Armstrong filmmakers purposely obscured American flag


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The filmmakers for the Neil Armstrong biography film, First Man, made a conscious decision to hide or obscure the American flag in certain situations.

This new information has been provided to me by a Washington consultant who, because of his own outrage over their decision to not show the planting of the American flag during the lunar landing, had been given the opportunity to see selected clips from the movie as well as ask questions to the production team.

First Man movie flightsuits, without American flag

According to that meeting, he learned that they had consciously made the decision to either reposition or remove American flags from the blue flight suits that the astronauts wore from day to day so that it would not be visible. The image on the right, from the movie, illustrates this, as the American flag was almost always sewn into the upper left shoulder of these suits.

The filmmakers also purposely repositioned the flag or filmed angles for many scenes that acted to obscure the flag on the astronauts’ white pressure suits.

The reasons the filmmakers gave for doing this was to enhance their foreign ticket sales.

To this I say, baloney. They might have had this financial excuse, but I think this holds little or no weight. By willingly admitting that they hid the flag in this petty way they have confirmed their political agenda, their desire to convince the world that this mission was not an American achievement but a “human achievement.” Both the film’s Canadian star as well as its director have made it clear they have a globalist vision of the Apollo program, and wanted to spread the credit of its achievement to all humanity. Consciously hiding the flag in this small-minded manner demonstrates their political motives.

Moreover, even though the director, Damien Chazelle, might have wanted to focus on “Neil Armstrong’s personal saga and what he may have been thinking and feeling during those famous few hours,” removing or obscuring icons of the United States serves no purpose other than to remove the United States from this decidedly American moment. Showing the flag on the flightsuits and pressure suits does not make this a jingoistic pro-American propaganda film. Nor does it do anything to prevent Chazelle from telling Neil Armstrong’s personal story. In fact, if anything, hiding the flag detracts from that goal, as Armstrong was very much doing this for his country (as numerous people who knew him have said), and to de-emphasize that reality is to rewrite history in a very dishonest way.

The pettiness of this entire action further outrages me. There is no doubt that sales would not have suffered in foreign countries, in the slightest, had the American flag been left where it belonged on these suits, and had been shown appropriately in other scenes. It accomplishes nothing positive for the film. What it does do is tell us what these Hollywood “artists” think of America.

So that there is no misunderstanding, I must add that neither my source nor I have as yet seen the entire film. It is still possible that these criticisms are unfair, and that the filmmakers might have shown the American flag appropriately in other scenes, and might even have shown it prominently.

Nonetheless, what we now know is that these filmmakers did made a conscious effort to rewrite history so that the United States no longer appeared as prominent in these events as it should have. Once again, it appears to me that these Hollywood filmmakers did this to express their disdain, almost hatred, of the United States and all that it stands for.

For this fact alone I think Americans should reconsider spending any of their hard-earned money on seeing this propaganda piece.

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43 comments

  • wodun

    There is no doubt that sales would not have suffered in foreign countries, in the slightest, had the American flag been left where it belonged on these suits

    For a small group of people, hating the USA is in fashion but everyone wants to come to the USA. When they say help sales in other countries, they likely mean China. In that case it isn’t about what the Chinese think but rather what the Communist Party thinks. Just like Google, Twitter, and Facebook will help these Communist countries oppress their people, Hollywood will change and censor movies to make them happy.

    All of these companies will get on a soapbox and complain about how bad the USA is though, disgusting.

  • LJ Fillmon

    In so many words, Hollywood is BS. USN, Retired

  • Col Beausabre

    I call attention to this shot of the Apollo 11 launch and the lettering on the side of the Saturn V

    https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=RA%2f%2f2Z8N&id=5E7EB748A7B5FD69861620FB611C3D578B0FAA1B&thid=OIP.RA__2Z8NtD65Sd2Hm-i-gwHaEo&mediaurl=https%3a%2f%2fwww.surclaro.com%2faddons%2fhd-images%2fapollo11_a.jpeg&exph=1200&expw=1920&q=apollo+11+launch&simid=607998923057268854&selectedIndex=261&ajaxhist=0

    Note that it does NOT say “UN” or “Humanity” – it says “USA”

    When people say the moon landing was a “human achievement” ask them how much their country paid into or donated to the US space program. I will acknowledge that there were tracking stations around the world but my impression is that the US either purchased or leased the property and any foreign nationals at these stations were NASA (ie: US) employees.

    Does any anyone doubt if the Soviets had gotten to the moon first we would see a sequence in this film showing the planting of the Hammer and Sickle on the Moon to a triumphant rendering of the “Internationale”?

