Monday, October 21, 2013

Truman: Now a Major Motion Picture!

            Why isn’t there a movie about Harry S. Truman? We could call it Sassafras for goodness sake, and the world needs more of that word in its life, believe me. In a time of biopics and adaptations, we should make a movie about Harry S. Truman.
            He was the 33rd President, but you’d never know that if you were friends with him early on. Dude was a shoe salesman something like 10 years before he became President. It’s the perfect rags-to-riches story, Al Bundy finally strikes gold type thing. He successfully runs for Senate, works his way up, and is asked to be Franklin Roosevelt’s running mate.
            The most popular president in history, FDR, is asking Truman to be his VP for his unprecedented fourth term. Of course he takes it. Even as a head man in the higher house, this is FDR we’re talking about, and Truman is a little cowtowed.
            They win in the back drop of an almost sure victory for American in World War Two, and Truman is the least powerful man in the country: the vice president. But as Americans and British get closer and closer to Berlin (maybe cool Indiana Jones-style maps?!) FDR dies of strokes and Truman is now president. End Act One!

            Remember: at this point, FDR has been President for over a decade, and fundamentally changed the face of America. He had succeeded on a personal connection with Americans, brought the country out of the Depression, weathered Pearl Harbor, and would have won the war for the nation, had he survived. What I’m saying Truman has some big shoes to fill.
            Meanwhile, Truman, now president, has to travel to Potsdam, in England, to meet with the other parts of the Big Three allied leaders: Winston Churchill and “Evilest Man Outside of Berlin” Joseph Stalin. FDR had a great relationship with Churchill and managed to work adequately with Stalin, which was no small feat when you consider their mutually exclusive ideology. But now Truman’s got to take his place, an outsider to what was effectively a tight-knit confidante. Oh, and remember, Truman was elected to the Senate based on being a strong anti-Communist.
            Needless to say, he doesn’t get along with Stalin. “Damnit, I made my name hunting down Reds, and now I’ve got to be friends with one!” Movie Truman would say.
            Real history lesson: The Potsdam Conference takes place in July of 1945, a month after the Germany surrendered and the war in Europe ended. The point of the conference was to set up the reconstruction and administration of Europe, and also to kinda finish the other half of this “war” thing. The U.S. still had Japan to worry about, and was going to make sure the USSR helped out.
            But back to the movie: It’s a day before the conference, and Truman gets a call and a briefing. A general and man in a suit (with one of those tiny ties, since it’s the 40’s) walk in.
            “There’s something you should know, sir. It’s about a technology we’ve been working on,” the General would say, setting up an easel. Movie Truman lifts an eyebrow.
            “It’s a new weapon, and after four years, we’ve finally completed it. It’s called the Atom Bomb, and it works.” We zoom on the large picture sitting he’s placed on the easel. It’s the quintessential mushroom cloud.
            He was the vice president, high ranking Senate official, and employee of the month four non-consecutive occasions at his shoe store (a regular Double Grover Clevland), but no one thought to inform him of the Manhattan Project.
            And now he’s got to go to a war-planning meeting with that knowledge. Can you imagine the tossing-turning montage on the eve of the conference? Oscar bait.
            Now Truman’s in Potsdam, and he’s a little cocky about the effectiveness of this super weapon. Churchill already knows, so the satisfaction of telling him that juicy little nugget is robbed from him, so who’s left?
            Truman couldn’t tell him everything, of course, but he had a trump card, and his poker face wasn’t that good. He saunters up to Stalin, and explains he’s got this weapon, and now that Europe is won, we might beat the Japanese with it, I don’t know if you know, it’s pretty powerful, blah blah blah.
            Slow zoom up on Stalin’s mustachioed faced. “использовать его,” he says, sarcastically and tauntingly. Subtitled, we read, “Use it.” It’s a dare! Stalin pretty much already knew way earlier than Truman. “использовать его” he says again. Scene! End Act Two.

            We see the U.S. closing in on Japan. Montages of Marines dying and whatnot. But mainland Japan is going to be costly. Truman weighs the options, and in our climax, decides to use the A-Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We keep the moral grey area in the movie- don’t make Truman be 100% right. Our dénouement is the celebration of V-J Day and the end of the war. Maybe a montages or black screen/white text explanation of Truman’s future success and more presidential terms.
            He ended his time mostly hated, but has risen quickly through the ranks to be one of the top presidents of the 20th Century. The End!

            But who do we cast? It’s easier to play old than young, so we need a young Truman. Michael Fassbender is hungry for an Oscar, let’s give it to him. Mike F. Assbender may be British but he can play a role.

            For Churchill we can sub in literally any white baby.

            Stalin’s a tough case. He was super handsome in his day:

 but ended up like this. I mean, we can probably just pick any Russian Grandfather of two off of the street.
"Dah, I am very proud of you doing cannonball in pool."
            FDR will be played by the guy who played the Penguin on the old Batman TV show.

            And Eisenhower… Ed Harris I guess?

            The newspaper will play itself.

PS: I broke 20,000 views. Eat it, people who rightly say I should stop writing!

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