Part 4 of a series of films made for schools entitled: “War and Society.” (Although this doesn’t actually have a “part” number, it is obviously from the same series as parts 1, 2 and 3 so we have called it Part 4.)
Devised and produced in association with the Schools Council and Nuffield Foundation Humanities Curriculum Project. Editor: Ron Glenister. Research: Charlie Gillett. Producer: Richard Dunn.
The song “Soldier Boy” is played over the opening credits to the film. Then an American soldier speaks of warfare in Vietnam. Various shots of American troops in a Vietnamese village and in combat in the jungle. American soldier commentates on the action. Buildings on fire, helicopters, troops running, firing weapons etc. “All hell broke loose” states the commentator.
Newsreel voiceover speaks of assault close to Saigon – various shots of buildings on fire, troops moving into position, soldier throwing a hand grenade, men firing machine guns, tanks thunder through the streets.
Helicopter and planes in flight, soldiers are lifted from the ground to an aircraft by a line. Shots from within the aircraft. Shots of exhausted soldiers sitting inside the helicopter. Song on the soundtrack is “The Green Berets” possibly by Tex Ritter.
Returned soldiers at a presentation ceremony. Men stand to attention in uniform. Their children are in their best outfits. Medals are awarded. Crowds wait at the docks for a returning warship. C/Us of women waving at the ship. C/Us of children holding balloons. Sailors walk down the gangplank to their waiting wives and families. Men kiss their loved ones. Classic homecoming footage.
Black soldier in combat gear tells the story of how a bullet glanced off his helmet.
In what looks like footage recorded from television a group of returned soldiers sit in civilian clothes and talk about their duties in Vietnam. One man tells dispassionately of how he made Vietnamese people obey orders at gunpoint. These men seem to have been high level intelligence officers, collecting information about the Viet Cong. The man talks about how they would torture people – peeling their skin with bayonets then throwing salt water on their wounds. He also talks about cutting off ears, using tear gas and nerve gas for kicks. He talks about how his Officer was a sadist, shooting Vietnamese with a machine gun then laughing. “For him it was nothing but a Turkey shoot.”
Another soldier talks about military manoeuvres. He seems to be talking about a recent successful ambush. He compares the action to a John Wayne movie – “they just kept charging, they just kept getting killed.” A black soldier in uniform talks of how young Vietnamese boys of 15 or 16 were chained up, they “looked like animals, cattle or something.”
Newsreel report on the action – various shots of army manoeuvres. Trucks filled with men, men in trenches, men moving through the jungle. Harrier bombers being prepared for action. Bombers take off from an aircraft carrier. Aerial shots from cockpit of plane. Bombs are dropped – we see them hit their targets. Several shots of bombs being dropped and hitting the ground.
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British Pathé also represents the Reuters historical collection, which includes more than 136,000 items from the news agencies Gaumont Graphic (1910-1932), Empire News Bulletin (1926-1930), British Paramount (1931-1957), and Gaumont British (1934-1959), as well as Visnews content from 1957 to the end of 1984. All footage can be viewed on the British Pathé website. https://www.britishpathe.com/