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GI Film Festival: Into Harm’s Way
16 May 2012, 08:37
Filed under: Films, Henderson, Veterans | Tags: , , ,

Last night, we went to see a screening of Into Harm’s Way, which is a terrific film. Actually, I should say, I know that 79 of the 94 minutes of the film are terrific.

It’s being shown as part of the GI Film Festival here in DC this week and my wife, two of her executives and I took my mother-in-law, whose husband LTC Richard Henderson served two tours in Viet Nam.


When 846 young men entered West Point in 1963, they signed up with an American Army at peace. At their graduation ceremony in 1967, the Vietnam War was raging. Into Harm’s Way is a story of Army officers who lead and lost soldiers in combat.

It’s a story of fathers and sons and duty to country. It’s a story of glory and sacrifice. Into Harm’s Way is the first person chronicle of the West Point Class of 1967.

The film is really well done, with the interviews emphasized and punctuated with impressionistic depictions of the events that the veterans are describing. In particular, as one is describing his encounter with a mortally wounded enemy soldier, the depiction of that’s soldier’s eyes adds a chilling effect as he describes the scene.

My mother-in-law, Mary Lou, was particularly moved by the film. One of the interviewees was the widow of one of the men in the Class of 1967 and they played some of the tapes he’d sent home from Viet Nam. Dick had also sent home tapes and photos, so she could identify with the emotions and experience. We’ll likely pull up those photos and listen to the tapes soon.

I would heartily recommend the film to everyone. They are looking to include it in film festivals going forward and I’d think that if you’re having an air show, a historical re-enactment or a gathering of ROTC students, this would be a fine film to view. I’d also recommend it for the Viet Nam on Film course I took back as an undergrad (I actually took it twice), if they still offered it.

Unfortunately, I missed the first 15 minutes of the film. Typically, the blame for this would be my own as I am often late. This time, I dropped off the four ladies a full 20 minutes before the scheduled start. It took me a while to find a parking spot (this was shown in the Congressional Auditorium in the US Capitol Visitor Center, though I was able to park just a block away) and STILL got through security and into my seat a full five minutes before the scheduled start. This was, unfortunately, 15 minutes into the film as they started 20 minutes early.

So much for the team-building exercise for my wife’s executive team.

Update: The good news is that the nice folks who run the festival made up for it by giving us two tickets for Sunday morning’s screenings. Waiting on the word about whether they can get us a DVD of Into Harm’s Way so that we can see the full movie.

4 Comments so far
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We missed the first part of the film too. Do you mind send me info of how I could attempt to get the DVD??

Comment by Huong

I’ve sent an email to you using the email you commented using. Hoping we can get DVDs of the movie. I never heard why it was started so early….

Comment by David Navarre

I’m so sorry you missed the opening of the film. In my opinion, the first thirty minutes does a magnificent job of setting up the remainder of the film–taking the audience form the idyllic days of 1963 to the beginning realizations that in all likelihood our class would enter the fray upon graduation. I was one of those interviewed in the film (the helicopter pilot) and am so very proud of the story that Jordan Kronick, the director, has told. As you might imagine, I was nervous about sharing my stories in front of the camera. As my wife tells everyone, I say things in the film that I have never said even to her in thirty years of marriage. For me, however, the whole experience was very cathartic. I can’t express how proud I am of my West Point class. They are a truly a unique, amazing group of men who have remained extraordinarily close-knit over the years. At our 45th reunion last month, forty-plus percent of us showed up at West Point to reaffirm our connections as brothers. Only twenty of us were depicted in the film, but all my classmates stand tall in my heart. In the meantime, I await on the progress of the film through the festivals and its ultimate broadcast on television.

Comment by Terry Atkinson

Terry, I am very much looking forward to when I can see it from the beginning. I’m sure it is excellent. My mother-in-law is especially interested in seeing it all. Her husband, LTC Richard H. Henderson, served two tours in Viet Nam (I think it was 1965 and 1968, from when Melissa was a few weeks old and again when she was about 3.) Dick was in the Signal Corps and sent home tapes in addition to letters, so that, among other parts of the movie, really struck a chord with Mary Lou.

I’ve been told that there’s no way to purchase the film yet. They’re still working on our distribution plan and will hopefully get the film on sale soon. When they do, it’ll be available at http://www.thedocumentarygroup.com.

Thanks so much for your comments and for your service.

Comment by David Navarre

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