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Commander and his often more bellicose or supremely self confident subordinates. This flaw, that is relatively pennissible when unconditional military victory can mute the passion of the immediate period, becomes less admissible, when the narrative shifts to domestic and international tensions and conflicts where no such decisive climax occurs. Here the film is not well served by merely picturing a Lee-like "Ike" returning home in 1946, a Shermanesque "Ike" in the same year, or the N.A.T.A. Cincinnatus of 1950. Nor is it a criticism to merely observe that Eisenhower was out of his depth as President of Columbia University. A more precise picture would be of a man of tremendous ambition and a sense of achievement seeking to establish a role for himself in a postwar world torn by international tension between former allies, and a domestic scene inevocably changed by the necessities of social reform. This provides a more meaningful context for an account of the draft and campaign of 1952 then shots of "I Like Ike" signs and the rather rhetorical acceptance and "I will go to Korea" speeches. Perhaps a more compelling picture could have included the dramatic "Checkers'! speech and the "That's My Boy" embrace. This type of vision persists into the narration of the film on the Presidential Years and produces even more distortion. Here a sense of false moral leadership is implied in the critical episodes of McCarthyism and the search for peace. For instance, the film juxtaposes images of Eisenhower making a speech affirming the rights of individuals with the dramatic confrontation of Joseph Welch with Senator Joseph McCarthy at the Army-McCarthy hearings of 1 954. A better sequence that would have captured the real essence of Eisenhower's contribution to the struggle would have been the bureaucratic finesse with which he invoked executive privilege at the hearings and cut McCarthy and his demagogic uninstitutionalized anti-communism off from White House sanction. It is also historically incorrect to picture Eisenhower in the forefront of summitry and the quest for peace when he easily acquiesced to the brinkmanship and apocalyptic anti-communism advocated by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and the CIA's undermining of democratic regimes in Guatemala and Iran. Ifthe question ofmoral leadership is to be raised at all it is best raised, and here the film does work, in the press conferences, long noted for their malapropism, but places where Eisenhower raised a Yeatsian disquiet about a country of increasing alienation and of central verities that no longer held. It is these moments rather than an unrealistic occurred between the Supreme evocation ofmoral leadership that often resurrected interest in the film. If Eisenhower's military and political career are ever to be investigated adequately and rescued from an undeserved historical oblivion it is precision rather than filial piety that is needed. Al Auster (Course: American History Survey) Richmond College, C.U.N.Y. The Land Burns, 1966, 12 minutes, b&w (rent from UCLA Media Library) 21 The marginal life of the rural workers ofNortheastern Brazil is the theme of Raymundo Glayzer's brief documentary The Land Burns. The camera focuses on one family (father, mother, and four children) to present a wealth of detail in their intenelationships, life styles, and dependency on the land. The images reveal that land to be harsh, especially forbidding during the periodic draughts. Bleached cattle bones, dried corn stalks, an empty well warn the family that for the moment they can expect nothing more from the land. Consulting together, the two adults decide to abandon their hut and head for the city in hope of finding salvation there. Meanwhile, the narrator informs the viewer ofthe grim statistics ofmalnutrition and short life expectancy, as well as the lack ofopportunity in the urban areas. The family joins the gathering multitudes flocking to the cities which are ill-prepared to receive them. Clearly the family does not understand the true causes of its plight. They blame the weather: a lack of rain impoverishes the soil. Through symbolism, however, this young Argentine filmmaker puts forth for consideration some more fundamental causes for the misery, causes, which, in fact, might be easier to control than...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9922
Print ISSN
0360-3695
Pages
pp. 21-22
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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