept that there are many layers of story-telling in Mels movies. If all you can see is Mel in "another war movie" then you are the dumb shit. And don't even *try* to mock this as a movie about the war in Vietnam (a "bad war" boo hoo). It's a movie about people, and passion, and relationship. Courage beyond understanding. It's a love story. All war is bad, you silly twit. Thanks to people such as these depicted in this movie, people like you (and me) will never have to find out first hand. Now, go back and try to remember how to count to three.

  • April 3, 2001, 8:59 p.m. CST

    Here we go again

    by cds

    Yet another war movie made by no one who has ever been to war, or even in the military. Apparently General Moore wasn't even allowed to read the screenplay adapted from his book, because the errors are already piling up and the movie hasn't even been shot. "On the same day the 7Th Air Calvary left Charleston Harbor." There never was any unit named the 7th Air Cavalry (or Calvary) and if this is indeed a voice over to be included in the film, then I have little faith in the rest of the script. If you want to read an accurate and compelling account of the battle in the Ia Drang Valley, read General Moore's book, where you'll find no mention of the 7th Air Cavalry.

  • April 3, 2001, 9:17 p.m. CST

    ok enough Nam, get to the next ROAD WARRIOR installment

    by MrFrost

    Sorry, I like ROAD WARRIOR movies

  • April 3, 2001, 9:20 p.m. CST

    ...

    by Wino-Forever

    What we need is another Vietnam, to thin out the fanboy ranks (and I'm aware that Bart Simpson once said something similar). The Patriot, yes, was equal parts insidious and inept, but this sounds promising. Moriarty's seal of approval (unlike Harry's) actually carries some weight in my book.

  • April 3, 2001, 9:38 p.m. CST

    cds, the 7th Air Cav. is a reference, not a fact.

    by The Pardoner

    The 7th Air Cav. was the gunship group that took Willard to the river in APOCALYPSE NOW. When you account Coppola's description of a movie - "It *is* Vietnam" - the writer ought to be forgiven for referring to a true unit, if not a factual one. I doubt anyone here was in that war, and most of us don't have any access to veterans, whose testimony would likely be suspect for a number of reasons. The closest we can get is a film. Thus, to make reference to another film, and not simply a fact as stated, is arguably a more profitable nomenative choice. --- Frankly, I don't have high hopes for this movie. It'll still be told from a purely American perspective, with a little "admiration of opponent" thrown in. --- Far more interesting would be a project which worked with two nearly autonomous units: one in the US, and one in Vietnam. The only thing they'd have in commom would be a set of critical plot points - X happens at location Y at time Z - and a rough timeline. At the very least, it would be an interesting experiment.

  • April 3, 2001, 10:25 p.m. CST

    Apocalypse Now is no authority

    by cds

    I don't think any of the screenwriters on that travesty had the slightest knowledge of the military either, certainly not the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) which they defamed, so whatever they called any of the units is of no consequence as a factual reference for later movies. The 7th Cavalry was a horse cavalry regiment which was deactivated long before the first helicopter ever flew. The maneuver battalions of the 7th Cavalry Regiment which were later incorporated into the 1st Cavalry Division were the 1st, 2nd and 5th, and not the regiment itself. These three battalions were infantry units which had no organic aircraft, and could not deliver themselves by air into battle, much else anyone else. The only true air cavalry unit in the 1st Cavalry Division in Viet Nam was the Blue Platoon, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry. Every other trooper in the division rode into battle by air, on ships from one of the division's assault helicopter battalions. If the filmmakers wanted to be correct, which obviously they don't, they would have said "the 1st Cavalry Division," or "the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry." They could have also used the popular term "1st Air Cavalry Division" or the actual name "1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)." But again, there never was any 7th Air Cavalry. It simply did not exist, ever. This is not exactly secret information. It could be easily obtained. By far the easiest way would be to just read General Moore's book, which is quite accurate in its military terminology, and purportedly the source material for this script. If they can't get this right, then there isn't much hope for the rest. It is, of course, quite possible that the reviewer misquoted the script, he certainly certainly converted "cavalry" into "calvary, so maybe he converted "1st into 7Th." And for the record, some of us here were indeed in the Viet Nam War. I was a counterintelligence agent with, you guessed it, the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), and had occasion to interact with the 1st, 2nd and 5th Battalions of the 7th Cavalry.

