It all started when Spike Lee complained that there were no black soldiers in either of Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-nominated war films Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima.
Spike was upset that the African-American contingent didn’t seem to get any acknowledgement whatsoever from Clint, and he spoke up at the Cannes Film Festival in May. He said:
Clint Eastwood made two films about Iwo Jima that ran for more than four hours total, and there was not one Negro actor on the screen. If you reporters had any balls you’d ask him why. But I know it was pointed out to him and that he could have changed it. It’s not like he didn’t know…To which Clint Eastwood replied:
A guy like that should shut his face.A guy like what exactly? Like a black man? Or like a scrawny-faced owl man? We just don’t know. What we do know is that this town is not big enough for the both of them. Yee-haw!
But anyway, Spike Lee has responded to Clint’s comment. He told ABC News:
First of all, the man is not my father and we’re not on a plantation. The thing about it though, I didn’t personally attack him. And a comment like ‘a guy like that should shut his face’ - come on Clint, come on. He sounds like an angry, old man right there. It’s just that there’s not one black in either film. And because I know my history, that’s why I made that observation.Lee is currently in the midst of post-production on his own WWII epic, Miracle as St. Anna, which, according to IMDB.com, ‘chronicles the story of four black American soldiers who are members of the US Army as part of the all-black 92nd Buffalo Soldier Division stationed in Tuscany, Italy, during World War II’.
Did we read that correctly; the ‘all-black’ division? Not even a token white boy to occasionally "honky up the proceedings"? Outrageous.
Many veterans, African-Americans, who survived that war are upset at Clint Eastwood. In his vision of Iwo Jima, Negro soldiers did not exist. Simple as that. I have a different version.Clint was initially reluctant to respond to Spike’s remarks, but eventually told the Guardian:
The story is ‘Flags of Our Fathers,’ the famous flag-raising picture. If I go ahead and put an African-American actor in there, people’d go, ‘This guy’s lost his mind.’ I mean, it’s not accurate.Anybody know any war historians to clear this up?
As it currently stands, Spike has had the last word, and here it is:
Even though he’s trying to have a Dirty Harry flashback, I’m going to take the Obama high road and end it right here.
I hope these two go to blows. It would be fun to see Dirty Harry kick the shit out of Mars Blackmon.
"I know what you're thinking. "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" - Harry Callahan (aka Dirty Harry) as played by Clint Eastwood in the movie "Dirty Harry"