Johnny Got His Gun

Johnny Got His Gun

4.0 3
Director: Dalton Trumbo

Cast: Dalton Trumbo, Milton Barnes, Craig Bovia, Peter Brocco

     
 

Dalton Trumbo was one of Hollywood's most successful and respected screenwriters, but he was also a committed political activist -- his leftist views led to him being blacklisted during the "Red Scare" of the 1950s -- and in 1938 he wrote an impassioned anti-war novel, Johnny Got His Gun, that was a major critical success. In 1971, Trumbo hade his belatedSee more details below

Overview

Dalton Trumbo was one of Hollywood's most successful and respected screenwriters, but he was also a committed political activist -- his leftist views led to him being blacklisted during the "Red Scare" of the 1950s -- and in 1938 he wrote an impassioned anti-war novel, Johnny Got His Gun, that was a major critical success. In 1971, Trumbo hade his belated directorial debut with a screen adaptation of the book, but the film received only a limited release, and it found its widest audience through a most unlikely circumstance -- the heavy metal band Metallica used clips from the movie in the music video for their song about a victim of war, "One." Shout Factory has finally given Johnny Got His Gun its North American video debut with a DVD edition of the picture. Johnny Got Hs Gun has been given a widescreen transfer to disc, letterboxed at 1.85:1 on conventional televisions and enhanced for anamorphic playback on 16x9 monitors, and the image looks just a bit soft, with a muted color palate in the scenes not presented in black and white, suggesting the disc may have been mastered from a PAL video source. However, the transfer was taken from a clean looking print, free of scratches and blemishes, and it's noticeably better than the bootleg videos that have circulated on this title for years (some taken from European VHS copies of the film). The audio is in Dolby Digital Stereo, retaining the film's original monophonic sound mix, and the fidelity is good though not unusually so. The dialogue is in English, with no subtitles or multiple language options. A number of bonus features appear on this release, most notably Dalton Trumbo: Rebel In Hollywood, a documentary which looks in detail at Trumbo's career, his years under the blacklist, and the making of Johnny Got His Gun. Also included is a recent interview with actor Timothy Bottoms about his experiences making the film, an audio-only presentation of a 1940 radio adaptation of the novel featuring the voice of James Cagney, an article on the production from American Cinematographer magazine, the original theatrical trailer, and Metallica's "One" video. If this release of Johnny Got His Gun is a few stops less than perfect, it looks very good if not great and makes an elusive title available in North America at last, and the extras offer a fascinating perspective on its history and production.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Though he wrote the novel in 1939, when Hollywood Ten survivor Dalton Trumbo finally got to transform Johnny Got His Gun (1971) into a film, it had become all the more timely. A relentlessly grim antiwar allegory about a World War I soldier left with only his mind intact, Johnny Got His Gun spoke to the Vietnam era disgust with the hollow homilies about democracy and duty that only lead to personal annihilation. Trumbo's thought-provoking message about the deleterious effects of social and military myopia, however, is undermined by his own weaknesses as a first-time director. Though the central black-and-white images of Timothy Bottoms' faceless, armless, and legless Joe carry undeniable power, underscored by a padre's well-spoken assessment of the military's dehumanizing don't ask/don't tell attitude, Joe's color flashbacks and fantasies are a muddled, pretentious mess. The performances, including Jason Robards as Joe's father, Donald Sutherland as Jesus Christ, and Kathy Fields as The Girl, are similarly a mix of touching emotion and stilted theatrics. Regardless, Johnny Got His Gun won a prize at Cannes and remains a strikingly antiestablishment document. Health problems prevented Trumbo from directing again before he died in 1976.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/28/2009
UPC:
0826663113129
Original Release:
1971
Rating:
R
Source:
Shout Factory
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:46:00
Sales rank:
13,873

Special Features

Closed Caption; ; Dalton Trumbo: Rebel In Hollywood; New interview with Timothy Bottoms; Metallica Music Video "One"; Rare behind-the scenes footage with Commentary by Timohty Bottoms and Director Of Photography Jules Brenner; 1940 Radio Adaptation of Johnny Got His Gun starring James Cagney; Johnny Got His Gun Article from American Cinematographer (1971); Original Theatrical Trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Milton Barnes Reader
Craig Bovia Little Guy
Peter Brocco Ancient Prelate
Judy Howard Chaikin Bakery Girl
Eric Christmas Cpl. Timlon
Timothy Bottoms Johnny
Ken Clark Hospital Official
Robert Cole Orator
Maurice Dallimore British Colonel
Robert Easton Actor
Anthony Geary Actor
Ed Gilbert Priest
Ben Hammer Doctor
Wayne Heffley Captain
Joseph Kaufmann Rudy
Kerry MacLane Joe at 10
William Mims Gentleman
Byron Morrow Brigadier General
Alice Nunn Actor
Marge Redmond Actor
Jodean Russo Nurse
David Soul Swede
Donald Sutherland "Christ"
Gigi Vorgan Catherine at 13
Bruce Watson Technician
Sandy Wyeth Lucky
Peter Virgo Attendant
Don "Red" Barry Jody Simmons
Kathy Fields The Girl
Eduard Franz Col./Gen. Tillery
Charles McGraw The Girl's Father
Tom Tryon Actor
Marsha Hunt Mother
Diane Varsi Nurse
Jason Robards Father
Jerry Fielding Conductor

Technical Credits
Dalton Trumbo Director,Screenwriter
Jules Brenner Cinematographer
Bruce Post Campbell Producer
William P. Dornisch Editor
Jerry Fielding Score Composer
Harold Michelson Production Designer
Tony Monaco Associate Producer,Casting
Millie Moore Editor
Christopher Trumbo Associate Producer
Theadora Van Runkle Costumes/Costume Designer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Johnny Got His Gun
1. Titles & Credits [2:20]
2. He Lives [3:41]
3. Kareen [11:29]
4. Dark & Still [8:26]
5. Christ [2:55]
6. Help [2:04]
7. Remembering [3:42]
8. Small [3:45]
9. Don't Panic [4:18]
10. Thinking & Dreaming [5:36]
11. Vibrations [3:00]
12. Telling Time [7:06]
13. Pale Moonlight [6:37]
14. Sunlight [5:15]
15. The Pole [5:39]
16. Christmas [7:10]
17. Old Men's Arms [5:52]
18. My Head [8:45]
19. Over & Over Again [7:27]
20. End Credits [1:02]

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