Moments of escape can be moments of clarity!

"Oh, had I but followed the Arts"-William Shakespeare

Sunday, February 19, 2012

"The Red Tails were Black"

My Reel of the week is 2012's "Red Tails" a George Lucas film about the Tuskegee Airman of WWll. It hasn't received much in the way of advertising in my area. It was also relegated to the smallest theater in the cinema. I think George Lucas had to pick and choose where he would spend his advertising dollars . He had no major Studio that wanted to back this film because "movies with an all Black cast have no audience overseas" which is 60% of a movies revenue. So  George Lucas took on the film himself and made it truly a collaboration with Black talent in front of and behind the camera (In for a penny in for a pound I guess). It took 20 years but he brought it to the screen.
"Red Tails" is the true story of the first all-Black flight squadron of WWll. It was started after pressure from black newspapers to start the" Tuskegee Airmen Experiment". Because the common belief at that time was that Blacks didn't have the intelligence or bravery to pilot planes and to be of any help to the War effort. The experiment was actually set up to to prove the government right, they were set up for failure. Lukas felt this story, of heroism, perseverance and heart needed to be told. These men who faced racism at home and abroad,still believed in America.
The filming was reminiscent of the War Reels shown before movies in the 1940's. The acting was admirable. Terence Howard who played Colonel AJ Bullard knocked it out of the park. We were shown small snippets of the pilots lives and personalities, enough to care about their fates. The dogfights were exciting, some edge of your seat aerial stunts.
The story of the Tuskegee Airmen is a huge story "Red Tails " scratched the surface,and I thank them for that, Some critics take umbrage at the depiction of the Black pilots drinking and not following orders. We have to be careful to not Whitewash (Hmmmm) true stories about African-Americans,then it does become cartoonish, The truth is the Tuskegee Airmen were just like all the other regiments, scared boys in their teens and twenties facing death everyday, drinking was a part of life during war. The real Tuskegee Airmen were a part of the project from the beginning. They were happy with the finished product, that is good enough for me. My father served in Korea and WWll, were he still alive I know he would have loved "Red Tails". 
I wish it would have been promoted more for family viewing (13&up) during Winter break. A great history lesson, but I guess the remake of the 3 stooges will sell big in Europe.

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