  • April 3, 2001, 10:30 p.m. CST

    Sorry Pardoner... it was the 1st Air Cav, both in Apopcalypse No

    by Brendan3

    if we're going to nit pick, let's get it right. The 1st Cav is still active, by the way, in Ft. Bliss

  • April 3, 2001, 11:08 p.m. CST

    'we were soldiers once...and gay'

    by tommy5tone

    i'm sorry, that's really juvenile, but every time i see the name of this movie i can't help but retitle it. and let's not forget that randall wallace is something of a hack - 'the man in the iron mask' looked like a TV miniseries made in 1983, for god's sake. this movie's got a good cast and it'll probably do well at the box office but right-thinking people the world over will avoid it like they would 'bessie'. bad move, mel - get yourself attached to 'i am legend', the remake of 'seconds' or that 'master and commander' movie peter weir is making next or you're stewed, buttwad.

  • April 3, 2001, 11:55 p.m. CST

    love mel

    by hawauer29a

    he's completely evolved into an entirely different actor. Even if images of him slaying brit ass is difficult to forget, he's taken on serious roles that say something, complete contrasts to his early 90s movies where his resume (with the exception of Hamlet) resembles more that of Jean-Claude Van Damme. But then you look at classics like Mad Max, Gallipoli, The Year of Living Dangerously which define time. Quite one of the best really... ever.

  • April 4, 2001, 12:30 a.m. CST

    well ProctorX, sounds like your jealousy running your brain agai

    by jamie sonil

    however you try to deny it, Mel has carved himself a superior place in Hollywood history. To echo hawauer29a... have you ever heard of Max Max which started a genre.... of Gallipoli, one of the most important movies in Australia and New Zealand that it NOT being played somewhere during ANZAC Day is almost unimaginable... of The Year of Living Dangerously, one of the most defining movies about a South East Asian regime it nearly provoked social upheaval in Manila because of it's parallels to Marcos (I lived there 5 years where Mel is practically a god at the boxoffice), and....not to mention, Braveheart. Well, go to William Wallace Monument in Stirling, Scotland, or even just around Scotland, and you'd know what I mean. Mel's character in Braveheart is all over the city that a 4 year old would probably think Mel Gibson really is William Wallace. Gosh, the man does not need validation of his artistic contribution in the movies. But I understand, it's tough to understand how somebody have done so much in life and not to deny them respect what's due to them. Typical, but we know that history isn't.

  • April 4, 2001, 12:38 a.m. CST

    sounds interesting... BUT....

    by keisereela

    I love Mel too, but.....can somebody tell Randall Wallace to change the title please before it sticks! It sounds like a daytime soap episode title! anyhow, can't wait to see the movie.

  • April 4, 2001, 12:39 a.m. CST

    Stupid name, don't you think...

    by Jyri

    Firs I tought this was a parody of the New Zelan film Once We Were Warriors... They should loose the ...And Young part.

  • April 4, 2001, 1:33 a.m. CST

    'Soldiers ' and Blackhawk Down!

    by BrianSLA

    It looks like both will be competing for your box office dollar this X-mas season. I'll see both but Blackhawk Down is first on my list.

  • April 4, 2001, 2:47 a.m. CST

    How long are we going to have to wait for this?

    by vertigo93

    Really looking forward to this movie. Saving Private Ryan was good (showing the reality of combat, but still with the faceless enemy), and I loved The Thin Red Line (the most hypnotic film I've seen in years) and this looks like it could take the best bits from both and make one brilliant movie. Of course, it could equally take the worst bits from both by mistake... My one reservation is the casting of Mel - don't get me wrong, I think he's great whether he's doing action or drama - but my big problem with Thin Red Line was the 'star' casting. It's not nice to be enthralled in a movie only to be dragged out of it by thinking "hey - that's George Clooney" or "good grief - that's John Travolta". The problem with superstardom is it's damn difficult to create a whole character without the star shining through! Still, I have high hopes. And finally, I just have to say that I think it's damn funny to see the US talkbackers complaining about historical liberty taking with the script after you all told us Brits to shut the hell up when we complained about U571 and The Patriot! I'd like to see the facts in thuis movie too, but now at least you see our point!

  • April 4, 2001, 2:48 a.m. CST

    the title

    by vertigo93

    By the way, haven't they changed the title by just ditching the "...and young" bit? Hope so!

  • April 4, 2001, 4:14 a.m. CST

    Gen. Moore's involvement...

    by Karianne_Kelsey

    I beg to differ with the uninformed. General Moore has been at the scriptwriter's side and has approved re-writes. He is due into CA to view filming here, as well. This is not a re-write of history... this is a fine re-telling. Anyone who knows the truth knows this is so. As for the Mel-bashing: Build a bridge and get over it! Can we not find something more noteworthy to say than to espouse jealous, flaming, blithering arrows against one of the most 'underated' talents in the cinema. Just because he makes it look easy, doesn't mean it IS easy. Peace!

