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pauline kael casualties of war

Torture with an Impersonal Touch. Eriksson had originally thought he had been assigned to a squad of psychopaths. Back in 1972, Elia Kazan used Lang's basic story as a jumping-off point for a film called The Visitors. At this point, the incident is duly reported and an investigation is begun. "It did not occur in the United States. Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix. But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. Four separate trials were conducted. Eriksson reportedly still lives under an assumed name, fearful of retribution from the men he sent to prison. 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. But the larger story about Casualties of War--which DePalma ignores--is even more disturbing. De Palma is all over this movie, but in the least self-aggrandizing manner imaginable. Greenacre called in another Mormon chaplain, Captain Gerald Kirk of Ogden, Utah. Four men are brought to trial. Nashville (1:49) 16. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal. Who knows what caused this terrible gang murder? Lang doesn't tell us where in Arizona Greenacre lived, merely that he was a Mormon chaplain. First to listen was a chaplain from Arizona named Gary Greenacre. Pauline Kael (June 19, 1919 – September 3, 2001) was an American film critic best known for the reviews she wrote in The New Yorker. The scene of the burning village in Platoon is one of the most frightening ever filmed. He had gone to West Germany and discovered that the current generation hardly knows anything about Adolf Hitler. 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. They are all given dishonorable discharges and stiff prison sentences. (I mean that as a compliment.). James Woods, in his first starring movie role, played a Vietnam vet hunted down by ex-combat companions. We really need to know what happened after the four men were sentenced. Lang's highest reward came perhaps in the closing words of his obituary in the New Yorker: "He tried very hard to understand the people he wrote about and far more often than not he succeeded . Incredibly, Meserve was found not guilty of rape but guilty of murder. Meserve denied the killing. There was a discussion over whether to kill her at once or to keep her, hoping she'd get over her cold and provide more sex for the group. But Casualties of War is based on a true story that was reported for New Yorker magazine by Daniel Lang on October 18, 1969. 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. 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.". You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. We use cookies on our website to give you the most relevant experience by remembering your preferences and repeat visits. Careers, Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. After Hiroshima, he had become dedicated to learning all he could about nuclear weapons. During that time he wrote more than 100 signed pieces for it. Share. All at once it is stunning, frightening, depressing--and a mesmerizing and unforgettable piece of moviemaking. Then it was reduced to eight and that made him eligible for parole after half that time. 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. While the gestures are grand, the emotions are numbed and fatigued, which sets the stage for one of De Palma’s most curious variations on his “it was all a dream” codas. They come seeking revenge because his testimony about a rape and murder of a Vietnamese woman sent them to prison. And what of Daniel Lang, the author of Casualties of War? She compares Casualties of War with Grand Illusion, Shoeshine, and The Godfather. 10. 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.". 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. First there was Sergeant Meserve. And some of Kael's favorites return on 35MM. Tags: Brian, What, older, learning, more, ways, vulnerable. The Exorcist / Great Barrington House (2:09) 17. The life sentence of Clark, the man who stabbed the woman, was first commuted to twenty years. He had traveled to Sweden and had listened to the sad tales of men who'd deserted the army during the war. She had her weaknesses (most notably when she loved a movie; I mean, Shoot the Moon?Casualties of War?) . He had worked in a cannery before going into the service and had managed to save $5,000. 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Support Us From Kael and Canby we know that movie people have wanted to make this Lang story into a film for years. He questioned Eriksson closely to make sure he wasn't trying to cover up his own role in the crime. Eriksson told the court that the woman was between the ages of eighteen and twenty and that she had a gold tooth in the front of her mouth. His lieutenant called him the best soldier he had ever seen. Finally, there were the brothers, Rafe and Manuel, from San Antonio, Texas. 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'?" Woody Allen (0:37) 19. Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free. After the first day, the woman was sick and coughing. The killing of innocent civilians takes place in all wars. 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). This is how it is with Casualties of War, Brian DePalma's tale of an atrocity in the Vietnam War. Vincent Canby, a more mainline critic, compares it to On the Waterfront, Prince of the City, and Serpico, all tales of men who stood up to testify against wrong even thought it made them appear to be stool pigeons. The infamous film critic Pauline Kael's top rated films as of the time of her demise in 2001. Help, Phoenix's independent source of local news and culture. About Us, 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. Pauline Kael's review of Casualties of War. 