86 of 96 people found the following review helpful
Read the Book FIRST!!!,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)For all the negative responses to the movie "Flags of Our Fathers" I would guess 85% did not read the book with the same title by James Bradley, son of John "Doc" Bradley. This book will give you the whole, true story of what the movie is all about with many details not shown in the film. You will get so much more out of the movie. I can't even fathom seeing the film beforehand. I am absolutely NOT soliciting the book but I am personally acquainted with the Bradley family and my extended family from Antigo, Wisconsin were very good friends with John and continue to be with his wife Betty. My cousins went to school with James and his siblings. John was the funeral director for my grandmother and others I know. I have attended memorials for "Jack" in Appleton, WI (where he went to school), after the book was released. Jim Bradley, the author of "Flags of Our Fathers" agonized over writing the book and consulted with his family whether to do it until he got the go ahead from his mother. Since his father only spoke of the war once to his family is the reason, in the movie, there isn't much personal information on him. People who wrote other reviews stated that they were confused as to why James was interviewing other WWII, Iwo Jima families. This is why. As for the other "stars" of the movie, which very little is said about their personal lives before and then again after the war you will find many details in the book which will help you to understand what lies beneath each personality. I cried when I read the book and I cried when I saw the movie. PLEASE read the book first, or if you've already seen the movie before reading the book, read it and then go back and see the movie again!
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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 9, 2007 1:36:02 PM PST
Gordon Stokes says:
i read the book afterwards, and it all came together. I would have rather read it first
Posted on Jan 18, 2007 10:43:14 AM PST
Susan, thank you for your review and your recommendation of reading the book first. I wanted to buy the movie for my husband, but after reading the review and the comment from Gordon, I will buy the book and movie together. I really appreciate that you and your family had personal ties with the Bradleys, that extra insight helps a lot. Thank you again!
Posted on Jan 23, 2007 1:31:39 PM PST
Jack Dempsey says:
She's correct in recommending to read the book first. As a Marine myself, long ago I familiarized myself with the specifics and the stories of our battles in the South Pacific. Bradley's book is an incredibly moving tribute to this era, to this specific event, to these men and Eastwood's film captures that perfectly.
Posted on Feb 9, 2007 2:15:45 AM PST
You shouldn't have to read the book first. A film must stand on its own. The story of Iwo Jima and all who fought and died there is very important. This film was overreaching in its attempt to cover the story behind the flag and presumably something of the heroic battles. Sadly, I believe that the film failed miserably at both.
Posted on Feb 13, 2007 7:13:53 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 13, 2007 7:53:24 AM PST]
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 13, 2007 7:30:06 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jun 8, 2009 3:05:59 PM PDT
Bruce Bain says:
However Jack, there is a difference between saying someone ought to read the book.....and saying someone cannot review the movie without reading the book. Not only is that prohibitive, it suggests that all movie reviews ought not be be based upon the MOVIE at all, but rather upon the BOOK, and not the MOVIE.
Moreover, you claim that Bradley's book is a "tribute" to the era. By contrast, Eastwood's film is not necessarily a tribute, and for that matter, Eastwood's film is not necessarily a "tribute" to the battle for Iwo Jima. Many who write 5 star reviews state plainly that the film calls into question our definition of HERO.
In the book, about 16 pages relate the account of the Mighty Seventh Bond Drive, whereas most of the movie is concerned with the Bond Drive. The movie simply does not convey the same regard of HEROES as does the Bradley book. The producers of FOOF entirely changed the respectful account and the chronology of the Bradly book in making the movie.
If a viewer considers the nature of U. S. Marine battles, and then considers what Director Eastwood is showing happening back in the U.S.A. during the bond drive, it is a stark contrast. Is Director Eastwood showing us the Marines in life-altering combat; Or is he showing us civilians and Marines squabbling in hotels in the rooms and back-staircases?
What does the film show?
Other than the amphibious landing, FOOF fails to show:
(1) the fight for Mount Suribachi (2) the fight for airstrips #1, #2, and #3 on the island
(3) the fight for Nishi Ridge (4) the fight for Kitano Point (5) the fight for Bloody Gorge
and (5) numerous prominences, depressions and landmarks which were significant in the battle for Iwo Jima
Though Eastwood's work is not as bad as the Daytime Soaps, it is not that far removed from them either.
Clearly, it is evident that the Director feels that the squabbling in hotels is an important bit of story telling.
If Eastwood's movie is a tribute, it is more a tribute to his own Directorial vision, and less a tribute to U.S. Marines on Iwo Jima. To pay fair tribute, would mean showing the entire battle for Iwo, and not, hotel room squabbles.