  • April 4, 2001, 6:12 a.m. CST

    i like the title myself...

    by kojiro

    but I just noticed it's by Randall Wallace so I no longer have much interest in it. I'll rent it at some point but there's no need to go to the theater to see him ass rape history again.

  • April 4, 2001, 8:20 a.m. CST

    Right you are Brendan.

    by The Pardoner

    Kilgore's unit was the 1st of the 9th... I checked the scene this morning. =P Always nice to be corrected so quickly. --- Since I'm in such a pleasant mood, I'm going to give you some advice, cds: learn to read. You'll find it's incredibly helpful when trying to understand things which are not long strings of semi-random military trivia. My point was NOT that APOCALYPSE NOW was factually based. I have no idea if it was or not. The point I made, which you literally glossed over, was that inserting verifiable military facts into a movie does not improve it one bit, because those facts carry no weight. Even if by some odd coincidence, someone watching the movie could recite the dental records of every soldier who was in the third helicopter from the left during an *actual* attack, they still mean nothing. To be crude, do lists of facts tell one what a bullet tastes like to one's lungs? As I said before, the only meaningful war references which can be made to a generation which has not fought, and does not read, are to popular culture (I'm guessing most Yanks know who Custer was), or to movies: the movies which have created our only visceral notions of combat. --- Naming this unit after Custer's, or Kilgore's, as turned out not to be the case, is a very simple artistic decision. He wants to score an obvious point on the absurdity of the war. It's pretty lame, but for some people, just blatant enough to register. If he keeps all the names the same, and changes the "Custer" line to refer to some TERRIBLY ACCURATELY FACTUAL AND REALLY REAL COMMANDER, what then? The only people in the audience who understand that are the ones who already knew it, and nobody else gains a thing.

  • April 4, 2001, 8:46 a.m. CST

    we were talkbackers once....

    by jeff bailey

    Man I don't know. First off, that title is terrible. Maybe for a book. But a movie, no way. I mean I can't imagine they will release it with that but maybe they will. As for Randall Wallace and history, I'm not much of a history buff...but this maybe a serious problem as many of the people who experienced this are still alive. I think he can write some serious slam bang dialouge and has a great grasp of structure and can really concieve of some wonderful screen moments. But I agree his direction of "Iron Mask" was rather bland and it did look kind of silly. It a great cast (even if they did look thrown together) and some cool stuff in it but it needed another director. That TV movie comment was dead on. But that doesn't mean he won't do well with this. It just means he needs to step it up a notch. As for Mel, oh man. What happened to him? He's in full on protect what you have zone. You know what? I really lost respect for him when he took Payback away from Hegeland. I just watched it again on cable and the reshoots are GLARING. It's obvious the director was trying to make a kick ass 70's style crime flick and he half succeeded. The fact that only later Mel went back because Joel Silver thought he was unlikable smacks of the worst star thinking. Why did he even do the fucking movie then? And everything since then has been calculated and trite climaxing in the atrocious Patriot. Hey Mel, I don't care what anyone says, Braveheart wasn't THAT great. I love the movie and all but you ain't Soderbergh or Lean or FIncher. And if Best Director means you will just turn out crap like the Patriot or the castrated Payback...Frankly you'd never make that movie today. It would be a Scottish Patriot. Oh wait, that's what the Patriot was. Braveheart with the good stuff ripped out. You played Hamlet remember? Get some complexity. You used to be a decent actor with some cool choices. I hope this is a return but if it's just you being a badass again...sigh. I pray Wallace will drop you into good movie. Are you going to take it away from him too?

