Captain Dale Dye served in the Vietnam conflict, surviving 31 major combat operations. Highly decorated, including three Purple Hearts, he has been the military advisor on such movies as "Platoon", "Born on the Fourth of July", "Jacob's Ladder", "JFK", "Saving Private Ryan" and now the TV epic Band of Brothers.
Have you ever wanted to approach a conflict perhaps from an alternative perspective, like Germany in World War II?
Yeah, I've wanted to do a "Saving Private Ryan" from a German perspective. It's a tough sell at the studios in LA. I frankly think that I'd like to see a British story because they were in the war a damn sight longer than we were and their jeopardy was much greater than ours.. Hell, the Germans were in France, 80 miles across the Channel. So, I'd like to see a British story done but it needs to be done by the Brits! I mean, they need to get off their butts and do their own "Saving Private Ryan".
There was an outcry from some at the lack of British representation in "Saving Private Ryan". What would you say to these people?
We never made any pretence that here's the story of the whole war. In fact, we took one small segment of Omaha Beach, an American beach, and we didn't talk about Utah, the other American beach, or about Gold Sword Juno. The plain fact of the matter is that we made no pretence, and if you flip the coin and you take a look at the British Second World War movie library, I would have to ask, "Were any Americans involved?" So, I don't buy this xenophobia charge. Stop whining at me - go and do your own film!
I'm mortified for my own industry and my own country for "U-571". It's embarrassing and ludicrous.
How did you feel about the glamour that seemed to exude from "Pearl Harbor"?
It's a smarmy movie. You know I put that in the same category as "Apocalypse Now". It has brilliant effects and all that, but is that a look at what really happened in Pearl Harbor or the Second World War? Not at all. It's a smarmy love story with the war as a backdrop! If people go to that movie, some may come away saying, "Wow, wasn't that great". Well it was, but is has nothing to do with the American experience in Pearl Harbor.
Are there other war movies that you think are wrong in their approach?
Well, if we talk about Vietnam, unfortunately I have to give a big thumbs down to "Apocalypse Now". That's an absolute blatant allegory. That's Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness", set in South East Asia. It is absolutely hallucinogenic and has nothing to do with the actual US experience in Vietnam. Is it a brilliant film? Yeah, from a film maker's standpoint. Is it a brilliant story? Not a bit. I object to it. Films like that and "The Deer Hunter" are so well made that people come away from them saying, "Oh wow, that must have been what Vietnam was like". Well, it was not what Vietnam was like. If you want to see what Vietnam was like, get the "Platoon" DVD, flip through it, not only enjoy the movie but connect with us and how we made it and the reasons we made it and then maybe you'll get some idea.
Part 1 - Realistic Combat in Films
Part 3 - Confronting Demons in "Platoon"