Hail, Hero! (1969) Poster

(1969)

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10/10
Time For A Remake
angelsunchained25 November 2006
I saw this film as an 11 year old in 1969. Viet-Nam was raging & the country was torn. Hail Hero was a sneak preview at the 163rd Street Theater in North Miami Beach, Florida. Micheal Douglas was strictly known as Kirk's son, and there was a lot of interest to see if he "could" act.

The acting is outstanding and so is the story line. Things never seem to change. War has been around since the beginning of time, and so has serving in the military and defending one's country. The most shocking aspect here was the dead mummy baby in the shoe box. Lots of symbolic levels here and it's clear that this movie is no longer out of date.

This would be a good movie to remake today. I'd rate Hail Hero as a 10.
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9/10
I was pleasantly surprised by this little movie
pennypit9 March 2004
I watched this movie out of curiosity for 2 reasons: 1. Michael Douglas' first movie role 2. Mercer Harris was billed above Peter Strauss. I found it to be most enjoyable, especially as I shared the anti-war sentiments expressed by main character. Nothing here spelled oscar winner, but on the whole it was well acted and had the proposed impact. I recommend it to anyone who is a Douglas fan, as he seemed to have a good time with this role. (and he is just so darn cute!) Peter Strauss as the "successful in spite of injury" older brother turns in a fair performance. Mercer Harris is quite effective as the friendly ranch hand, Luke. It is his performance that I was looking for, as I know him well and have watched his other movies prior to this one. Too bad he did not stay in Hollywood, he had a lot to offer.
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6/10
Passable Curio
cultfilmfreaksdotcom26 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
In the beginning of Michael Douglas's thereafter-gigantic career he plays Carl Dixon, a freespirit during the Vietnam era who returns from New York college life to a rural farm family that's harbored proud fighting men since the Civil War.

The first act of HAIL, HERO! has Carl entering into his small Southern hometown with the kind of jovial personality that embodies aimless sarcastic abandon: first playing bull and matador with a truckload of Mexican workers and eventually being misunderstood by his uptight father, who gives him a nice clean haircut right away.

The best scenes involve blond starlet Deborah Winters who, that same year, played a teenage rebel bad-tripping on acid in THE PEOPLE NEXT DOOR. Here's she's a promiscuous country girl with a crush on Carl and a past relationship with his older brother, Frank...

In the thankless straight man role, Peter Strauss might as well be Nick Nolte's uptight brother in RICH MAN POOR MAN. Strauss's Frank was crippled because of Carl and holds a grudge that enters into the final act, taking place at a big party where generations collide. But it's one prolonged segment with Douglas and Winters, splashing around in a swimming hole wearing close to nothing, that provides something for either sex to enjoy.

Unlike many counter-culture flicks, HERO is never too preachy or annoyingly idealistic. The soundtrack is large and brassy and the acting, including veterans Arthur Kennedy and Teresa Wright, is topnotch. Meanwhile the sporadic use of muted flashbacks of important memories – like Carl's father having an affair with the Spanish maid and the accident that changed Frank's life – make this rare curio more interesting that it sometimes deserves to be.

Dated and ultimately stagey, with a really bizarre and pointless midsection where Frank smokes pot with a hermit woman in a cave, what's really important is the introduction of Micheal Douglas, proving, as the son of legendary Kirk Douglas, that he could hold his own.
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8/10
Quietly worth watching!!
Dylan Keyne23 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Chalking this one up as another Peter Strauss film for my collection - ie, he was the only reason I chose to watch this film.

OK, Pete doesn't have a big role in this and he spends half of it in his customary hands-on-hips pose, but he does it so well!!

As for the non-Straussian parts of the film: Watching it for the first time here in 2011, on an old VHS, I could really feel the atmosphere of 1969. It was confusing for a lot of the contemporary youth and the culture was something of a mish-mash mess. I'd have hated it as I wouldn't have a clue where I stood and I guess that's why Michael Douglas's character first comes off as a naive, clueless ass. I didn't think I'd like this film.