  • Well crap. And here I was defending it against our hair-trigger overreaction.
    I had been so looking forward to this movie.

  • Jwing

    Revisionist filmmaking is propaganda. I don’t need this “film” to celebrate the historic achievement only the U.S.A. has succeeded in doing.
    Only in America🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

  • Cotour

    I think that the directors intent and mind set and political philosophy was fairly well diagnosed and dissected in the previous panel on this subject. This is no revelation.

  • Andrew_W

    So after claiming that there was no policy to remove US flags the film makers suddenly turn around and admit all that your admittedly biased source claims. I’m calling B.S. on your sources interpretation of the discussion.

    I’ve had a look at photos of Apollo flight suits, most don’t have the flag on the shoulder, though the shuttle flight suits do.

  • Phill O

    From a Canadian’s perspective, this is appalling! But then I am a conservative who wish credit where credit is due!

  • wayne

    Medium is the Message – Jordan Peterson
    (excerpt)
    https://youtu.be/BRX4q4ZNd3A
    4:01

  • Max

    You can’t except a pre-ordained future that is worse than what you have now or in the past. So they must erase and rewrite the past changing history. (“The jobs are not coming back”, “you did not build that”, “America was never great”)
    Every tyrant or bad idea for a social system must erase the past, to make the good old days into less happy memories. That way your future don’t seem so bad, even though you are in complete misery.
    Turning the Apollo missions into a collective effort Will be more appealing to 90% of our world who believe in the collective. “See, they’re just like us”.
    It would have been better to show that everyone involved in the Apollo mission where first, second, and third generation immigrants from around the world that came to this country to have the opportunity for themselves and their children to make a difference. Coming together, to work together for a common goal despite our differences. This is the model of achievement that all countries could strive for.

    Revising history is a lie that causes division.

    This situation reminds me of an old Ann Rann book called anthem. Where a technological society has been long forgotten after being taken over by communist/socialist.
    “The workers in the common room singing the praises to the 100 scientists who after many years of combined effort, developed the “candle” which lets them see in their rooms after dark. Truly the greatest achievement ever.”
    Like “animal farm”, it teaches lessons that need to be remembered. If you forget history it’s OK. It will be repeated over and over again. At least that’s what the “gods of the copy book headings” say…

  • wayne

    Max-
    good stuff.
    (The Gods of the Copybook Headings has actually been on my mind recently for an unrelated issue.)

    Granted– we haven’t seen this movie. I will however rely on space-cadets and people who know such things, to let me know if patches, flags, equipment, etc. are historically accurate or fantasy-items. This wouldn’t be the first movie subject to such scrutiny.

    This movie completely aside;
    We all know Hollywood has a lefty bias and tilt. We can argue about the extent, but I think that has to be a given. I would maintain they flipped on us in the late 1960’s and it’s been downhill ever since.
    –Not every film is a blatant anti-American diatribe, it’s far more subtle than that.
    Mr. Z has a background in Film in case anyone wasn’t aware.
    Everything you see or don’t see in a film, is the result of intentional effort. *Especially* in a Hollywood movie with any sort of budget. The art director has a whole staff, so they don’t make ridiculous mistakes in sets, props, or backgrounds. Everything else is “art” and that’s highly scripted and mediated to death.
    >Every frame you see, was filmed for a purpose. You see exactly what they want you to see and they try to manipulate you to feel a certain way.

  • Col Beausabre

    Wayne – “The art director has a whole staff, so they don’t make ridiculous mistakes in sets, props, or backgrounds.”

    I refer you ‘The Hollywood History of the World” in which the author dissects the film industry’s historical ouvre. He points out that in the Golden Age, film studios sometimes actually commissioned scholarly research that ended up advancing our knowledge of the period that the film would portray.

    “Novelist, screenwriter, and historian George MacDonald Fraser has written a unique and fascinating survey of how the cinema has portrayed the history of the world. In The Hollywood History of the World, Fraser has divided history into The Seven Ages of Hollywood- from the Ancient World and Tudors and Sea-Dogs to Romance and Royalty and The Violent Century– and shows how, contrary to popular belief, the movies have given us a clear-eyed look at past world events with a scope and perspective not possible in any other medium.”

    https://www.amazon.com/HOLLYWOOD-HISTORY-George-MacDonald-Fraser/dp/0449904385

  • Steven Stein

    I will probably still go see it (matinee!) and I will wear my “I still want to be an astronaut when I grow up” jacket with the big ol’ John Young flag on the sleeve.

