Made in 1973 when America was pulling out of Vietnam, this film must have gone down like a cyanide pill.
The Roberto Begnini-like protagonist gets out of a sanatorium. The tone is set in the doctor's office. Broad caricatures in line with Zemeckis' tastes as seen in "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and "Used Cars".
The director ramps up the slapstick action with car crashes and shoot-outs and then takes a turn towards some very uncomfortable violence. The resolution though predictable, left me with a feeling of relief that it was over.
It reminded me of two anecdotes about the movie "1941" for which Zemeckis co-wrote the screenplay. In one scene a father (played in the film by Ned Beatty, has a talk with his daughter, who is going to a USO dance. He reminds her that the young servicemen she will be meeting will soon be shipping out to parts unknown to fight for their country and possibly to die. They are of an age where they are only thinking of one thing. He concludes his talk by slapping his daughter on the shoulder and telling her to make sure they have a good time. The odd and twisted suggestion being that she put out for them.
The second story goes that Zemeckis wanted to end the movie with a coda. After the hubbub of the ruined USO show, he would have had a short scene set aboard the "Enola Gay", the bomber that dropped the Atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Cut to the inside where the bomber leans over his sights. As he leans back we recognize the young dancer whose chances at a Hollywood contract were ruined by the Japanese submarine attack in the film. "Thats for the USO!" he crows as he drops the bomb.
And that's the biting humour Zemeckis had early in his career that you find in this short film.
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