  • April 4, 2001, 9:14 a.m. CST

    Learn to read Pardoner

    by cds

    Kilgore's unit was indeed the 1st of the 9th, and Moore's unit was indeed the 1st of the 7th, both of which were units of the 1st Cavalry Division (or 1st Air Cavalry as it was popularly called), not the 7th Air Cavalry, which never existed. I doubt that either the author nor the screenwriter was attempting to create any sort of artistic statement by using the term "7th Air Cavalry." Actually the author never used the term. The screenwriter used it, or Moriaity used it. Either way it is simply incorrect, which was my sole point until you brought in all these obscure references to Custer, Apocalypse Now, and facts. This isn't about Custer, who lead the 7th Cavalry Regiment in the Indian Wars. It is about the 1st Cavalry Division, and specifically the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, which was an operational unit of the division and on which the story is based. The fact that a reference is made to a unit in Viet Nam that traces its lineage back to Custer's horse cavalry is fine. Just get the damn unit correct. There is no reason to change the Custer line to "TERRIBLY ACCURATELY FACTUAL AND REALLY REAL COMMANDER." Moore's unit was the 1st of the 7th Cavalry, which was directly descended from Custer's regiment, but his regiment was not the 7th Cavalry because at the time the 7th Cavalry Regiment no longer existed and with the exception of a few independent regiments, the U.S. Army no longer used regiments, but because of their long and proud history, battalions which units of the former regiments continued to keep their original regiments as part of their unit designations. So saying that Moore's unit was the 1st of the 7th, or 1/7, is absolutely correct. Referring to Moore's battalion, or his division, as the 7th Air Cavalry is just wrong and serves no purpose whatsoever. You say that verifiable military facts carry no weight. How would you feel if Pearl Harbor started off with a voice over "On December 7, 1941, the United States of America was deliberately attacked by the naval and air forces of the Empire of Korea, 10,000 Americans were killed and all our carriers were sunk." Or if Saving Private started out "On June 6, 1944, the Italian Army sailed from Normandy across the English Channel, invaded England and killed 300,000 American troops. The Canadians, as usual, cowered in fear or fled to Ireland." Using erroneous facts does not make a better movie. Just ask the Brits for their opinion of U-571. While the unit designations might well be confusing to a screenwriter with absolutely no military experience, and certainly to you, apparently with no experience in reading, it is a simple matter to get the facts straight, especially when dealing with a very specific incident where the facts are clearly laid out in General Moore's book.

  • April 4, 2001, 9:51 a.m. CST

    Randall Wallace and Accuracy and the 7th Cav

    by drew mcweeny

    Well, it's nice to see people piping up to tell me I'm wrong, or that Randy Wallace is wrong, but the fact is... you're wrong. Try this link out for a history of the 7th Cav that you say doesn't exist. http://www.metronet.com/~harryb/1st_team/7th_rgmt/ Follow the links from there to read about their lineage in Vietnam. And before you attack the guy for playing fast and free with fact, maybe you should (A) read this script, the only one I reviewed, meaning PEARL HARBOR and BRAVEHEART aren't what we're discussing. Read what Wallace has to say himself at http://www.lzxray.com/movie_news.htm before you slag him. He's working closely with the men whose story he's telling, and if you want to start calling them liars before you've read the material, then I suggest you reconsider. I think this is going to be one of the year's big pictures, and that's based on actually having read what I'm talking about instead of just dismissing it sight unseen.

  • April 4, 2001, 11:57 a.m. CST

    title

    by usagi

    I really like the title, and think they should leave it as is. I know the average "this is gonna suck" talkbacker would rather it be "We were soliders once..and kicked a lot of ass" but I think it is a pretty and poetic title. Isn't it a line from a poem? (which would explain the poetic feel to it) Maybe AE Houseman? I'm getting a tickle in the back of my brain telling me I have read that line (or a similar one) someplace before.

  • April 4, 2001, 2:43 p.m. CST

    Brendan3 you got me all wrong...

    by Wee Willie

    Dude, I didn't say anything, not a thing, not one fucking thing about the men who fought that war. Not once in my post did I make mention of individual soldiers. I was referring to the war itself, which, in my mind, had nothing to do with heroics, and had everything to do with the fatcats in the military/industrial complex profiting from the deaths of thousands of young Americans. Plus, I'm not a kid, I don't need to grow up, and my friggin' name is spelled with and 'ie', not a 'y'. So there, NYAAAAH!

