KAMIKAZE

A place for Sladists to share their thoughts on Michael Slade and his work...

Postby slyragz » Wed May 31, 2006 3:59 pm

Hey, the truth hurts. No one likes to hurt. Ok, some people do, but that's an entirely different subject.

That you, Slade, or anyone is honest and well-informed about history or current events, and make your point supported by facts (what did I say about truth and facts?) -- that's as it should be and no one should have to apologize for what they believe and how they feel about an issue.

Me burning a Slade book would be like the president not ending with God Bless America - not likely to happen...ever.

Do you ever ask yourselves if you could have the conversations we have here about these same topics with people in your everyday lives and not end up with a black eye?

So I get aggravated every once in awhile. If I knew what someone posted to be absolutely untrue or so incredibly skewed, it wouldn't bother me at all, but because I recognize the truth of the poster's comments, it matters and I can't not think about it.
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Postby TBLightning492 » Wed May 31, 2006 4:39 pm

WaywardSoul wrote:TB: High Plains Drifter is my all-time favorite Western. From your synopsis, I believe you're actually missing a key element of that movie.

Watch again, closely.
In this case, The Man with No Name is actually a spirit back from the dead to take revenge on his killers and the townspeople who stood by and let him die.


Whenever I watch that movie I always debate that with myself. To me it seemed as though the stranger's origin could go in either direction. There's enough hints towards the end, however, especially when he rides past the grave marker - no longer an unmarked spot - and then disappears into the desert.

Occam's Razor would point towards the spirit, though, wouldn't it?

Slade wrote:TB,

Good to see you back. It's Stanley Cup time. And in case I haven't said it, your Special X image - the badge, the hat, the tunic, the boots - replaced Stonehenge as my desktop picture. It now puts me in the mood each day before I write.


Thank you. It's good to be back. I'm glad I could help find a muse of sorts for you.
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Postby Slade » Wed May 31, 2006 6:16 pm

In case you haven't heard it - the joke does go back to 1960s or earlier - the original form is this:

Lone Ranger: "Tonto! We're surrounded by hostile Indians!"
Tonto: "What you mean WE, paleface?"

Raasnio,

You made an interesting comment a while back about the civilian deaths caused by dropping the atomic bomb. It was along the line of, "How does someone live with that level of guilt?" What fascinates me is that the crew of the Enola Gay didn't know what they were carrying until the mission was well underway. Later, as they circled the 60,000 foot-high mushroom cloud at 30,000 feet, one of them recorded, "My God, what have we done!"

Apart from the issue of whether it had to be done, imagine waking up every morning for the rest of your life, and in that moment of limbic weakness before self-control kicks in, thinking, "Two-thirds of those I fried alive were civilians."

My memories of my dad are sketchy at best. But I do recall him talking about the war with an army man who had been wounded by a grenade and lived across the street. I was then younger than eight. What my dad said was something like, "The toughest thing I ever had to do was bomb the troops on the road retreating from El Alamein. I know they wouldn't surrender, but it still bothers me."

Slyragz, in that LIFE book about WWII, there's an aerial photograph of the retreat on the road taken at the Halfaya Pass. If you go to the Slade Website, click the link under the SWASTIKA gun barrel cover and scroll down to the last Flying Log page, you'll find it.

KAMIKAZE is a very different book than SWASTIKA. True, it too is backed by a conspiracy, but unlike the Von Braun affair - "How dare you question the whitewashing of an American hero" - all the facts behind the controversy are out in the open.

The set-up is this:

The Hetts are one of America’s warrior families. Their bloodline goes back to the Revolution, when Jerome Hett fought the Redcoats at the Battle of New Orleans. Since then, every generation of Hetts has engaged in war, Joe in the Pacific theater of WWII, and Chuck in Vietnam. Only with Jackie has the cycle been broken, due to the quirk of where she was born under premature labor.

Luckily, the Pacific War Vets Convention is being held in Vancouver. The keynote speaker will be Joe, one of the crewmen in the Enola Gay. Joe - like my dad - did what he was sent to do, but from "the other guy's point of view," it's a different story. The lust for revenge has festered for a long, looooong time, and that screech of tires you hear came from the airport, where a plane just landed from Japan.

When Mickey Spillane came back from the war he threw his rage into a hard-hitting character named Mike Hammer, and one of the books was VENGEANCE IS MINE. See the cover tag on NAL's KAMIKAZE: Vengeance is theirs.

The reason why Joe's the keynote speaker is because he was caught up in both bookends of the Pacific War.

So, where do we start the novel?

Where else?

ZERO HOUR

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
December 7, 1941

Like a swarm of hornets buzzing in from the north, the Japanese planes dove out of a Sunday morning sky to bomb and then strafe the hangars and aircraft that lined the bottom edge of the A-shaped runways at Hickam Field...


