While Hollywood has recently warmed to conservative movies, there is still a dearth of films celebrating the history and spirit of America. As “Courageous,” “Fireproof” and “Act of Valor” recently proved, films that openly espouse traditional values, honor, patriotism, service and sacrifice can be money-printing machines.
The following three plot ideas contain these values in droves and would be a welcome relief from the Hollywood sequel machine.
- “Das Boot USA” – An oft-overlooked aspect of World War II is the contribution of American submariners to victory in the Pacific. Dubbed the “Silent Service,” the United States Navy’s submarine fleet wreaked utter devastation on the Imperial Japanese merchant fleet. Japan’s vast Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere depended upon a robust merchant fleet to transport men, munitions and materiel across thousands of miles of the Pacific Ocean. By the end of the war, American submarines had sent more than 4.7 million tons of merchant shipping to Davy Jones’ Locker and helped ensure the success of the island hopping campaign in the Pacific. Apart from the fanciful U-571, there has not been a big screen tribute to America’s submariners since “Up Periscope” in 1959. Anyone who has ever watched “Das Boot” knows the effects of a tightly woven script combined with superb acting. Hollywood should follow up on “Act of Valor’s” successful portrayal of America’s Silent Professionals and honor the sacrifices and achievements of their brothers in arms – the Silent Service.
- “The Grey Ghost – John Singleton Mosby.” If one were to ask a random passerby on the street to identify him, you’d most likely get a blank stare in return. Mosby, a small-town attorney turned Confederate cavalry officer, became so feared and respected for his partisan operations that an entire section of northern Virginia became known as Mosby’s Confederacy. His hard-hitting units would unite to overwhelm Union forces and then disappear into the Virginia countryside as if an apparition. Still studied today, his exploits tied down vast numbers of Union troops and helped even the numbers between General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac. Although the Civil War may not be the most appealing topic to Hollywood, a movie about Mosby has the makings for a great period piece – plenty of fast paced action, an underdog, and a complicated protagonist who later served the Grant administration in the halls of the Department of Justice and as Consul to Hong Kong.
- “The Flying Tigers” – While George Lucas’ “Red Tails” may not have been a runaway box office success, Hollywood should produce a modern re-telling of the Flying Tigers. After the beginning of hostilities with Japan in 1937, the Chinese Nationalist government turned to a retired US Army Air Force aviator, Captain Claire Chennault, to assemble a force of American flyers and planes to turn back the tide of Japanese aggression. Buoyed by the prospect of fat monthly paychecks and a bounty for every plane shot down, numerous Americans followed Chennault to China and bravely fought against overwhelming odds. Following Pearl Harbor, the group was incorporated into the US Army Air Force. The Flying Tigers, along with their civilian counterparts in the China National Air Corporation, helped keep China’s vital supply lines open and are still remembered fondly in China. Several years ago, a Beijing screening of the vintage John Wayne film “Flying Tigers” received rave reviews from the author’s Chinese roommate. A modern re-telling of the Flying Tigers is unlikely to be produced in Hollywood for several reasons. First, the Flying Tigers were the 1930s and ’40s version of Xe née Blackwater. Second, the film would portray Americans in Chinese as liberators and not rapacious capitalists or Christian missionaries intent on destroying Chinese culture. Finally, Chinese film censors might not allow the film to be distributed in China because it would portray Chiang-Kai Shek and his nationalist forces in a manner inconsistent with official state “history.” Regardless, the brave American and Chinese pilots and flight crew who kept the flame of freedom burning in China would be great subject material for a fast-paced action movie.