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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