Wednesday, September 24, 2008

'Miracle at St. Anna': All Systems Go

Wassup, Y'all!

Testosterone fueled WWII action? Check. Southside eye-candy for the ladies in the form of Michael Ely, Derek Luke and Laz Alonzo? Check. Good box office cash and critical buzz from his last movie? Check. As previously, reported by ol Ty back in May, all systems are go for Spike Lee's newest movie, 'Miracle at St. Anna' which drops this Friday, September 26th.

In an interesting pre-review of the movie, Roger Ebert spent some time talkin' to Spike about the motivation and history of the movie. Similar to the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, which followed the exploits of the southside 99th Fighter Squadron which eventually joined with the southside 332 Fighter Group in flying highly successful sorties in both the North African and European WWII theaters, Miracle at St. Anna follows the exploits of four southside American soldiers who are part of the Army's all-southside 92nd Infantry Division (aka The Buffalo Soldiers) stationed in Tuscany, Italy during World War II...

Unknown to me in all this is the role former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt had in making it possible for southsiders to even serve in WWII. Apparently, she felt strongly about the issue and spent much of her time lightin' a fire under husband Franklin's a$$ to get him to approve the move. If ever there was a First Lady fit to be President (and this is no crack on Sister Hillary - I'm just sayin') it was Eleanor. Ol girl even put her money where her mouth was by going up in a plane piloted by a Tuskegee Airmen at their Tuskegee, Alabama training field.

Also unknown to me were the details of the opening battle in the movie (a true WWII battle) where the Buffalo Soldiers were crossing the Serchio River and get caught in a cross fire with the Germans on one side and friendly fire from their American comrades on the other side who rained down artillery fire on their position despite being given the proper firing coordinates because the artillary commander didn't believe that a group of southside soldiers could 'advance that far, that fast'. *Sigh* Don't get me started...

One final point that Spike made that made an impression on me was what he considered real patriotism. He said, "I think it takes even more of a patriot to fight when you’re still being lynched in the Jim Crow south. These black men weren’t enlisted, they signed up. You want to fight for the red, white and blue, and most of the black troops were trained in the south. You’re being trained to kill Nazis. On the same base where you’re being trained, you see Nazi POWs who are getting better housing, better food and better health care. Wow, how’d that make you feel?" So it really is more than lapel flag pins and small town values - who knew?

Wow - can't say it better than that. Needless to say, I'll be in the back row with my popcorn and Twizzlers. Drop some ducats on this one, y'all - no bootlegs! Maa fact - you might want to think about gettin' the book and gettin' all the actual factuals on this little known aspect of our history. Just thinkin' out loud on that one, y'all...



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