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July 1994


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BRIAN TAVES <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 8 Jul 1994 14:41:14 GMT
text/plain (26 lines)
          A quick reply to Donald Larsson's suggestion of a couple days ago
          that CHINA GATE, in 1957, was the earliest Hollywood Vietnam
          movie. Instead, that distinction probably belongs to ROGUES'
          REGIMENT, made nearly a decade earlier and released by Universal
          in 1948. ROGUES' REGIMENT was written (in collaboration with
          Robert Buckner) and directed by Robert Florey as a follow-up to
          their unusual wartime version of THE DESERT SONG (1943), which
          linked fascism with imperialism, showing Nazi Germany
          manipulating French control of Northwest Africa for its own ends.
          The Arab rebels were valorized as heroes whose struggle for
          freedom promoted the goals of the Allies. In ROGUES' REGIMENT,
          the French Foreign Legion is shown, as it had become, a haven for
          escaped Nazis, and by depicting Nazis as the enforcers of
          colonial power, imperialism again implicitly links colonialism
          with fascism. Communist influence is not ignored, but the
          Vietnamese rebels are portrayed as using communist agents for
          their own goals. Just as THE DESERT SONG ran into censorship
          troubles in the US, ROGUES' REGIMENT was banned by the French,
          making it a commercial failure. As a result, it has often been
          overlooked in noting early critiques of the conflict, despite
          delineating the issues in the same manner as they would face the
          United States more than a dozen years later.
          Brian Taves, Motion Picture Division
          Library of Congress