The Guardian threw up an interesting story over the weekend in which Dan Glaister pondered Clint Eastwood's decision not to include any African-American soldiers in his new film Flags of Our Fathers. Pic revolves around The Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II and the six soldiers who instantly became famous when they were photographed raising an American flag. Yet, with almost 900 African-American soldiers involved in said battle, not one is present in the pic. No lines of dialogue. No extras. Nada. Zip. As The Guardian puts it, "Where have all the black soldiers gone?"
As you can expect, those African-American soldiers that were there, and even played a small role in raising the famous flag, are pretty upset ... and they should be. Right? Warner Bros. claims "The film is correct based on the book," but c'mon -- point to the line in the book that read, "Oh, and by the way, there were no African-American soldiers anywhere near this battle." If it's historical fact and written about in books like Christopher Moore's Fighting for America: Black Soldiers -- the Unsung Heroes of World War II, then why were they left out of the film? For a problem with such an easy fix (throw in an extra or two), it appears this was done deliberately. And if so, why?
Yvonne Latty (author of We Were There: Voices of African-American Veterans) wrote to the film's producers, as well as Eastwood, but got no reply. Says Latty, "No one's asking for them to be the stars of the movies, but at least show that they were there. This is the way a new generation will think about Iwo Jima. Once again it will be that African-American people did not serve, that we were absent. It's a lie." While I'm not trying to start a nasty fight here (and please refrain from nasty comments), it upsets me to see a film that is sure to be a huge Oscar contender blatantly ignore the involvement of African-Americans during The Battle of Iwo Jima, especially a war epic that relies heavily on the little details. What do you think?
[via Movie City News]