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Tuesday, 18 December, 2001, 16:42 GMT
Cinemas celebrate 'US spirit'
Stephen Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan (1998)
The trailer features clips from Saving Private Ryan
Hollywood history has been boiled down to just three minutes for a film trailer composed of classic screen moments intended to celebrate the American national character.

The short film, entitled The Spirit of America, goes on release for the Christmas period in around a third of US cinemas from this weekend.

The trailer contains clips from more than 100 of Hollywood's most popular films, ranging from 1933's 42nd Street to Peal Harbor, in 2001.

The montage has been assembled by director Chuck Workman, who won an Oscar in 1986 for a short assemblage entitled Precious Images, which told the story of the cinema itself.

George C Scott in Dr Strangelove
Unexpected choice: Stanley Kubrick's Dr Strangelove

Those expecting a straightforward exercise in patriotism as America leads the so-called war against terrorism may be surprised.

Among the 110 films are some bold choices, including Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July.

Stone's film tells the life story of Ron Kovic - a Vietnam veteran who later became an anti-war protester.

Clips from Malcolm X (1992) and M*A*S*H (1970) are used, alongside other, perhaps more obvious choices, from True Grit (1969) and Saving Private Ryan (1998).

The film begins and ends with excerpts from 1956's The Searchers, which stars cowboy archetype John Wayne.


Five-time Emmy winner and producer of The Spirit of America, Michael R Rhodes, said the film promoted values including "resiliency, generosity, dignity, multiculturalism, patriotism and pride".

Mr Rhodes told BBC News Online he had commissioned Mr Workman to make the film, and the director had come back with something that was "a highly emotional experience" to watch.

"What I got was a piece of art," he said.

Each of the films had an "iconic" quality, even though they were not linked, he added.

His own reaction to seeing the figures on the screen, he said, had been to think: "That's who I am."

Hollywood sign
A plan to repaint the Hollywood sign red, white and blue was rejected

The film was not made at the behest of the White House - although its release follows meetings between officials and Hollywood executives at which Hollywood's contribution to the war has been discussed.

A similar montage had been sketchily planned for use as an educational tool in schools before 11 September's attacks on the US, Mr Rhodes explained.

After that date, the money and copyright permissions needed to make the film apparently became available within a matter of weeks.

US organisations including the National Assocation of Theater Owners, Technicolor Cinema Distribution and Kodak Motion Picture Imaging backed the project financially.

See also:

12 Nov 01 | Showbiz
Bush adviser meets Hollywood execs
30 Oct 01 | Showbiz
Hollywood plans patriotic gesture
08 Oct 01 | Film
Hollywood re-think expensive
13 Sep 01 | Film
Hollywood 'changed forever'
08 Nov 01 | Showbiz
Hollywood sign stays white
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