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Postby WaywardSoul » Wed May 31, 2006 7:00 pm

TB, Eastwood himself has said that the stranger in HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER was originaly written to be the murdered Marshal Duncan's brother, but he decided to play him as an apparation instead, because he thought that was more interesting than another relative seeking revenge story.

For whatever reason, in the German dubbed version of the movie, the stranger identifies himself as the Marshal's brother, before riding away, at the movie's end.

Slade, with every tidbit you reveal about KAMIKAZE, the anticipation grows!
Come on, November!
"Remember, there's a big difference between kneeling down and bending over." - Frank Zappa
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Postby Slade » Wed May 31, 2006 11:23 pm

MM,

Here's another piece of the Big Bang puzzle. You wrote:

I'm curious to know when Truman uttered those words. Regardless, he came into the presidency fair and square, and if the newshounds of the time couldn't sniff out his stance, or if his stance didn't matter because enough people shared Truman's views, then he was simply a man of his time and country.

One thing I learned a long time ago is never discuss presidential politics with an American. You'll get creamed every time because those Stars and Stripes cousins grow up on the stuff. It must be an essential ingredient in Mom's apple pie.

Luckily for me, the key to the puzzle of why the bomb went BANG doesn't lie in that area where I fear to tread.

Where does it lie, you ask?

In vice presidential politics, MM.

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Postby MarylandManson » Thu Jun 01, 2006 1:56 am

Slade, I'm no scholar of political meat and potatoes. One of the great things about a Slade novel is that not only do the historical tidbits stem from voracious reserach, they come from an "outside" perspective where America is concerned. Sometimes that viewpoint clarifies things in a way that an "insider" doesn't necessarily see...without help, that is.

I've been anxious to see what you had on Truman since you dangled a clue back in 2004. As KAMIKAZE approaches, I'm digging into Truman for the first time.

A week ago I had never heard of Boss Tom Pendergast, nor could I have wondered about whether some of the money saved by the Truman Committee's efforts got funneled--without Harry's knowledge?--to the Manhattan Project.

Fun! MM
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Postby Slade » Thu Jun 01, 2006 3:25 am

MM,

Have you seen THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI yet?

Since you might need a prod, I'll post this to entice you. It's more fun if you don't know the plot, but some guys have to pushed into the deep end of the pool...for their own good.

http://www.film.u-net.com/Movies/Review ... _Kwai.html

If you got struck by a car tomorrow and raasnio were to say, "Did you hear what happened to MM?", my reply would be, "Tsk. Tsk. The poor sod never saw BOTRK."

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Postby TBLightning492 » Thu Jun 01, 2006 4:23 am

WaywardSoul wrote:TB, Eastwood himself has said that the stranger in HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER was originaly written to be the murdered Marshal Duncan's brother, but he decided to play him as an apparation instead, because he thought that was more interesting than another relative seeking revenge story.


I feel like such a dunce to have not really given the ghost angle much thought. I always thought that maybe it was being suggested as a possibility, but never really fact. I guess I was wrong.

Slade, my thoughts are centered on Kamikaze. Not only am I curious to see where the events in Swastika eventually lead to, I'm curious to learn about WWII Part Two: The Pacific theater. My grandfather served in the Navy, doing his tour over in the island-hopping mania that was the War in the Pacific, but alas, it's a part of history that I don't know enough about. His stories were always of events away from the big battles (incidents during shore leave and similar topics), and he never liked to speak of what went on while he was on duty.

And I, too, have never seen Bridge on the River Kwai.

I suppose I'm going to be making a trip to Best Buy this weekend to purchase it.

Can anyone suggest any other titles that would be fitting as a warm up to Kamikaze?
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Postby TBLightning492 » Thu Jun 01, 2006 4:28 am

Oh, and Wayward: I forgot to mention that the new avatar is great!

Have you seen the Avengers animated movie that came out a few months ago? It's worth a look. Great animation, good plot, excellent voice acting...and Iron Man's still a complete jerk.

Plus it starts off with a German rocket.

Slade, as a fan of the golden and silver age of comics, you would enjoy it as well.
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Postby Slade » Thu Jun 01, 2006 6:43 am

TB,

A lot of movies don't stand up over time, but that one sure does. The fun is to identify with Shears, the one American in the camp, who just wants to get out of there alive, get laid, and get home. And he finds himself caught between the vise plates of a titanic struggle between the Japanese colonel controlling the camp and driven by bushido, and the stiff upper lip British colonel with a swagger stick under one arm and a copy of the Geneva Convention under the other.

What makes it fascinating is that the story was written with a foreign eye by a Frenchman (same guy who did PLANET OF THE APES) who has no stake in the rah-rah of British Imperialism.

I assume you've seen LAWRENCE OF ARABIA? If not, you'll learn a lot about what's going in the world today from that...and about one of the most intriguing men of the 20th Century.

And then there's DAS BOOT. Make sure you get the recent Director's Cut. And that all three movies are in letterbox.