  • Edward

    A picture of the three American men of Apollo 11 – wearing their flight suits with American flag patches.

    https://modemworld.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/apollo-11.jpg

    A picture of Neil Armstrong in the LEM after landing on the Moon – and the American flag patch is visible.

    https://i0.wp.com/www.njnnetwork.com/njn/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/Neil-Armstrong-inside-the-LEM-happy.jpg

    We have to wait until the films release to fairly judge it.

  • OM

    “Well crap. And here I was defending it against our hair-trigger overreaction.”

    Why would you call it a “hair-trigger overreaction”? We’re talking about Canada. Canada! These people aren’t even Americans! We’ve got Mexicans to our south and Canadians to our north. I thank God every day that we have water to the east and west.

    BUILD THE WALL! BUILD TWO WALLS!

  • Kirk

    The image on the right, from the movie, illustrates this, as the American flag was almost always sewn into the upper left shoulder of these suits.

    Is that so? An image search finds dozens of photos of those blue Apollo flight suits, none with flags.

    Here is a pre-launch publicity photo of the Apollo 11 crew in blue flight suits, sans flag. (There are plenty of more mundane, less posed photos of Apollo crews in their flagless blue flight suits, but I couldn’t quickly find another one of the Apollo 11 crew with their left arms clearly visible.)

    And as we noted before, the film does show large flags where they belong on the astronaut’s spacesuits as shown in both trailers released so far.

    Perhaps someone will, at some point, find a legitimately missing flag, but after two false alarms, I’ll be suspicious that they didn’t just finally locate an accidental omission.

    I never wore a US flag on any of my uniforms, yet somehow we never forgot who we were fighting for. But then I served in the Navy before the days of camo-envy.

  • Kirk

    Oh no! Here’s Tom Hanks and the rest of the Apollo 13 astronaut cast in blue flight suits without flags where they don’t, historically, belong.

  • m d mill

    I think the filmmakers may have a point.

    What foreign viewer or any Leftist wants to see a big ol’ American flag planting to remind them how incompetant and incapable their “modern” Leftist , Socialist or neo-Fascist controlled society is compared even to the United States of America of 1969.

    In 1969 the United States of America were not just the greatest nation in the world, but the greatest nation in the history of the world. The seemingly impossible Moon landing did not transcend this fact, it was a result of this fact.

  • Andrew_W

    Edward the “flight suits referred to are: “. .the blue flight suits that the astronauts wore from day to day. . .”

  • pzatchok

    I think of it this way.

    And some may not like or agree with it.

    But NASA at the time was very very conscious of public relations and image. They would never have missed a chance to put the flag out where the public would see it.

    I could see NASA not putting the flag on day to day uniforms but ONLY if they would NEVER be seen by the public. And obviously NEVER filmed.

    But they NEVER would have placed a name tag on a uniform and not placed the NASA logo and US flag also on it.
    Whats the use? Your sending the thing out to the seamstress anyways, just have her/him put the rest of the patches on at the same time.

  • Edward

    Andrew_W , I sit corrected in my flight suit of cargo shorts and T-Shirt.

  • Andrew_W

    Andi, the pressure suits shown in the movie trailers also show the flag on the left shoulder.

  • Andrew_W

    Edward, I agree “flight suit” is a misnomer for the blue casual uniform outfit things, but that’s the outfit the argument seems to be centered on.

  • Kirk

    pzatchok, your theory is contradicted by photographs of the era.

    Here is a photo of the Apollo 13 crew at a very public ceremony in Honolulu, having just received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Richard Nixon, while wearing their blue flight suits with NASA and mission patches, but without flags.

  • Kirk: I think you are missing the point. Of course you can find examples where the flag was not on the casual flight suits. The point however is not that it wasn’t sometimes there.

    The point is that the filmmakers admitted openly to my source that they consciously choose not to show it, to remove it or shift it so it would not be seen, or to pick angles that would hide it.

    Making a film of a major event like Neil Armstrong’s life requires editing. They can’t show everything. However, it would have cost them nothing in time or story-telling to include the flag on those uniforms, since it was more often than not put there, prominently. (You can cite as many examples as you like of moments when the flag was not on a flight suit, but I can match you with far more examples where it was there.)

    Their choice reveals their political bias. They did not wish to give the United States the credit it deserves for the mission. They wished to de-emphasize it. They might offer financial excuses for this decision, but the statements about the film from both the star and the director make it clear that they had ideological reasons for doing so. And I think those ideological reasons dominated, based not simply on this film but from endless examples from Hollywood, academia, and the entire dominant leftist culture. You don’t have to dig far to find that hostility to America among this elitist culture. I myself have lived with it my entire life.

