The Fighting 69th
I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day this year recovering from illness. So for awhile I set back and watched a movie from the 1940’s called the Fighting 69th. It was a patriotic movie starring James Cagney, Pat O’Brien, and Alan Hale among others. As I sat and watched the movie, I was moved to tears several times, not only because of what was happening on the screen, but also because of what I was realizing during the process of watching the movie. The truth is most of Hollywood has forgotten what movie making should be all about, and have instead chosen to make movies promoting their own perversions and folly.
The movie portrayed some of the facts of history. The role that the Irish immigrants had played in the Civil War was mentioned. The difficulties of forming a combined “rainbow division” in World War I was touched upon, and the opportunity was used for a stirring speech for unity against a common foe. In the movie that was intended to move audiences to feel and support the need for common unity against the foe in World War II. The reason Hollywood cannot make such a movie today? One they are concerned with the international market, and two they have no loyalty to the country in which they work and make a living.
We might be inclined to ask at this point in time if only Mel Gibson can make a movie that appeals to what people really want to see? He has now made a movie that has helped to heal a lot of wounded hearts over Vietnam and another that has moved people spiritually. Like Gibson’s Passion, the Fighting 69th movie is unabashedly Catholic. It contains underlying themes like that of a man, James Cagney as Jerry Plunkett, recovering his lost faith. It deals with such realities as what it is to experience fear under fire. Things that are a part of what people need and want in their lives whether they have to deal with the challenge of an implacable foe or the day to day problems one meets in living in a difficult world.
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