Every year, Hollywood producers ask the Pentagon for help in making films, seeking everything from locations and technical advice from Blackhawk helicopters to nuclear-powered submarines.
The military will happily oblige, it says in an army handbook, so long as the movie "aid[s] in the recruiting and retention of personnel."
The producers want to make money; the Defense Department wants to make propaganda. Former Hollywood Reporter staffer Robb explores the conflicts resulting from these negotiations in this illuminating though sometimes tedious study of the military-entertainment complex over the last 50 years. Robb shows how, in the Nicholas Cage film Windtalkers, the Marine Corps strong-armed producers into deleting a scene where a Marine pries gold teeth from a dead Japanese soldier (a historically accurate detail).
At its worst, the author argues, the Pentagon unscrupulously targets children; Robb reveals how the Defense Department helped insert military story lines into the Mickey Mouse Club.
To help, Robb suggests a schedule of uniform fees by which producers could rent aircraft carriers, F-16s & the like. It's an intriguing idea, though producers can go it alone: as Robb points out, blockbusters Forrest Gump, An Officer & a Gentleman & Platoon were all made without military assistance.
studios in the post-Top Gun era instituted an unstated rule telling screenwriters & directors to get military cooperation "or forget about making the picture.", 25 years later, how 'Top Gun' made America love war http://tinyurl.com/3v89xqm -- U.S. Army Commercial Targets PG13 XMen Audience --
The Pentagon Channel presents "The Reel Military. Straight from the war-horses mouth. -- Act Of Valor Film Described As 'Beyond Propaganda' -- Nobel Peace laureates vs NBC scandalous reality show Politics & Hollywood's images are linked. They reinforce one another. Policy enforces mythical images; mythical images help enforce policy.
Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America, has said, quote, "Washington & Hollywood spring from the same DNA," end-quote.