  • April 4, 2001, 5:07 p.m. CST

    You're wrong, Moriaty, not I

    by cds

    I checked your link, where I've been many times before, and here's what it says, among a number of other factual errors: "The 7th Cavalry Regiment, a subordinate command of the 1st Cavalry Division is a heavily armored division stationed at Fort Hood, Texas." What that actually says is that the regiment is a division. What they probably meant to say was that regiment is a subordinate command of the division, which is still absolutely wrong. Since you like links, try this one. http://pao.hood.army.mil/1stcavdiv/units.htm. Note the "mil." This is the official 1st Cavalry Division website, not a veteran's fan page. Show me where on that organizational chart you find the 7th Cavalry Regiment, a subordinate command of the 1st Cavalry Division. You won't find it anywhere, because it does not exist, and hasn't for decades. If you still don't believe me, then feel free to call the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood and ask to speak to the commanding officer of the 7th Cavalry Regiment. You can't. There is none. You might be transferred to the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry, General Moore's old battalion, not regiment, which is now a squadron in the 4th Brigade, or you might be transferred to the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry, a battalion in the 3rd Brigade, but you cannot possibly find the commanding officer of a regiment that does not exist. Before World War I, the U.S. Army's largest maneuver unit was a regiment, consisting of a number of battalions or squadrons. During World War I, the Army was reorganized into divisions, a much larger unit than a regiment, and since the fit was not exact, regiments were replaced with brigades. So, with the exception of a few self-contained regiments, such as the 11th Armored Cavalry, the 173d Airborne and the 199th Light Infantry, all Army regiments ceased to exist as operational units. Since brigades were newly-created and arbitrarily assigned, and due to the long and distinguished service of the regiments, their battalions and squadrons continue to carry the regimental colors, honors, and traditions to this day. Nevertheless, the 7th Cavalry Regiment did not exist in the Viet Nam war and it does not exist today. Now, after all that, if you still insist on referring to either General Moore's former battalion, the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, as the 7th Air Cavalry, you should note that in Viet Nam, all three battalions of the 7th Cavalry, the 1st, 2nd, and 5th, were straight-leg infantry, borne into battle by the various assault helicopter battalions of the 1st Cavalry Division. Only the Blue Platoon, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, could properly be called air cavalry, although they never referred to themselves as such. The division itself was often referred to as the 1st Air Cavalry Division, but not the individual infantry battalions which had no organic air transport and therefore could not referred to as air cavalry. And once again, please note that General Moore never referred to the 1/7 or the 7th Cavalry in his book as the 7th Air Cavalry, so this must be someone else's invention. If Wallace's script contains a voice-over saying the 7th Air Cavalry left Charleston, then it is quite simply incorrect. Or, perhaps you misread the script. That's a simple thing for you to verify but impossible for me since I have not read the script. I will certainly see the movie and hope they do a good job. I'm not suggesting that Wallace's intent is to slander the name of the division or its troopers, but merely suggesting that if he can't get a simple fact correct, then I'm concerned about the rest of the script. And I'm more than a little annoyed at all you lifelong civilians (and Canadians) popping off about things military that you know absolutely nothing about.

  • April 4, 2001, 8:20 p.m. CST

    Sigh.

    by The Pardoner

    Fantastic job of ignoring everything I said, save for three things which you didn't understand, and repeated out of context.

  • April 4, 2001, 10:26 p.m. CST

    1/7 ... Quoting Lt. Gen.Moore

    by sikofu

    " ... the Pentagon announced that the 11th Air Assault Division (Test) had served its purpose; now it would become the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). Brown, with an eye to military heritage and tradition, immediately asked that his two battalions be given the historic colors of the 7th U.S. Cavalry. My battalion was reborn as the 1st Battalion, 7th Calvary. Our sister battalion became the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry." Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore & Joseph L. Galloway "We Were Soldiers Once ... and Young". The title is lyrical, beautiful, & almost hauntingly poignant. It has been shortened to WWSO for the movie (and who knows what changes will happen by the time the movie is released). The Northern Army of the Peoples Republic of Vietnam is eloquently represented in the book and apparently in the movie as well. There is no valid comparison between the characters of William Wallace, Benjamin Martin, and Lt. Gen. Hal Moore. The filmmakers had to stretch a long way to make the first two people presentable to the general public for they were barbaric killers in reality who nonetheless helped their respective countries gain much cherished Freedom. Lt. Gen. Moore, on the other hand, is as fine a gentleman as ever created. The most talented actor, which I believe Mel is, will have to go someplace very deep in himself to adequately portray him (Moore). The challenge will be to represent him well and true; a formidable task that I am certain Mel is capable of fulfilling in fine style. The reality is, one of Lt. Gen. Moore's most outstanding characteristics is his faithful insistence on regarding each & every man as supremely important, for we all are. It is not often great leaders take such care to acknowledge this truth. Randall Wallace and Mel Gibson remain true to that vision. As moving as the book is, as beautifully told in written and cinemagraphic form, it still befalls Mel to represent in physical form the truth of the story. Nothing can deny that. It might be well, for those nay-sayers who can do so, to actually read the book before spouting off about it. Any even remotely fair-minded person will come away with a different attitude (than they started with )and feel the better for it.

  • April 4, 2001, 10:58 p.m. CST

    Quoting Randall Wallace

    by sikofu

    "We Were Soldiers Once

  • April 5, 2001, 8:07 a.m. CST

    We know what General Moore said in the book

    by cds

    But we have only Moriarity's unsubstantiated report of what Wallace said in the script, and we now have everyone else's opinion of what he meant by it. We're still waiting for Moriarity to tell us if he misquoted Wallace or if Wallace misquoted Moore, or perhaps Pardoner is right and there is some mystical connection to Custer and to the fictional 7th Air Cavalry Gunship Group which he thinks delivered troops into battle in Apocalypse Now. Or perhaps, according to the site Moriarity quotes for historical accuracy, General Custer, having graduated from West Point in 1961, showed up in Viet Nam four years later to take charge of the 7th Air Cavalry.

