i’d like to pair a couple of literary classics with a few movies each and i thought i’d turn to the collective expertise of this blog’s writers. the books are the red badge of courage and in cold blood. having just seen stop-loss, i’m intrigued by the two extremely different representations of desertion of red badge and stop-loss. i wonder whether a representation of desertion such as the one that takes place in RB would even be possible in a contemporary movie. apart from the technical difficulties of simply absenting oneself from the battle, it seems to me that our contemporary conception of the war hero is so infused with nationalism and testosterone that one could not conceive of a war movie hero that undergoes the kind of existential transformation henry fleming does. the taint of the original cowardice would be too strong to allow for redemption — yes? one the other hand, henry fleming’s ultimate valor is an entirely personal achievement, unconnected to an esprit de corps that seems so essential to the contemporary war movie (and to contemporary understanding of war psychology). blah blah blah. maybe you have other war movies in mind that would enhance and complicate the themes of RB.
as for in cold blood, the movie that comes to mind first is badlands, for obvious reasons. but i am just in the first few page of CB, so i don’t have much more to add.