This week’s mystery movie was the 1971 movie Johnny Got His Gun, with Timothy Bottoms, Jason Robards, Kathy Fields, Donald Sutherland, Marsha Hunt, Diane Varsi, Donald Barry, Eric Christmas, Charles McGraw, Eduard Franz, Byron Morrow, Kerry MacLane and Sande Brown Wyeth.
Transportation director Elmore Adams. Looping editor Samuel M. Annis. Assistant art director James Bachman. Assistant editor Elizabeth Buxton. First assistant cameraman Dick Colean. Sound Mixer Hal Etherington.
Property master Stephen Ferry. Negative cutter June Gilham. Costume supervisor James Kessler. Music editor Erma Levin. Production coordinator John Lott. Music mixer Donald Minkler. Sound effects mixer Robert Minkler. Dialogue mixer Howard Wollman.
Set decorators George R. Nelson and Robert Signorelli. Sound effects editor Jim Nelson. Makeup by Phillip Rhodes. Lighting by George Rumanes. Key grip Bud Shindler. Camera operator Robert Touyarot. Script supervisor Marvin Weldon. Special effects Dick Williams.
Medical advisor Dr. Milton Birnbaum. Secretary to the director Deanna Beeler. Still photographer Melissa Campbell. Attorney Aubrey Finn. Assistant casting director Marsha Kleinman. Assistant to the producer Clarke Lindsley. Production secretary Carolyn Newman.
Casting director Tony Monaco. Production consultant Bob Milford. Production secretary Madeline Oolie. Production supervisor James F. Sommers. Set operations Dale Strange. Assistant director Christopher Trumbo. Assistant to the producer Pamela H. Vanneck.
Laboratory Consolidated Film Industries. Set construction Normand Houles Design Arts. Sound recording Glen Glenn Sound Company Producers Sound Service. Post production coordination Kaleidoscope Productions. Main Title Pacific Title.
Production management and consultation International Producers Services.
Associates of the production John Bright, Dorothea Campbell, Gene Frenke, Robert Haggiag, Simon Lazarus and Roy Silver.
Associate producers Tony Monaco and Christopher Trumbo.
Photography by Jules Brenner.
Production designer and art director Harold Michelson.
Costume designer Theadora van Runkle.
Composer and conductor Jerry Fielding.
Supervising editor William P. Dornisch. Editor Millie Moore.
Novel and screenplay by Dalton Trumbo.
Producer Bruce Campbell.
Directed by Dalton Trumbo.
Johnny Got His Gun is available on DVD from Critics’ Choice Videos.
More on the complicated history of the film is available from the AFI catalog.
I picked Johnny Got His Gun as a counterpoint to the standard Fourth of July programming of Yankee Doodle Dandy, 1776 and The Music Man, etc., on TCM, which hasn’t shown the film since 2009, and only twice at that. As an antiwar film, its bleakness and experimental structure surpass such contemporary films as Catch-22 (1970), MASH (1972) and Slaughterhouse Five (1972).
Did Bosley Crowther like it or did he find it pretentious nonsense? Wait, we’re in the Vincent Canby era! What? Roger Greenspun? And wow did he hate the movie! (Aug. 5, 1971)
Johnny Got His Gun, which opened yesterday at the RKO 59th Street Twin Cinemas, was written and directed by Dalton Trumbo, after Mr. Trumbo’s own antiwar novel, originally published in September 1939, almost on the eve of World War II. The story strongly reflects the emotional strategy of the pacifist sentiment between the wars, and in the film makes some effort to re-create not only the intentions, but also the tone of that strategy.
The hero of Johnny Got His Gun, whose name is Joe, is an American soldier who on the last day of World War I, has his arms, his legs and his face blown off by an artillery shell. nevertheless, he survives and as a medical curiosity, he is kept alive beneath sheets and a gauze mask by doctors who believe that his brain is so damaged as to render him a living vegetable. They are wrong, however. Joe both feels and remembers, and his feelings and his memories are, in colored flashback and monochrome present action, the substance of the film.
Johnny Got his Gun has perhaps two ideas: One, that war is a crime, and two, that it is a crime committed by the old against the young…. And yet they are virtually the all the thought that gets into the film, the rest being a mess of cliched, imprecise sentimentalizing and fantasizing. On any terms that I might recognize and possibly credit, Johnny Got His Gun is a stultifyingly bad movie.
…Diane Varsi, a kindly nurse who finally gets through to Joe, in what may be one of the worst performances in the history of movies.
For Monday, we have a mystery woman.
Update: This is Kathy Fields.
For “Tricky Tuesday,” we have a mystery lad in a newsboy cap.
Update: This is Kerry MacLane.
For “Hm Wednesday,” we have some mysterious soldiers.
Update: This is (tentatively) Craig Bovia, left, and David Soul.
We also have a mystery nurse. (Yes, the movie is in color and black and white).
Update: This is Diane Varsi.
For “Aha Thursday,” we have this mysterious fellow.
Update: This is Jason Robards.
We also have this mysterious fellow.
Update: This is Donald Sutherland and (tentatively) Etienne Veazie.
Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Jenny M. (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Sylvia E. (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Megan and Thom (mystery movie and all mystery guests, plus mystery video), Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Mike Hawks (mystery movie, Monday’s and Wednesday’s mystery women), Roget-L.A. (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery guests) and L.C. (mystery movie and mystery cast).
For Friday, we have our mysterious leading man.
Update: This is Timothy Bottoms.
Brain Trust roll call: Benito (mystery movie), Mary Mallory (Thursday’s mystery guests), Beach Gal (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery guests), Anne Papineau (mystery movie and mysterious theater where she saw it), Incredibleinman (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guests), Gary (Thursday’s mystery guests), Funky PhD. (mystery movie, Wednesday’s mystery TV detective and Thursday’s mystery guests), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery guests), Sylvia E. (Thursday’s mystery guests and mysterious fellow in the background perhaps?) Earl Boebert (Thursday’s mystery guests) and Suzanne Stone (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery guest, Wednesday’s mysterious nurse and Thursday’s mystery guests).