  • April 5, 2001, 8:10 a.m. CST

    can't wait

    by revam

    I was really excited when I first heard Mel took on this role. In fact, Wallace was interesting only in doing this with Mel, so we're got the star-team back again! This should be explosive.

  • April 5, 2001, 4:23 p.m. CST

    You make that phone call Moriarity?

    by cds

    Still waiting for your post saying you spoke to the commanding officer of the 7th Air Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood.

  • April 6, 2001, 8:14 p.m. CST

    by rgk

  • April 6, 2001, 9:45 p.m. CST

    Cav - Ia Drang

    by rgk

    (Sorry, all, for the false start.) I cannot believe the people I see here giving "expert" opinions of the movie "We Were Soldiers Once... and Young", people who have obviously no military background of any kind and, worse, have not even read the book. Easy to snap off smart remarks. Hard to lie in the grass waiting for the bullet. My advice to all is please, first, read the book. "Change the name of the movie"; first thing they say. Ohh, good idea, this one just doesn't POP... "We Were Soldiers Once... and Young." We were, by the way. And they still are... and they will ALWAYS BE. Count yourself lucky you were not. Matter of fact, on second thought... GREAT idea. We certainly don't want anyone to stop and THINK about anything as vaporous as a TITLE... do we? Too many damn words, for one thing, eh? The Cav, by the way, sailed from Charleston, period. It's not only in the book, it happened, and no amount of nitpicking about unit designations will change the facts. If anybody wants first-person confirmation, just say so. I'll be happy to give you ships and sailing dates. Re unit nomenclature nitpicking, for instance, A Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, referred to in the mid-1960s as A/1/7, even though the 7th Cavalry "Regiment" nomenclature was strictly heraldic (the "regiment" no longer existed), to deny its existence is simply ignoring the facts. The Army still used the designation, even though the regimental structure no longer existed. We can argue about it, but if anyone wants to get into a detailed discussion... be prepared for facts, because I have got them. I am a little mystified as to why someone would be so anxious to turn a reviewer's innocent error of inattention into a condemnation of the movie. Am I unaware of axes being ground? One "fact" is that five (5) regiments, Armored Cavalry Regiments, actually served in Vietnam, the only remaining regiments in the entire organizational structure at the time. EVERY other infantry or cavalry unit in Vietnam traced their lineage through the company, to the battalion, and then to an historic Infantry or Cavalry regiment, and the Army still used (and uses) the designation, even though the "regiment" no longer existed as a legitimate unit. Custer's unit, by the way, was the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment. This was THE same unit, LTC Harold Moore's unit, the first in at LZ X-Ray, in the Ia Drang valley. Nothing can change that. The facts are that the Army reorganized in the late 1950s, and they eliminated the "regimental" organizational structure. They KEPT the unit designations. Those effete civilian "experts" who have no appreciation for why real men fight, those who belittle all things military, find it so easy to simply ridicule the whole thing and then just swagger off... well, forget it. The "Apocalypse" thing, by the way, as stupid as it was, is actually based upon a unit commanded by a man named John Stockton. He's dead now, but wiseass internet posters in 2001 are damned lucky they had men like John Stockton (and Charles Beckwith, and Harold Moore, and Norman Schwartzkpof, and...) when it counted. And, by the way, trust me, the music DID drive the dinks crazy. The 11th Air Assault Division turned into the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) some time in 1965. Slang: 1st Cav. All of the above, by the way, means nothing. The only thing that means squat is that, for a few days in November of 1965, Americans and North Vietnamese tried their best to kill each other and to keep from being killed on the banks of a shithole of a river called the Drang. Randy Wallace and Mel Gibson, and men like Hal Moore and Joe Galloway, and many others WHO WERE THERE are now trying to give the world a taste of what really happened. Rather than snapping off clever expert sound bites like I've read here, we should at least give them a chance to show what they've got. Good men died there. Goodbye. Bob Kilpatrick Pleiku, 68-69 (Anybody else want to print a REAL name? Yeah, sure.)

