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An evening pause: A fine performance by James Garner from a Paddy Chayefski screenplay. While I agree that putting soldiers on pedestals is often a misplaced emotion that can lead to future unnecessary wars, I do not agree that all war is immoral. There are times, as a last resort, when good people have to stand up and fight, if only to prevent bad people from dominating the battlefield. In 1964, when The Americanization of Emily was released, Americans could be forgiven for being hostile to war. After World War II the country had gotten itself into a string of wars, the goals of all having been poorly considered. It was also a time when evil people were well restrained by our willingness to stand up to them.
Today, our fear and hostility to war is allowing evil to run rampant worldwide. It will very soon descend upon our heads if we do not begin to fight back.
Having said that, this is a fine and thoughtful scene from a fine and thoughtful movie, raising many profound thoughts about the nature and consequences of war. Hat tip to Phil Berardelli, author of Phil’s Favorite 500: Loves of a Moviegoing Lifetime.