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Postby MarylandManson » Thu Jun 01, 2006 3:08 pm

Slade wrote:If you got struck by a car tomorrow and raasnio were to say, "Did you hear what happened to MM?", my reply would be, "Tsk. Tsk. The poor sod never saw BOTRK."


Slade, how about the headstone inscription?

"Here lies MM, struck down by a car in front of the video rental store while trying to decide whether he should first watch BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI or TRAINING DAY or a double bill of THE BADGE and IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT or BLACK HAWK DOWN or MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE EARTH or the first series of CRACKER, which ironically was available at the poor sod's local library branch."

Rather lengthy, but fitting. I'll track down KWAI this weekend.

By the way, here's an interesting tidbit about "mokusatsu," the response from Japan's premier Suzuki after the Potsdam Declaration:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mokusatsu

I doubt that the decision to drop the bomb hinged on an interpretation of "contemptuous silence" that might really have been intended as a "no comment," but it's still odd to think that any such momentous decision could be influenced by the misinterpretation of ambiguous language.

Cheers! MM
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Postby Slade » Thu Jun 01, 2006 6:03 pm

MM and TB,

The one we're waiting for, of course, is this:

http://www.the-pacific-war.com/

And this, too, has potential, because it's Iwo Jima. Normally, I would fear a dose of rah-rah stuff, but with all the reading and watching I've recently done on that beach head, yikes! That's the battle I was going to write into KAMIKAZE, but for obvious reasons, chose Okinawa instead:

http://www.flagsofourfathers.net/

TB,

If your granddad doesn't talk of the war, just ask him where he landed, and once you have the islands, you'll find more than enough information to inform you what he went through.

Another must-see movie is PATTON. Now there was an enigmatic, ultra-courageous, infuriating, volatile figure if ever there was one. When my dad was chasing the Afrika Korps across Africa - what Montgomery called "crumbling" - Operation Torch saw those pearl-handled revolvers waiting for the Fox.

ROMMEL...now there's a movie just waiting to be made. As Churchill said of him after the Fall of Tobruk: "We have a very daring and skillful opponent against us, and, may I say across the havoc of war, a great General."

And ENEMY AT THE GATES. Ed Harris is great as the German sniper, and it gives us some idea of what it must have been like to be embroiled in the most cataclismic battle in the history of the world.

As for you, MM: Be careful! Watch all that logjam at one time and your headstone will read: "Here lies MM. The poor sod thought he could eat a hundred Ritz desserts in a row."

Slade

p.s. TB, you have seen BAND OF BROTHERS?
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Postby TBLightning492 » Fri Jun 02, 2006 3:13 am

MarylandManson wrote:"Here lies MM, struck down by a car in front of the video rental store while trying to decide whether he should first watch BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI or TRAINING DAY or a double bill of THE BADGE and IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT or BLACK HAWK DOWN or MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE EARTH or the first series of CRACKER, which ironically was available at the poor sod's local library branch."


Are we talking the English or American version of Cracker? I've never seen the American version, but the UK one is really good television.

Slade wrote:And ENEMY AT THE GATES. Ed Harris is great as the German sniper, and it gives us some idea of what it must have been like to be embroiled in the most cataclismic battle in the history of the world.


That is a really good movie - made better by the fact that there are so many British actors in the movie attempting to pull of Russian accents. The best performance has to be Bob Hoskins as Nikita Khrushchev. Yet another movie where Ron Perlman is wearing some sort of facial or dental prosthetic. Perlman could be the Lon Chaney of this generation of Hollywood.

Slade wrote:TB, you have seen BAND OF BROTHERS?


I did, and it was well worth the time invested in front of the television. Talk about an amazing marathon viewing of dramatic television. From the first episode I was hooked.
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Postby Slade » Fri Jun 02, 2006 3:54 am

TB,

Here's something I forgot to mention about THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI. A Frenchman takes a jaundiced look at "the thin red line." Then the screenplay gets written by two blacklisted Americans:

Michael Wilson: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0933858/

He also did LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE!!

Carl Foreman: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0286025/

He also did HIGH NOON!!

Then it goes to David Lean - an Englishman - to direct the "foreigners'" take.

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Postby TBLightning492 » Fri Jun 02, 2006 4:16 am

Foreman also wrote Force 10 From Navarone (as well as The Guns of Navarone), starring one of my favorite actors, Robert Shaw. Battle of Britain and Battle of the Bulge were both required viewing prior to the release of Swastika.

And if I'm not mistaken, Shaw killed Bond at the beginning of From Russia With Love.

Well, someone wearing a Bond mask, anyway.

"So, eleven hundred men went into the water. 316 men came out, the sharks took the rest, June the 29th, 1945. Anyway, we delivered the bomb."

Robert Shaw, what an actor. Wait...Foreman, Wilson; that's where the post started...oh, how I can get sidetracked. Tomorrow I purchase Bridge on the River Kwai.
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