  • April 9, 2001, 3:58 p.m. CST

    by First Air Cav

  • April 10, 2001, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Hope they get right......

    by First Air Cav

    I served under Col. Hal Moore when he was my brigade commander...I'm sure with his guidance the story of those brave men who fought and died will have minimal Hollywoodizing. I don't think the general will put up with it.... A good example of a tech advisor on set is the WWII classic "Battleground". The The tech advisor on it was Lt.General Harry W.O Kinnard. Kinnard is credited with suggest that the reply "Nuts" be sent to the Germans when they asked the 101st Airborne Division to surrender. The movie depicts the soldier of 1944......toughing it out against a numerically superior enemy.... Ironocally....Gen. Kinnard was the First Cavalry Divisions commander during the Ia Drang Valley Battles..... Yes....I think Gen. Moore will see to it that the soldiers who fought and died will be honored ....He has a great love for those who have died and those who survived. I know this from experience. ---------------------- Thought Ya'll might be interested in this..... I'd like to hear some input. Mel Gibson to portray Hal Moore in 'Soldiers' By John Moore Denver Post Staff Writer Mar. 18, 2001 - Screenwriter Randall Wallace was once a seminary student, so he knows what it means to have a calling. He had one when he was flying on a plane in 1994, reading the scorching prologue to Lt. Gen. HarCold G. Moore's book, "We Were Soldiers Once ...- and Young." "Hollywood has gotten the story of the Vietnam veteran wrong every damned time, whetting twisted political knives on the bones of our dead brothers.'" "That was so eloquent and it was also so in your face," said Wallace, who wrote "Braveheart," the upcoming "Pearl Harbor" and the screenplay of Moore's book. "I knew from the moment I read that, I was going to get involved with this story." Wallace also will direct "Soldiers," which will be the first film made by his new production company, The Wheelhouse, in conjunction with Mel Gibson's Icon Productions. The film, which began production March 5 and is scheduled to open in December, stars Gibson, Made- leine Stowe, Greg Kinnear, Sam Elliott, Chris Klein, Dennis Leary, Faith Hill and former Coloradan Keri Russell. Wallace's goal is to tell a true Vietnam story that portrays U.S. soldiers as heroic and brave, free of any political agenda. In other words, to make a Vietnam movie unlike any other. As "Soldiers" coauthor Joseph Galloway put it, "Randy wants to be the first one to make a Vietnam movie that the veterans won't get up and walk out in the middle of." Wallace said he has a deep, personal ambition that this be a healing film. "I want this to be something in which we can say, "All of America suffered because of this, and we want to embrace each other.' This story makes it clear why we should have done things differently in Vietnam, but the movie embraces those soldiers who have never been given the honor that they deserve for what they suffered and sacrificed in Vietnam." Hollywood always has cast a cynical eye on Vietnam, never before separating the war from the warrior, and never affording the soldiers who fought there the same inherent heroism World War II movies always have presumed. "I want to have it be known that when you go into the military and you are issued your boots and your dogtags, we are members of the same family as those that were in World War I and II," said Gordon Rozanski of Golden, a captain in Moore's company. "We fought for our country the same way." Some of Hollywood's biggest names have made their careers by making political statements on Vietnam: Oliver Stone, Francis Ford Coppola, Stanley Kubrick, Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, Jane Fonda, Martin Sheen and Tom Cruise, to name a few. "They were telling stories that were somehow in the heads of the directors and the writers," Galloway said. "It may have been a truth, but it wasn't the truth." 'Born on the Fourth of July' and 'Apocalypse Now' are among the films that have annoyed veterans, but Oliver Stone's "Platoon" strikes the rawest nerve. "I did four tours in Vietnam, and I think I saw the best of it and the worst of it," said Galloway, "but I never saw people acting like they do in 'Platoon.' I never saw soldiers in the line of combat smoking dope. I never saw COs (commanding officers) killing other COs." Matt Dillon, a captain in Moore's command who lives near Colorado Springs, said there was some drug use, but not in combat units. "There were a lot of small ambushes at night, and you didn't want a guy standing behind you with a loaded gun when he's hopped up," Dillon said. Even the John Wayne-financed "Green Berets" gets a thumbs down from Moore, and not only for its laughable special effects. Wayne had an agenda in 1968 every bit the equal to Stone's in 1986. In '68, the government was running a propaganda campaign to convince Americans people the U.S. was winning the war, and Wayne's film was a perfect complement. "Most of the movies were, in the final analysis, political statements," said Moore, determined his story will be told differently. "This movie is going to demonstrate very clearly the love of soldiers for one another in battle, their determination to prevail and their determination to sacrifice themselves for one another," he said. "It's going to show the enemy as a very tough and determined enemy not scared to die. And it's going to reveal the effect back home on the survivors." Moore is humbled he will be portrayed by Gibson, whom he calls the "best male actor in the world." Moore and Gibson met several times in Alabama, and the two prayed together in a chapel at Gibson's estate in California. Moore thinks Gibson's experience making war movies ( 'Braveheart,' 'The Patriot') will only help. Moore's wife, Julie, joked, "Mel actually has more combat experience than Hal does over the past few years." Wallace, 50, underwent two weeks of grueling Army Ranger training in Fort Benning, Ga., before writing the script, and he demanded his actors go through two weeks of boot camp. When it was over, they celebrated with a paintball match: Moore, 79, leading the film's decidedly unmilitaristic crew, against Gibson, 45, and the Fort Benning soldiers. Moore's team captured the flag. "Old age and treachery will defeat youth and skill every time," Moore said. But when filming moves April 16 from Fort Benning to a military base in California for the combat scenes, Moore will remain behind, on-call from Auburn, Ala. "Randy has told me very courteously but in no uncertain terms that this is not a documentary for the History Channel," Moore said. "He said, "Look, you are the expert in battle. You wouldn't want anyone standing behind you saying, "Hey, Colonel, I don't think you ought to do that." And he said, "I am the director of this movie, and I don't need people standing around me saying," "Hey, this is screwed up.'- " Copyright 2001 The Denver Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • April 13, 2001, 2:41 p.m. CST

