The Thin Red Line and the World War II Hollywood Tradition

  • Eleftheria Thanouli


THE THIN RED LINE AND THE HOLLYWOOD WORLD WAR II TRADITION The Thin Red Line is a three-hour epic about the World War II, directed by Terrence Malick, who made his comeback to the film industry after 20 years with a subject that had been neglected for almost as long.(1) The film is based on James Jones' novel, published in 1962, which was first adapted for the big screen by Andrew Marton in 1964 rather unsuccessfully. For many years, the book seemed to defy cinematic adaptation due to its deliberately choppy, episodic storyline, its lack of a single heroic protagonist and the multiplicity of perspectives.(2) However, Malick tried to overcome these obstacles by creating a film which broke "most of the commercial rules about narrative and drama"(3), as a critic observes. My interest in The Thin Red Line is therefore twofold: firstly, I will try...