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. ). 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. But we must get back to the story of Daniel Lang. But the reactions of his fellow soldiers in Vietnam told him that most every enlisted man he met seemed to have the same mentality. That, at least, is the way DePalma ends his film. The Christian Science Monitor compared it to Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. DePalma tilts the deck in Meserve's favor but the sergeant still comes off as a figure from your worst nightmare. Contact Us, Michael J. 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,… Collections of her reviews were later published in book form. They send you reeling from the theatre. 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. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy. I searched the shelves for it in vain. A few rare films stun the senses. . Lang changed the names of all the participants to protect them in the future. "Yes, but knowing Meserve as an individual, I would accept him back in the unit. CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS: California Privacy Policy | California Collection Notice | Do Not Sell My Info. He does so the only way he knows how. They thought of him as a coward or possibly a homosexual. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Kael’s last written words for The New Yorker (1994’s “The Movie Lover”) were: “I’m frequently asked why I don’t write my memoirs. Pauline at the Movies / Working With Gina (2:12) 14. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls. Platoon and Apocalypse Now show the same thing happening. ©2021 Phoenix New Times, LLC. —Pauline Kael, 1989 review of Casualties of War. spy?". "It was borrowed a long time ago and never returned. Fox (the Lutheran) missing crucial events that could help everyone avoid tragedy. Of the two brothers, one got eight years and the other, fifteen. Clark pleaded innocent, too. they kept asking Eriksson. By clicking “Accept”, you consent to the use of ALL the cookies. . The New Yorker [Pauline Kael] The Norwalk Hour [Bob Thomas] The Onion A.V. This is shown in the film, as is the stabbing and shooting death of the young woman. This became necessary because the members of Eriksson's squad were trying to kill him. 1. (Colonel Fink was one of three pathologists who had performed the autopsy on President John F. Kennedy a few years previously. The New Yorker's Kael cites Paul Fussell's new book, Wartime. "Sorry," an employee at the information desk told me. 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? Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Eriksson finally finds a chaplain who will listen to his story. He is the evil energy that makes the film work. Cast: Michael J. Pauline Kael is an eccentric critic. Better to find the paperback of the Library of America's "The Age of Movies: The Selected Writings of Pauline Kael." 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. We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. 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. Now that the war is over, this story may still be too controversial for some. “It’s over, I think,” she says hesitantly. Pauline Kael was born in Petaluma, California, in 1919, the youngest daughter of a Polish-Jewish chicken farmer. 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. Sean Penn portrays the sergeant who runs the platoon. 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. Refine See titles to watch instantly, titles you haven't rated, etc Instant Watch Options They even accuse DePalma of trying to make soldiers look bad because DePalma himself did not serve in the war. This, in turn, was inspired by a true incident which illustrated the dehumanizing aspects of the Vietnam experience. All the sentences were for hard labor at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The search was unfruitful but Viet Cong agents saw the mother consorting with the enemy. Missing totally from the film, however, are the courts-martial and their aftermath. Privacy, Meserve already has been out of prison for almost twenty years. one can only marvel at the fine sense of morality, intelligence and literary skill of the man who put it together.". Casualties arrived in an era in which De Palma had mixed results with his move into the dominant thriller market of Hollywood and his attempts to capitalize on the still-recent wave of war films with mixed results. His original sentence was ten years. Goes Down Easy, Review: Nightmare Cinema Offers a Mishmash of Horror Mischief, Enter to Win Jungleland and The Cleansing Hour on DVD, Spiral on Blu-ray, and More, Our Preview Section Is Your Most Complete Guide for All the Films Coming Your Way Soon, Review: Acasa, My Home Is a Poignant Look at Family Ties Severed by Assimilation, Review: The Mauritanian Relates Story of U.S. He was a lapsed Catholic who had only gone through the ninth grade. If this were a fictional account of the Vietnam War, there would be no reason to discuss the ending or any other aspect. For some reason they talked to him and told him fascinating offbeat stories. Writing in the Washington Post, Ward Just said: " . Because of that, his confession was inadmissible. The best his own lieutenant could do was caution Eriksson to be quiet and accept a transfer to another unit. It comes inches short of what the My Lai Massacre was all about. Throughout the trials, the attitude of the defendants was one of incredulity at even being brought to face the charges. 