DOASKDOTELL MOVIE REVIEWs of Proud, Truman

 

Title:  Proud  (aka Proudly We Serve)

Release Date:  2005

Nationality and Language: USA, English

Running time: 90 min

MPAA Rating: PG

Distributor and Production Company: THE (TH Entertainment), Castle Hill

Director; Writer: Mary Pat Kelly

Producer:

Cast:   Ossie Davis, Albert Jones, Erik Laray Harvey, Jeffrey Nash, Stephen Rea, Bill Clinton (as himself), Aidan Quinn

Technical:  Flat aspect

Relevance to DOASKDOTELL site: Racial integration of the military

 

During the debate about gays in the military, proponents for lifting the ban often noted that “conservatives” were using the same arguments that had been used to justify racial segregation of the military up until shortly after World War II. That is, whites would not want to bunk with blacks, would not take orders from blacks, would not want to socialize or bond with blacks—in short, unit cohesion.

 

This film documents the only Navy ship with black sailors that went into combat during World War II. The ship was the USS Mason, which would cross the Atlantic and risk being shot at by German U-boats. The ship did have white officers and NCOs, but 160 black (“Negro” was the term then) lower-ranked enlisted sailors. The film does show the forced intimacy of Navy life, as the sailor sleep in packed Northampton sling bunks, stacked three high.

 

There is one scene where the circular logic justifying segregation is played out, and by modern standards it does sound rather silly.

 

The story is told by Lorenzo DuFau (the late Ossie Davis) to his grandson and the grandson’s college friends, so the first hour of the film plays as a docudrama. Then Du Fau fights for an official commendation, and finally a new ship USS Mason is commissioned, and former President Bill Clinton speaks at a ceremony.

 

Truman (1995, HBO, dir. Frank Pierson, 135 min, PG) is an impressive biography of President Harry Truman, who made the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan after FDR died. Gary Sinese plays Truman. A significant episode in the film concerns Truman’s decision to integrate the military in 1948. Truman is presented as having been very determined to do what be believed to be right, and to fight off the usual circular arguments about unit cohesion.

 

The script supervisor for this film is given by IMDB as Jill Gurr, a screenwriter who was featured in a story on NBC Nightly News on Nov. 21, 2005, for her creative arts mentoring activities for disadvantaged youths, as explained at Create Now!  

A related film is "The Tuskegee Airmen (1995)" with Laurence Fishburne, which I have ordered for review.

The PBS “American Experience” Truman (1997, 4 hrs) is reviewed here on blogger.  

 

Do not confuse with The Truman Show.

 

Related reviews:. Coming Out Under Fire, Soldier’s Girl

 

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