    Looks like a war -

    by sikofu

    You know, my problem is that since I wasn't there, I have to rely on those who were to describe the situation to me. Not knowing either "FirstAirCav" or "Lzalbany65", I can only deduce that the person whose 'report' jells with all the other reliable information received to date, can spell, puts a whole sentence together, makes valid points in logical order and actually has something to say is more likely to be presenting the truth (that would be FirstAirCav) than some dolt whose pablum drools even in to cyberspace (that would be Lzalbany65). It really angers me when a person pretends to be part of the battles depicted in the book and the movie when all they are is some flunky from a rival studio out to do some damage.

  • April 14, 2001, 9 a.m. CST

    lzalbany65

    by sikofu

    It appears you have a burning desire to discuss your participation in this battle and in this war. Don't you see that one of the reasons for making the movie WWSO was so that just this sort of thing can happen - that people get to tell their story, or see it told the right way on the big Silver Screen. Your comments are too long, too jambled, and too military specific for those of us who are not military. Wading thru it all, your malaise towards Lt.Gen. Moore comes through. For what reason, who knows. Why don't you sit back and let these people have a decent shot at telling the story. At the very least, it will present the opportunity for much discussion, which is what is needed. No one else in Hollywood even attempted to tell the truth, and most certainly not from the Soldiers point of view. These storytellers desire is to "get it right". Let us all hope they do.

  • April 14, 2001, 2:49 p.m. CST

    The Truth

    by sikofu

    I just know that a lot of these 'talkbackers' are studio hacks who pretend to be (whatever, whoever) so they can trash a rival studios picture. If it is as you say, lzalbany65, I am very sorry for your suffering. Nonetheless, the record stands as to the truth in Hal Moore and Joseph Galloways book We Were Soldiers Once - and Young. I'm certain that in your own mind things were as you say. I just wish you can understand that part of the reason for the book and the movie is to get the dialogue going so that healing can begin for *many*. Your attacks of Lt.Gen. Moore do nothing to better or help anyone, not even yourself. This book isn't about Lt.Gen.Moore taking a bow. For heavens sake, man - *read*. The authors put forth painstaking effort to show as many details as they can about *all* the people involved at LZXray and LZAlbany. One of the most touching qualities of the book is that the authors show in thought, word, deed and action that *every* man is important, not just a few at the top. From what we know of the movie production to date, the filmmakers are carrying forth the same vision. The movie wants to give guys like you the pat on the back you all should have gotten a long time ago.

  • April 14, 2001, 7:20 p.m. CST

    Honorable Intentions

    by sikofu

    To quote a bit from the Denver Post article above: "Randy (Wallace) wants to be the first one to make a Vietnam movie that the veterans won't get up and walk out in the middle of." Wallace said he has a deep, personal ambition that this be a healing film. "I want this to be something in which we can say, "All of America suffered because of this, and we want to embrace each other.' This story makes it clear why we should have done things differently in Vietnam, but the movie embraces those soldiers who have never been given the honor that they deserve for what they suffered and sacrificed in Vietnam." What more noble intention can any movie have? Lets not shovel dirt until we see what Hollywood does with the vision.

  • Aug. 30, 2001, 8:14 a.m. CST

    They Were Soldiers Once and Young

    by airmechstrike

    The 1st Cavalary is not at Fort Bliss unless it is a historical unit. E/1st Cavalry is with the 172nd Infantry Brigade in Alaska, and the 1st Squadron/1st Cavalry is the Armored Cavalry Sqaudron of the 1st Armored Divison in Europe.

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