Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tales from the Crypt: Yellow

New favorite episode, ya'll. When I heard what it was about (thanks, Donald), I knew I would like it, but I didn't think I'd love it. I did, a lot; so will anyone who enjoyed Paths of Glory.

Yellow. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, written by Gilbert Adler, A L Katz, Jim Thomas, and John Thomas (screenplay). Starring: Kirk Douglas, Dan Aykroyd, Eric Douglas.

So what they did, basically, was to take the most unappealing character from Paths of Glory (lieutenant Roget, the yellow drunk that gets his men either killed, or court-martialed, and then executed) and make him the main character here as the yellow (read: cowardly) son of the general, who was probably patterned after the awful Mireau from the film. Eric Douglas plays the son; Kirk Douglas plays the father/general.

I can't decide if we (the audience) are meant to have sympathy for the son, Martin, because it's hard to. No Man Left Behind? Not in this dude's case, he's pretty much all for himself, repeatedly. And each time you might start to feel a tiny bit of compassion for him, he just does something else selfish and you're back on the General's side again. Which becomes weird when you realize what he ends up having in store for his own son's punishment (after the court martial) . . . saw that coming a mile away, but it was so gloriously fitting, not only for the Tales From the Crypt Series but for the very kind of portrayal the general was given, the character/motivation taken from General Mireau from the film and the show's homage to it (and maybe to a lesser degree, the implications of the dynasty of the Douglas Family)---there was only one way to end this. Which sorry to sound insensitive, was genius.

When you think about it, these shows all sort of deal with what happens in varying situations of selfishness---gold-digging, infidelity, cowardice, etc.; I think the message really is DON'T DO THAT.
This episode was done brilliantly and not without a little light humor: e.g., Sgt Ripper (!)---Lance Henriksen, (Bishop from Alien) repeatedly seeks the lieutenant's whereabouts from unfortunately expired soldiers, saying "damn," each time. And huge, HUGE ups for that opening scene, not only the battle action but I can't help thinking there's little nod to All Quiet on the Western Front, with a yellow flower instead of a butterfly? Nice.


One of my favorite badass scenes of all time, Colonel Dax in PATHS OF GLORY (clip)

YELLOW (clip)


Donald said...

I feel sorry for the kid. His big speech in the church (or wherever. Prison cell? I can't remember.) where he talks about how his father pushed him into the military. And, anyway, I feel sorry for anybody who had to fight in the trench combat of WWI. This episode makes it look as awful as you could ever imagine.

And I think the ending is very sad. I liked the kid. You should read Wilfred Owen's poem Dulce et Decorum Est.

Anna said...

is that where the original line paths of glory came from? . . . but to the grave, or whatever?

as a mother I felt bad for the kid, but he let everyone else die and wasnt sorry about it. that was a dick move. and he was a lieutenant, not just some newbie.

Donald said...

That's from a different poem.