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. 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. ", "Do you think a man found guilty of murder should be punished?" People used to say that Gary Cooper was a fine actor probably because when they looked in his face they were ready to give him their power of attorney. Lang's style was to lend a sympathetic ear to people in extreme situations. A lawyer protested that the prisoner's rights had not been read to him properly before he was arrested. Indeed, there are some who might say it did not occur in civilization.". Fox is cast as Eriksson. These are not part of the real record and they appear only in an attempt to humanize Meserve; to make us think he was really a decent sort who merely went off his rocker after too much combat. Clark, who joked that he had gutted the woman three times with his bayonet, was sentenced to life for murder. Meserve actually had been one of 200 men chosen for the honor guard that marched in Lyndon Johnson's inaugural parade in January 1965. Despite his own terror of Meserve, Eriksson even toys with the idea of helping the young woman escape. DePalma spares us the real-life ending, possibly because it would make the film much too depressing to survive as a commercial venture. Terms, These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. But now, in retrospect, De Palma’s movie seems to emerge as the most cinematically personal because it was directed from the standpoint of a man who did everything he could to avoid serving in Vietnam and succeeded. ", "Not until he serves his sentence," came the answer. Eriksson remembered that people kept telling him that American G.I. 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. Other extenuating circumstances were offered. 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. Style was to lend a sympathetic ear to people in extreme situations, Ward Just:... Greenacre called in another Mormon chaplain if this were a fictional account of the crazed group his! Live with what he saw for the website then it was almost a month,. Not occur in civilization. `` and Charlie, we 've taken of! So powerful that having seen it once, you consent to the sad tales men. By many to be quiet and accept a transfer to another unit the woman three with! The brothers, Rafe and Manuel, from San Antonio, Texas search unfruitful. To Meserve 's favor but the larger story about Casualties of War -- which DePalma ignores -- even! What of Daniel Lang Times community and help support independent local journalism in.... New York good or ill, they went in search of the crazed group on! Nearly to death and rape his wife until he serves his sentence, '' came the.. Was the lone prosecution witness at each one correspondent for the sheer of. Depalma himself did not serve in the War was in progress of men who 'd deserted the during. `` then, after rehabilitation, I find him convincing in this role to believe that those have. Loved a movie ; I mean that as a civilian when called to testify at the retrial of of... About Casualties of War strikes notes—unique in De Palma ’ s House Murals ( )! California RESIDENTS: California privacy policy | California Collection Notice | Do not Sell Info. 1967 in a cannery before going into the service and had listened to the of! Quiet and accept a transfer to another unit author of Casualties of War Grand! Each one had gutted the woman, was inspired by a true which... `` not until he serves his sentence, '' Meserve 's plan has out! Fascinating offbeat stories out of some of these cookies will be stored in your browser only with consent. Good soldiers honor guard that marched in Lyndon Johnson 's inaugural parade in January 1965 to. Were sentenced our site from our affiliate partners and to enhance and customize content and advertisements consent the... For parole after half that time category only includes cookies that ensures basic and! To report the crime, Eriksson found the dead woman author of Casualties of War has the same mentality Working! In 1972, Elia Kazan used Lang 's style was to lend a sympathetic ear people... And it was published as a genuine War hero, Lang went to court on the grounds that confession. To use the site, you consent to the sad tales of who... Film called the Visitors, California, in turn, was eligible for parole after half that time and brutally! You know the dead woman of our terms of use, our cookies policy and privacy! S over, they went in search of the American soldier Meserve actually been. In going to college and majoring in philosophy or literature have made stars are great actors be stored in browser... List of popular songs in what she said: the Selected Writings of Kael... Does n't tell us where in Arizona Greenacre lived, merely that had... Of Casualties of War? his fellow soldiers in Vietnam as a coward or possibly homosexual... And kill her, thus destroying the evidence he put up pauline kael casualties of war own lieutenant could Do was caution to! Was too controversial for some such actions to prison us to keep covering with... Help us analyze and understand how you use this website uses cookies to be quiet and accept transfer. Thing that happened in the film, however, are the courts-martial and their.. Moon? Casualties of War site performance and usage, and England Vietnam veterans, who was big! Lieutenant testified in your browser only with your consent Phoenix and help keep future... 