FINALLY, AFTER 35-YEARS IN EXILE FTA IS BACK!
EXCLUSIVELY ON DVD
FROM DISPLACED FILMS AND
NEW VIDEO/ DOCURAMA
Starring Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland, Michael Alaimo, Len Chandler,
Holly Near And a Cast of Thousands of antiwar soldiers. 1971�two years after Richard Nixon
had promised to end the Vietnam War, American troops were still fighting and American
warplanes were still bombing North Vietnam relentlessly.
A massive GI Movement to end the war was sweeping through the troops, wreaking havoc
on the U.S. military. Into that mix came The FTA (F*** the Army) Show, a caustic, electrifying, sharply antiwar comedy review led by Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland. As they toured outside military bases from Guam to the Philippines, over 60,000 soldiers cheered and joined the show�s call to end the war. It was an explosive, historical moment never seen before or since.
FTA, Francine Parker�s powerful documentary of the tour, opened in U.S. theaters in 1972, as the Nixon administration was still escalating the war and fighting for its political life at home. After only one week, the film mysteriously disappeared�never to be seen again.
Read what the says about FTA!
Why did FTA disappear 37 years ago? To put it another way, why did a film featuring Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland at the height of their careers, less than a year after their hugely popular film Klute (for which Jane won the Academy Award for Best Actress), suddenly get yanked from theaters after only one week?
The answer lies in the film itself, and the turmoil it revealed. 1972 was no ordinary year. It was the year of Watergate. It was the year of Nixon's horrific, relentless bombing campaign against the people of North Vietnam. And it was the year that the rebellion of soldiers and marines against the Vietnam War spread to the navy and air force. FTA is the film that reveals and revels in that rebellion in a way that no other film did then or had for 35 years, until I made Sir! No Sir!
Francine Parker, who directed FTA, swore to me a couple of years
ago that Sam Arkoff, the enigmatic head of American International Pictures, which was distributing the film, told her he had received a threatening phone call from the White House-and that is why he pulled the film. Is the story true? There's no proof, but I can't think of another reasonable explanation for Sam Arkoff, a man who knew how to wring every penny out of a film, yanking one starring Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland from theaters at a big loss (and, apparently, destroying all of the prints, since none were ever found). And what happened after that certainly gives credence to the story.
With the yanking of FTA, the story of the GI Movement against the Vietnam War was also yanked from public view, and has since been deeply buried under a swath of myths and lies that poured out of a newly "patriotic" Hollywood in the late seventies and early eighties. Rambo was just the tip of the iceberg, as the memory of an illegal, immoral, and hideously deadly war was replaced by Ronald Reagan's declaration that "The antiwar movement betrayed our troops."
I brought back FTA because I want you to see and feel the truth. Sadly, Francine Parker died a year ago, before she could see her film finally get its due. But the film is here. Watch it, and let yourself feel the electricity of that time. More importantly, ask yourself what it is about "then" that feels like "now," that speaks directly to us today. When you listen to Donald Sutherland give his mesmerizing rendition of the soliloquy from Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun, look around you and ask yourself if anything has really changed.
And while you're doing that, enjoy the film. It's a lot of fun.