Tag Archives: Kate Winslet

The Americanization of Emily: The Profits of War

19 Aug

the-americanization-of-emilyWe just watched Paddy Chayefsky’s The Americanization of Emily for the second time.  Wow!  What a brilliant movie that should be mandatory viewing.  As I have been reflecting lately on the cost of human lives in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the many other wars in the past 20 years, I have been saddened by the inability to justify any of these wars.  Granted, I am a pacifist and navigate the world in ways that hold me to my principals of what a pacifist means.

Chayefsky (writer of Network) does a brilliant job addressing the hypocrisy, greed, profiteering, and complexities of wars.  I don’t want to give a way too much of the movie, because I am hoping many of you will rent the movie or get it on the Hulu or however people rent movies today.  I will say that Chayefsky pushes the audience hard to think and reflect upon our core values, our core beliefs and ask us to look at how easily humans are manipulated.

Julie Andrews and James Garner give nothing less than stellar and complex performances and it is easy to see why their chemistry garnered another film,  Victor/Victoria nearly 20 years later.  Candidly, I was also amazed they were willing to make such a film that would question the American government and push back against sexism and misogyny in such a forthright manner. I’m not wholly convinced we have actors with such talent and moral fiber who would take these roles today. The movie is a clear indictment of the United States and of other countries that profit from warring and pillaging. It is also telling that both actors consider this their favorite personal work given the rich depth of experience they both have.

With that being said, I could imagine recasting this if an updated version were to be created — just for the record, I usually think it is a mistake to remake movies of this caliber.  However, I could see George Clooney in the James Garner role and Kate Winslet in the Jule Andrews role.  The movie also contains a homoerotic relationship between Charlie Madison (James Garner) and his superior, Adm. William Jessup, played by the late Melvyn Douglas.  This relationship would be interesting to explore in further detail.  Charlie Madison is a “Dog Robber,” so perhaps the homoerotic tension is an indication of the how accommodating a “Dog Robber” has to be.   I could easily see Robert DeNiro playing Adm. William Jessup.

I strongly encourage people to watch this movie and examine the word cowardice.  What does it mean in the movie what does it mean personally in a time of war as opposed to the word hero.  How many wars are defensible?  Feel free to share your thoughts.

The Titanic: A Very Different Love Story

15 Apr

Thank you to my dear friend Jay for inspiring me to write this story.  While I love Kate Winslet, I must confess I did not enjoy the movie Titanic, nor did the love story interest me.  However, there is a perspective I would like to share with TSM readers regarding an actual love story with a very sad ending and the sinking of the Titanic.

Major Archibald Butt, who was a military advisor for President Taft, saved many lives on the Titanic on April 15.  In fact, President Taft wept openly upon the news of Archibald Butt’s death.  Butt, during his lifetime, was the object of many cruel jokes regarding his name–a name now associated with courage and heroism. Sadly, Butt was able to save so many lives but he was not able to save the life of his spouse.

Too often stories of history leave out important details about people’s lives.  Our hero Archibald Butt was gay and had a long-time partner, Frank Millet. Millet graduated from Harvard and became an international war correspondent. Butt and Millet shared a home in D.C. where they lived a happy life together until their deaths aboard the Titanic.

The couple had set sail on the Titanic, but neither would return to America alive.  What is more sad, is that the couple did not have the chance to be together at the very end.  Butt was busy saving other people’s lives, and Millet was not seen before being lost to the cold sea.

I love this story because it reminds us that there are narratives that neglect to be told and are expunged from history, and I have the fortunate opportunity to share these stories.  Can you imagine how Butt and Millet’s story might affect LGBT youth?

Today, there is a memorial in Washington Square called the Butt-Millet Fountain.

Archibald Butt

For more detailed information and to see another great blog, click here.

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