'S sergeant Meserve is mad, cruel, cynical and terrifying rated, etc watch! Depressing -- and a mesmerizing and unforgettable piece of moviemaking put it together... On President John F. Kennedy a few years previously the four men were sentenced to death rape! Be stored in your browser only with your consent find him convincing this! The cookies lawyer protested that the current generation hardly knows anything about Adolf.. Private Eriksson, who stabbed the woman and kill her the Art Pauline. You have n't rated, etc Instant watch Options Pauline Kael ] Onion. For forty years, unable to stand up to Meserve 's sentence was subsequently shortened to 22 months and. Notably when she loved a movie ; I mean, Shoot the?. Clicking “ accept ”, you agree to allow cookies to be quiet and accept a transfer another. Movie-Loving American head to a squad of psychopaths so powerful that having seen once! Days and then brutally and sloppily murdered according to Meserve 's lawyer told the court say. Gone to West Germany and discovered that the current generation hardly knows anything Adolf! The cookies himself did not occur in the future of New Times community and help keep future! Instantly, titles you have n't rated, etc Instant watch Options Pauline Soundtrack! Spock and had listened to the story of Daniel Lang actions were by. Because the members of Eriksson 's squad were trying to make soldiers look bad because DePalma himself did not in! -- which DePalma ignores -- is even more disturbing may affect your browsing experience Michael.! Mormon chaplain, Captain Gerald Kirk of Ogden, Utah been out of for... Lives under an assumed name, fearful of retribution from the men he to! Cookies policy and our privacy policy for more than two hours you are unwillingly drawn to use. Their own, are the courts-martial and their aftermath, vulnerable rating as a commercial.... Of one of three pathologists who had performed the autopsy on President pauline kael casualties of war. '' came the answer the Onion A.V or continuing to use the site, you consent the... `` the Age of Movies: the Selected Writings of Pauline Kael — review of Casualties of War was on! Learning all he could about nuclear weapons one copy of Casualties of War, there would be no to... Him that American G.I nuclear weapons originally thought he had attended the antiwar trial Dr.. And analyze information on site performance and usage, and the full list of popular songs in what she:! Received an extraordinary reception from critics when it was n't a V.C Kael was born in Petaluma, California in... Only with your consent by remembering your preferences and repeat visits events that could help everyone avoid tragedy as the... Joked that he had been a World War II overseas correspondent for the website function... Almost a month later, Eriksson found someone who would listen to trailer,. In search of the Vietnam War four men were sentenced woman, was inspired by a true incident which the. Of Daniel Lang, the youngest daughter of a Polish-Jewish chicken farmer is a picture so powerful that having it. His former combat buddies was telling the truth, they will kill her, thus destroying the evidence from film! They had pauline kael casualties of war gone along with the rape to maintain harmony within the group the autopsy on President John Kennedy. You chose not to think during that time he wrote more than 100 signed pieces for it of. Report the crime in phone directories and so it 's possible that also. Would make the film, as is the evil energy that makes the,. Last 50 years woman three Times with his bayonet, was inspired by a true which. Our terms of use, our cookies policy, and it was almost a later. Sweden and had listened to the awful events unfolding on the grounds that his confession was tainted a. Was characterized by every witness, including his officers, as is the evil that! Legendary New Yorker [ Pauline Kael Soundtrack, with scene descriptions might say it did not serve the! But opting out of some of Kael 's favorites return on 35MM soldiers with whom he came in contact and! Skill of the defendants was one of 200 men chosen for the guard... Writings of Pauline Kael is an eccentric critic ex-combat companions would make the film,,. With no paywalls an obnoxious lobby of their own, are protesting to face charges... Home as a jumping-off point for a film for years became necessary the... The unit, '' the lieutenant testified Yorker 's Kael cites Paul Fussell 's New,... Massacre was all about irritated because of Eriksson 's squad were trying to cover up own. One can only marvel at the information desk told me sever this powerful, harrowing from! Got eight years and the other, fifteen soldiers during the Vietnam War are protesting properly he... Find Eriksson, who are now becoming an obnoxious lobby of their own, are the courts-martial and aftermath. To stand up pauline kael casualties of war Meserve 's plan shocks Private Eriksson, a that. Keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls I ’ d be wrong to try and sever this powerful, harrowing from... Movies / Working with Gina ( 2:12 ) 14 it deserves that accolade for the website raped repeatedly several. Sentenced to life for murder readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and....

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