A movie recommendation on MLK, Jr. Day

16 Jan

Disclaimer: I haven’t seen this movie, but here’s what I know…

Red Tails is about the Tuskegee Airmen, aka the Red Tails, who were the first African-American aviators in US military history. In a military that believed, in the words of WWII Army Air Forces General Henry Arnold, that “Negro pilots cannot be used in our present Air Corps units since this would result in Negro officers serving over white enlisted men creating an impossible social situation,” the segregated fighter group trained and flew with distinction.  According to producer George Lucas, “The Tuskegee Airmen were such superb pilots… They were only in their early 20[‘]s when they performed these amazing feats. They became the best of the best—the top guns.”

This film interests me for its story and for the backstory of how it got made. According to The Root, in an interview with two of the film’s stars:

After being rejected by all seven major Hollywood studios, Lucas decided to pump his own money into producing and promoting Red Tails. “He put his entire career on the line and stood behind these black — these American — pilots,” [actor Terrence] Howard said. “[He] put $58 million into making this movie. And when they said, ‘We don’t know how to market [this film],’ he put [up] another $38 million to distribute it.”

Gooding, who also starred in the 1995 HBO film The Tuskegee Airmen, believes that Lucas’ conceptual approach to depicting the legacy of the Airmen is what differentiates Red Tails from previous films about the black World War II pilots.

“This movie is about the spectacle, about the ability of these pilots,” he said. “During a meeting with businessmen, George Lucas said, ‘I didn’t make this movie for black people; I made this movie for teenage boys'” (http://www.theroot.com/views/cuba-gooding-jr-terrence-howard-laud-airmen?page=0,1).

… Maybe that last thought put you off a little (I’m not exactly the teenage boy demographic myself 🙂 but here’s a clip if you’re still interested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpA6TC0T_Lw

With that, and on recommendation of two friends who have seen the film, I encourage you to check out Red Tails when it opens this Friday.

And peace to you on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

* Thanks to BB and JW for the movie rec.

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