Day 53: Johnny Got His Gun (1971)

johnny got his gunFor today’s film, I had always been curious about a certain film that you see in the music video for Metallica’s One (which was also the band’s first music video ever). Ever since I found out the name of the film which is Johnny Got His Gun, I have been meaning to see it and it was directed by Dalton Trumbo, one of the directors who was blacklisted in the 1950’s. Johnny Got His Gun tells the story of soldier Joe Bonham (Timothy Bottoms), a World War 1 soldier who gets hit by an artillery shell in the trenches on the last day of the war. Joe loses both his arms and legs and can no longer speak or see as well. The film tells the tale of how Joe struggles to deal with the situation he is dealt with and he ends up finding a new way to communicate with the doctors. The film also stars Kathy Fields (The Towering Inferno) as Kareen, Jason Robards (Once Upon A Time In The West) as Joe’s father, Donald Sutherland (The Italian Job) as Christ, Charles McGraw (Spartacus) as Mike Burkeman, Don “Red” Barry (Only Angels Have Wings) as Jody Simmons, and Eric Christmas (Harold And Maude) as Corporal Timlon.

jghgThis was an interesting film to say the least and a very interesting story. The film balances between reality and dream when Joe feels certain sensations during the film. We either see a memory like the night before he had to leave to war or a dream where he is talking to Christ who is played by Donald Sutherland. I love the contrast the film has when it goes from reality which is in black and white to his dreams and memories which are in color. It could be symbolism for how the world is just plain black and white while dreams and memories can be colorful. Jason Robards is terrific in the film and really commands the screen as well as Timothy Bottoms who is the star of the film. It’s a different kind of war film because it spends less time in war and more time questioning the moral of the world and the way people thought back then. There is a dream sequence where Joe is asking his father what democracy and his father responds with young men killing each other. The ideals of Americans back then is a lot different than it is today. I never thought they would include any weird scenes in the film, but they have one where a nurse is clearly masturbating the patient who can’t do it for himself. Yeah that is in their, but whatever maybe it was the Florence Nightingale effect. If you want something different than your typical war movie, then check this one out. I am going to give the film an B for a final grade.

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