Korean War: The Untold Story (review)
- Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies
- Center for the Study of Film and History
- Volume 19, Number 4, December 1989
- pp. 95-96
- Additional Information
Film Review Korean War: The Untold Story. Written, produced and directed by Carol L. Fleisher, in association with USAA. 1988. Marketed by Pyramid Film & Video, 2801 Colorado Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90404. 34 minutes running time. Cost: $295. The Korean War is the least remembered of the many wars fought by the United States during the twentieth century. Unlike the Vietnam War, which was consciously pushed into the far reaches of the American memory due, in large part, to the national divisiveness which it engendered, the conflict in Korea seems, like General Douglas MacArthur's famous "Old Soldier," to have merely faded away. Korean War: The Untold Story ostensibly seeks to rectify that situation. Certainly there is much that could be highlighted concerning the war: its cause; its place in the formation of U.S. Cold War doctrine; its impact on U.S. society; its relevance in understanding the later U.S. military involvement in Vietnam; and a myriad of other subjects. Unfortunately, this video contents itselfwith repeating some vague generalities about the conflict, showing some rather stock footage, and conducting interviews with four U.S. veterans of the Korean War. There is no background given to the North Korean invasion of South Korea in June 1950; nothing about the internecine border warfare between the two Koreas that had been going on for years; nothing about the regional differences that existed in Korea long before its partitioning in 1945. In addition, no context is given for the U. S. involvement in this conflict. Its centrality in the developing Cold War policies of the United States is ignored. The war itself is covered primarily through a series of interviews with U.S. veterans. The bleak early days of the conflict, the "miracle" at Inchon, the disaster at Choshin Reservoir, and the evacuation ofHungnam are all told in horrifying detail. The video's coverage virtually ends, however, with MacArthur's firing in April 1951. From there, host Loretta Swit skims over the peace negotiations. There is a brief interview with a former P.O.W., some summing up by the veterans, and the film abruptly ends. 95 No one can debate the fact that the veterans' accounts of the war, often in graphic detail, are interesting. Riveting as they sometimes are, however, they are microscopic segments of the war. As a whole, the film really reveals very little about the Korean War. The video's credits list no historical adviser, and this is a problem. There is much that needs to be said about the Korean War, and a brief film such as this would serve well in college classrooms. Korean War: The Untold Story, unfortunately is not that film. Obviously intended by its writer, director, and producer Carol L. Fleisher (in association with USAA, a "Financial Services Institute") as a tribute to the men who fought and died in Korea, the film is almost certain to leave students wondering exactly what their sacrifices meant-then and now. Michael L. Krenn Department ofHistory University ofMiami 96 ...