Hunkered down in a Blackhawk helicopter watching a medevac team return enemy fire in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province, Alison MacLean was faced with a stark choice: obey or aid. The 55-year-old independent filmmaker from South Surrey was only on the aircraft as an observer on a military training run. But once in the air, the team was directed to rescue injured soldiers pinned down by insurgents.
Warner Bros. broke the isolationist ice by releasing "Confessions of a Nazi Spy" - billed as "The Picture That Calls a Swastika a Swastika!" - on the same day Hitler announced that the subjugation of Poland was central to Germany's goals. In "Five Came Back," Mark Harris' can't-put-it-down history of World War II propaganda films, he writes that advocates of neutrality in the Production Code office "argued that the movie courted disaster by failing to depict Hitler's unchallenged social and political achievements." By crosscutting the personal journeys and wartime films of five Hollywood directors - Ford, Stevens, Frank Capra, John Huston and William Wyler - Harris shows how the war changed the filmmakers and how the filmmakers changed the cinematic language and content of Hollywood movies. Before the U.S. declaration of war, studio heads, many of them Jewish, faced attack from isolationists within the industry and in the Senate. Almost overnight the "competing principalities" of Hollywood and Washington allied in the war effort to make propaganda films for civilians and training films for GIs. Stevens, noted for his comedies, volunteered for the Signal Corps because he wanted to make movies with relevance. [...] Huston, exhausted from hiding his lover, Olivia de Havilland, from his wife, Lesley, accepted a Signal Corps commission as an opportunity to redefine himself as a man of action in the original sense of the expression. "Within the Signal Corps, there was stiff resistance to any movie that would use plot or character, animation techniques, or even nonmilitary music to drive home its point," Harris writes. Harris writes with you-are-there intimacy, taking the reader to Midway, where John Ford, awakened by the noise, films an aerial battle that turned out to be a turning point in the war in the Pacific and was blown off his feet by an enemy bomb, his camera still running. According to Harris, "Huston achieved a ragged-edged verisimilitude that helped to create an American understanding ... of what 'real' war film is supposed to look like."
An Afghan police commander opened fire Friday on two Associated Press journalists, killing Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounding veteran correspondent Kathy Gannon -- the first known case of a security insider attacking journalists in Afghanistan.
Caen (France) (AFP) - A Canadian World War II soldier whose remains accidentally ended up in a cemetery for German soldiers in France will finally be buried in his hometown after DNA tests revealed his identity. Officials in the northwestern town of Coutances said tests on a tooth of the fallen soldier had identified him as Lawrence S. Gordon, a Canadian who fought for the US army. Gordon's family had been searching for his remains since discovering in 2000 that they were not buried in the American Cemetery and Memorial in Saint-James in Normandy. We couldn't be happier, having gone so far," said his nephew and namesake Lawrence Gordon.
Nearly 90 years-old, Paragould native Paul Hampton enjoys a quiet life. His days have been pretty uneventful since 1984 when he retired from military service. However, Hampton's 42 years in Army hosted enough adventure to last him the rest of his life.
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