Arguably, FOOF is a propaganda piece, distinct in this regard: Director Eastwood has no qualms about showing himself as a HERO in films, even as Gunnery Sgt "Tom Highway" in HEARTBREAK RIDGE. In that film, Eastwood portrays a recipient of the CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL of HONOR. However, when it comes to FOOF, Eastwood carefully removes all representations of HEROISM, all representations of HEROICS, and all represtentations of HEROES, even the actual HEROES who recieved CONGRESSIONAL MEDALS of HONOR for their sacrifices on IWO JIMA.
I think it fair to indicate that FOOF is hardly a tribute to anything but the film's makers.
As an interesting side note, In the film "RAMBO: First Blood" it may be seen that the character John Rambo played by Sylvester Stallone, also is presented as having been a recipient of the CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR.
However, regardless of the eccentric Super Hero antics of the John Rambo character, at least the film offers a clear and consistent message, intending to confer respect and honor to military veterans. In fact, the dialogue is often a means of presenting a collective view relating to the experiences of returning veterans of the Vietnam War. The essential issue however, is that none of the RAMBO films deny the reality of HEROISM.
Also, mention of the RAMBO films serves also to indicate that it is indeed the film industry itself, which has manufactured the gross MYTHOLOGY of the combat super hero, out of context with a more realistic presentation which is in accord with fact. Whereas many reviewers have undertaken to laud praise upon the makers of FOOF, for presenting a cynical and dubious view of the reality of HEROISM on the battlefields where Americans fought.
My contention is that this is a massively flawed perception, because not only do those who made FOOF accrue benefit for its cynical view of battlefield HEROES, HEROICS, & HEROISM, the film also obscures the very fact that the film industry itself has manufactured the very unrealistic stereotypes.
Not only that, but FOOF director Clint Eastwood has himself personally benefitted from the exploitation of roles of the combat Superhero. Moreover, director Clint Eastwood has also benefitted financially and in prestige as a celebrity, from roles in which he played a character also reported to have been awarded the CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR.
In this sense, the film industry is able to manufacture lies for decades, and then obtain credit, as though having produced a revelation in the form of a film which shows audiences "the truth" about the island battle for Iwo Jima. So that audience pays at the box office for films glorifying mythological combat Super heroes, and also pay at the box office for films which are purported to reveal some vague truth about the NON-EXISTENCE of combat heroism. Personally, I find this film to be very offensive to U. S Marine and U.S. Navy personnel.
For one thing, Director Clint Eastwood has no actual combat experience. (I have). For another thing, the Marines shown in FOOF, are never portrayed in the very spirit of self-abnegation which was essential in the taking of the island. The majority of these Marines never expected to survive the battle, and yet they continually forged ahead until the Japanese forces were subdued.
Posted on Apr 27, 2009 10:17:25 AM PDT
Mark Blackburn says:
I've not read the book. I will now, because of this fine review and as you say, "then go back and see the movie again!" Nice to see this evocative (yet concise) review for one of Clint Eastwood's very best productions still at the top in the "spotlight" where it belongs. And that Susan Palmbach has reached 188,000 in the "New Reviewer" rankings (among the 5.38 million of us ordinary souls, pouring our hearts out, here at the world's biggest website) . . . and on the strength of just two reviews!
Left a "helpful" -- hope my vote shows up (for a change). Just had to say "Attagirl Susan" and . . . write more reviews!
Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
In reply to an earlier post on May 11, 2009 9:44:44 AM PDT
Acute Observer says:
A very good analysis of the faults of FOOF. The book "The Lions of Iwo Jima" is a concise history of that battle.
I will not read FOOF because of the limitations of time, etc. A film should stand on its own.
Generally, a book is better than the film made from it due to the need to simplify and condense the events into 2 hours.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 11, 2009 9:26:02 AM PST
Richard Byers says:
Tell ya what Bruce, why not write your own book on the subject (you seem to have plenty to say).
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2009 5:37:04 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Aug 27, 2011 7:05:37 AM PDT
Bruce Bain says:
*ISSUE THE FIRST*
"Tell ya what Bruce, why not write your own book on the subject (you seem to have plenty to say)."---------------------sentence 1, paragraph 1, comment of RICHARD BYERS on Dec 11, 2009 9:26 AM PST regarding the Susan Palmbach review for the film, FOOF.
(1) Tell ya what, Richard Byers, why not apprise yourself of the fact that the book was already written.
(2) Your proposition that I write a book is an evident redundancy, because if a book has been written on the subject (Many in fact have been written) there is no need to write another book.
(3) The issue at hand, in case it had not occurred to you, is not the Book, but the movie of the same title.
(4) Tell ya what, Richard Byers, why not make another movie, which accurately conveys the factual account contained in the book?
In regard to which, permit me to say just this once for your benefit; "Du-uh!"