Johnny Got His Gun (film)

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Johnny Got His Gun
Directed byDalton Trumbo
Produced byBruce Campbell
Written byDalton Trumbo
StarringTimothy Bottoms
Jason Robards
Donald Sutherland
Diane Varsi
Kathy Fields
Music byJerry Fielding
CinematographyJules Brenner
Distributed byCinemation Industries
Release date(s)1971
Running time111 min.
CountryUnited States
 
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Johnny Got His Gun
Directed byDalton Trumbo
Produced byBruce Campbell
Written byDalton Trumbo
StarringTimothy Bottoms
Jason Robards
Donald Sutherland
Diane Varsi
Kathy Fields
Music byJerry Fielding
CinematographyJules Brenner
Distributed byCinemation Industries
Release date(s)1971
Running time111 min.
CountryUnited States

Johnny Got His Gun is a 1971 anti-war film based on the novel of the same name written and directed by Dalton Trumbo and starring Timothy Bottoms, Jason Robards and Donald Sutherland with Diane Varsi. The film was released on DVD in the U.S on April 28, 2009 via Shout! Factory with special features.

Contents

Synopsis

Joe Bonham (Bottoms), a young American soldier hit by an artillery shell during World War I, lies in a hospital bed. He is a quadruple amputee who has also lost his eyes, ears, mouth and nose. He remains conscious and able to reason, however, rendering him a prisoner in his own body. As he drifts between reality and fantasy, he remembers his old life with his family and girlfriend (Kathy Fields). He also forms a bond, of sorts, with a young nurse (Diane Varsi) who senses his plight.

At the end of the film, Joe tries to communicate to his doctors, via Morse code, and wishes for the Army to either put him in a glass coffin in a freak show as a demonstration of the horrors of war, or kill him. In the end, however, he realizes that the Army will grant neither wish, and will leave him in a state of living death.

In the film's climax, his nurse attempts to euthanize him by clamping his breathing tube, but her supervisor stops her before Joe can succumb. This does not occur in the novel. The film ends with Joe weakly chanting "S.O.S. Help me."

Cast

Timothy Bottoms ... Joe Bonham
Kathy Fields ... Kareen
Marsha Hunt ... Joe's Mother
Jason Robards ... Joe's Father
Donald Sutherland ... Christ
Charles McGraw ... Mike Burkeman
Sandy Brown Wyeth ... Lucky
Don 'Red' Barry ... Jody Simmons (billed as Donald Barry)

Production

The film is well known for distinguishing between Joe's reality and fantasy with black and white for the hospital, and color for his dreams and memories. His dreams are drug induced, as when he talks to his dead father and Christ, with the color being saturated. His memories are in a clearer color, such as the fishing trip and his last night with Kareen. Joe's face is never seen in the hospital scenes, and his missing limbs are covered by hospital sheets.

Reception

The film was entered into the 1971 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Grand Prix Spécial du Jury and the FIPRESCI Prize.[1]

Popular culture

The music video for Metallica's 1988 song "One", featured excerpts from the film. Excerpts from the film can also be heard in the first part of the DJ Shadow EP What Does Your Soul Look Like?

References

External links

1971 film
2008 film
Awards
Preceded by
Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion
Grand Prix Spécial du Jury, Cannes
1970
tied with Taking Off
Succeeded by
Solaris