It's not a plot I could personally identify with, but I was certainly engaged by it. I could almost feel Carl growing up, or at least shucking off his youthful naievete and finally understanding at least some of the crazy adult world he seeks approval from.

I have friends who served in the US forces during Vietnam and what they told me of society's mentality back then seems really well reflected in the characters' mindsets. A very interesting journey and a film I will be watching again sometime!
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6/10
Well cast but mediocre film
cinders636 November 2000
Michael Douglas gives a very sympathetic performance as a young pacifist returning home before shipping out to Vietnam. The acting is superb in this small film about a sensitive young man trying to impress a bullying father who quite obviously sees him as a disappointment. He hopes to win his father's love and respect by enlisting in the army, imagining himself to be a great hero, but finds it difficult to bridge the chasm between himself and the old man.

This could have been a good film, but it misses the mark. A banal but not unpleasant time-waster.
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9/10
A Hail To Hero
happipuppi1327 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Right off,I'll mention that I cannot believe this movie,15 years after the public debut of DVD's,is still not available in the format.

I won a VHS copy of it from Ebay (nobody bid against me,big shock). I thankfully had the great experience of seeing on late night TV in 2000 (somewhat edited for content of course).

The reason for tuning in then(like most here) was that it is Michael Douglases debut feature.

Michael does an excellent job here of playing (and balancing) a young,idealistic,anti-war protester who at the same time is still trying to win the approval of his "old fashioned" father,by doing...of all things...volunteering to go off to Vietnam!

He's also trying to find a way to mend fences with his brother and maybe open the eyes of his mother,who seems to want to avoid such things like real life issues or her son's thoughts or feelings.

Douglas's arrival back to the family home,is a great way to show how "directly between" man & boy his character is. He almost playfully romps around the place and is beyond joy when reunited with his dog.

Some might think this is too "sunshiney" but I loved it...we should all be so happy to come back home. Unfortuantly after that,he finds,of course,that nothing has changed.

His brother (feeling Douglas's character caused his accident a couple of years ago) is none to thrilled to see him.

His father immediately gives him a hair-cut in the kitchen because he disapproves of his son being a "long haired hippie" & "looking like a girl". His mother still handles things the same old way,by not handling them or acknowledging her son's point of view. She's also fooling around with a man behind her husband's back (which Douglas later discovers. )

Douglas says,does and tries many ways to make certain things understood to his family & former neighbors but also to take him seriously about his having signed up to go to war. I totally loved his tense stand-off with one of his father's friends in the family living room.

The home exterior set looks a bit dated (looking like right out of a 50s movie,filmed on a sound stage). The real outdoor shots are much better,giving a better sense of a real place and situation.

These two things combined though,kind of show where Amercia was then. In a struggle between old & new values and also the opposing stands on Vietnam and other realities the country was dealing with.

The only reason I'm rating this a 9 instead of a 10,is that while I get the ending of the film,it just seems a bit hurried. Without giving the ending away,Douglas's youth makes one more grand poignant demonstration and right after this,it goes to freeze-frame,the closing theme plays,and the brief credits roll.

I guess I felt there could have been at least another 15 to 20 minutes more that could have been done here. Just to have a more defined ending but maybe I;m wrong & that's what the film-maker was gong for. Point made-end film.

I also love that Gordon Lightfoot does the title song "Hail,Hero" at the start and ends with a (then) newer version of his 60s classic "Wherefore And Why",

So,nine stars out of ten. A great debut for Michael Douglas,with even better things to come after. The rest of the cast did a great job as well.

Once again though,to conclude,this really needs to be put out,

on a "real" DVD. Real meaning digitally restored picture and sound and subtitles and/or closed captioning - or both. This is Douglases debut,after all. It deserves a better status than VHS on Ebay! (END) .
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