    Unfortunately, too many Americans will not admit to this hostility, even as we watch it daily in numerous venues (from football to television to movies to Congress). There is a strong movement today in the culture to denigrate and slander the reputation of the United States. While First Man might be a relatively mild example of this hostility, it is still part of it. And for this reason I think Americans should have second thoughts about going to see it.

  • Kirk

    Here is a still from the film showing the Apollo 11 crew in their A7L pressure suits, with prominent American flags on their left shoulders.

  • Kirk

    Bob> The point however is not that it wasn’t sometimes there.

    Bob, I’m not saying that you can occasionally find photos where there happened not to be a flag on an Apollo era blue NASA flight suit. I’m saying that I haven’t so far been able to find a single photo showing a such a suit with a flag. Your source looses credibility by saying that he “learned that they had consciously made the decision to either reposition or remove American flags from the blue flight suits that the astronauts wore from day to day so that it would not be visible.” when the flags were not there historically to be removed.

    I’m open to more evidence, but as far as I can tell at this point, it was just an issue of Ryan Gosling putting his foot in his mouth … almost as far in as General Bolden did during his Al Jazeera interview.

    Even if it turns out that there was some flag hiding, it is irresponsible to use bogus evidence to advance your point. As far as I can tell, you and your source are the ones rewriting history (presumably accidentally, though your source certainly owed it to you to verify his facts) by suggesting that flags were worn on the Apollo era flight suits when they weren’t. Look at pzatchok’s comment above, making a philosophical argument as to why something was the case when all evidence points to the opposite being true. It is as if your source holds the same misconceptions.

  • Kirk

    Found one! Here is a publicity photo of the Apollo 7 crew in blue flight suits with flags on their right shoulder. I hate the phrase “the exception proves the rule”, but flagged blue NASA flight suits very much seem to be the exception during the Apollo era.

  • Kirk: My source is a former military Air Force pilot with lots of experience. He knows whereof he speaks.

    I also have searched the web and have found images with the flag on the flight suits.

    Regardless, the point remains: The filmmakers admitted they made a conscious effort to hide the flag. This tells us something about them.

  • Kirk

    Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys (AKA October Sky) wrote an op-ed on the subject: The new Neil Armstrong movie is about more than the lunar flag-planting.

  • Kirk

    Funny thing. I just ran across this photo, which at first glance I though was Ken Mattingly with a flag on the left shoulder of his flight suit, but is actually shuttle & ISS astronaut Michael López-Alegría … who looks nothing like Ken Mattingly but does resemble Gary Sinise who played Mattingly in the Apollo 13 film. Ha! So much for separating fact from fiction.

    Bob> I also have searched the web and have found images with the flag on the flight suits.

    I bow in recognition of your google-fu. You don’t owe me anything here, but I’d really appreciate a link to any photo of an Apollo era flagged flight suit other than the various Apollo 7 publicity shots with the right shoulder flag.

  • Orion314

    Hollywood, land of pedos , cannibals and commies, Don’t look for any patriots. They are long gone.

  • Edward

    Does “First Man” show ONE flag, the flag of the United States of America, being planted into the Lunar surface and later saluted by American astronauts wearing pressure suits with American flag patches?

  • Edward

    Once again, the comments by “Edward” above are from a different Edward than the aerospace engineer who has been posting here for a few years. I want to avoid confusion between him and me. Those of you who have been responding to Edward, above, have not been responding to me. This is my first entry in this thread. I am sorry that there is confusion.
    https://behindtheblack.com/behind-the-black/essays-and-commentaries/hollywood-once-again-reveals-its-distaste-for-america/#comment-1058582

    I was always aware that the suits to which Andrew_W referred were not the space suits/pressure suits but the (often) blue Nomex suits that astronauts often wear on the ground, as shown in the photograph in Robert’s post. “Flight suit” is not a misnomer for the blue casual uniform outfits; it is the actual name of the Nomex suit.

    I am still uncertain how to distinguish myself from the other Edward. I do not want anyone to think that he is me or speaks for me.

    Edward (the other one) wrote: “We have to wait until the films release to fairly judge it.

    I (the engineer Edward) am not judging the film. I am commenting upon the filmmakers’ comments on their intention of this film. Whether or not the flag is displayed in some locations is not as important as what they said they intended by including some scenes and omitting other scenes or that they wish to present what Armstrong may have been thinking — as opposed to what he has said that he was thinking — while he was alone on the surface.

