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Celebration of Sinatra’s Centennial Continues

by Katelyn Avery

“None But the Brave” (1965) played inside Torp Theater on Nov. 13th as the fourth Classic Friday Films of the fall 2015 semester. Frank Sinatra is the string within these movies, as the semester long event is meant to honor him. This year is especially exciting as December will mark the centennial celebration of the musician’s birth.

The event, hosted by Gilbert Gigliotti, a professor from the Central Connecticut English department, took a different turn with the last film of the semester. In the first three Sinatra had only been an actor, but Gigliotti explained, “It’s the only film that Frank directed, and given that it was made in 1965 (during the escalation of the Vietnam War), it has a very interesting anti-war message.”

The guest speaker was Assistant Professor Lee Einhorn from the English department. His connection to Sinatra was much more than closer to home. It was from home, “My dad and all his friends who were all second fathers to me raised me on him,” added Einhorn.

Movie poster for "None but the Brave." Photo credit: lewiswaynegallery.
Movie poster for “None but the Brave.” Photo credit: lewiswaynegallery.

The film itself is about American and Japanese soldiers during World War II. Through different events on both sides, they are forced to cross paths. Despite the attack America suffered on Pearl Harbor, the film is not meant to demonize the Japanese as one would expect. Instead the audience sees the humanity in both troops. They both suffer a horrible experience, being forced into their country’s war, when they share more similarities than differences. The fighting takes a toll on both troops, even their temporary truce cannot fix everything. It would explain the words that show up at the end of the film, “No one ever wins.”

Within the film a line spoken on the American side by Capt. Dennis Bourke (Clint Walker) could explain why violence would destroy everything, as the final scene includes a shootout between the Americans and the Japanese. “Never swing at your enemy in anger, or you’ll end up getting clobbered,” said Bourke. On the Japanese side Lt. Kuroki (Tatsuya Mihashi) ponders, “Why are we trying to kill each other?”

“This film in particular from Sinatra is, I think one that is most interesting to reflect on,” said Einhorn in his opening speech.

“It’s literally a half Japanese, half American film,” noted Einhorn, as he explained that Sinatra co-produced the film with Japanese Finance series, which also added some style choices to the final product.

In attendance was CCSU freshman Kerra Jackson. When asked why she attended the event, Jackson explained, “Extra credit for theater class.”

Of course school work wasn’t her only motivation, just a plus. Jackson said that she enjoyed old movies, also her theater background probably helped with this.

Among the intimate crowd were Halina and George Popzzak. “We’ve been coming for several years now. We like the old movies,” said Halina. George added, “I enjoy watching his films.”

Movie poster for "None but the Brave." Photo credit: shop.tcm.com
Movie poster for “None but the Brave.” Photo credit: shop.tcm.com

A discussion between the audience, Einhorn and Gigliotti followed the film. The topics ranged from portrayals of the Japanese soldiers, some exaggerated aspects to different characters and the decade it came out in.

Classic Fridays Films are not a new event to CCSU, Gigliotti has hosted them for 12 semesters. He plans to continue showing Sinatra films. When asked about plans for next semester, Gigliotti reported, “I’m hoping to have the schedule finalized by Friday.” At the event, flyers were passed around to preview the spring 2016 semester’s films. All films contained trains in the plot as the main theme.

As for the rest of the fall 2015 semester, a 24-hour Sinatra radio show will be played on 107.7 WFCS New Britain/Hartford on Dec. 12th.