    Max wrote: “Turning the Apollo missions into a collective effort Will be more appealing to 90% of our world who believe in the collective. ‘See, they’re just like us’. It would have been better to show that everyone involved in the Apollo mission where first, second, and third generation immigrants from around the world that came to this country to have the opportunity for themselves and their children to make a difference. Coming together, to work together for a common goal despite our differences. This is the model of achievement that all countries could strive for.

    I suspect that the filmmakers fear that Americans think that we are better than the people of everywhere else. However, we are taught early and often that We the People are not better than everyone else. We the People cannot be better than everyone else, because we have come from everywhere else — We are everyone else.

    So if it isn’t the people who are better then it must be the system of governance that is better. It must be the American way that is better.

    wayne wrote: “Granted– we haven’t seen this movie. I will however rely on space-cadets and people who know such things, to let me know if patches, flags, equipment, etc. are historically accurate or fantasy-items.

    I am not depending upon the content of this movie for my opinions but on the content of the filmmakers’ comments on their intentions for this movie. It does not matter what flags they displayed or where, it matters that they left off important aspects of Apollo and Armstrong in order to — as they stated — make the Apollo project a human achievement rather than the American achievement that it is.

    They intended to downplay the importance to the world of America’s influence and leadership — through technical superiority — and to make it seem that the world is just as exceptional and ingenious as America is. America took leadership in space away from the Soviet Union, and for the rest of the Soviet’s existence there was a competition for that leadership and for the demonstration of governance superiority. It merely moved away from reaching the Moon and moved to the building and operation of space stations — Kennedy’s alternate option, and the Soviets’ strength — for gaining American leadership in space and prestige on the ground.

    To the filmmakers, it is not important that a free market capitalist system was able to achieve what the rival socialist/communist/Marxist systems could not — as m d mill pointed out, above, and as Kennedy and America intended to prove. The filmmakers are willing to give equal credit to the systems that they favor over capitalism. (And like the proud-to-be-hypocrites that they are, they are willing to accept the profits that they make rather than distribute them per Marxist theory).

    This is why I do not support these filmmakers in their endeavor. I disagree with their endeavor.

    Kirk,

    Thank you for the link to the nice essay. I do not know why anyone would think that planting the flag would diminish “what was otherwise indisputably a triumph of American values and ideals, not to mention a demonstration of our technical superiority over our great adversary, the Soviet Union,” but that is the author’s claimed argument of the time. The planting of a flag is a centuries-old tradition that shows the world who the victor is, and showing U.S. victory was the point of the Apollo exercise. That would be why Congress directed NASA to put up the flag.

    Neither the Chinese nor the Russians are claiming that either of their next space stations are not theirs but are humanity’s achievements. Ryan Gosling and Damien Chazelle may not, but those countries do know the importance of demonstrating their governance system’s technical ability and political will.

  • To the “other” Edward: Nicely put. We also must place this film in the context of today’s Hollywood/intellectual/academic culture, which generally despises America and its free, capitalist system based on individuality, personal responsibility, and freedom. First Man might only mildly reflect that Hollywood culture, but the evidence says it belongs to it, hook, line, and sinker. And it is time that those who disagree with that leftist culture stop giving them money.

  • OM

    NASAWatch says people who think there is a conspiracy by leftist liberal Hollywood fascists are nuts.

  • OM: Yup, you want more Trump, this is how you get more Trump. Rather than raise valid questions and debate points, which I readily admit can be made on this topic at this point and as several commenters have done here at BtB, Keith Cowing calls people names. That’s sure a viable debate technique, and perfect for persuading people.

  • Edward_2

    I’m willing to be Edward_2 from now on.

    Any post under “Edward” over the past week that was relatively short, less than 10 lines, is probably mine.

  • wayne

    Edward_2:
    Cool. appreciate the effort!

    anecdotally related–
    I was grazing old NASA video this morning (at YouTube) and saw 2 pre-roll adverts for First Man, 15 seconds, 2 different versions, no flag.

    (no unicorns either, just sayin’ ….not making a judgement.)

  • Daniel Peters

    Obscuring the United States flag is an evermore bizarre manifestation of presidential wanabee Elizabeth Warren’s “You didn’t build that” motto of Liberal’s Worldwide.

  • Cotour

    Related: Love of what Mr. Kapernick?

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2018/09/09/nfl-player-protests-kneel-anthem-kenny-stills-albert-wilson/1248376002/

    I am regretful that I have no Nike sneakers or other apparel to cut in half and send back to the company to properly provide the feed back that they so desperately need.

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