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A new edition of Seven Samurai (BFI Film Classics), Joan Mellen’s Analysis of director Akira Kurosawa’s Classic Film is included in the British Film Institute’s “Screen Studies.”

http://howardneildiscotheques.co.uk/ In this book Mellen contextualizes Seven Samurai, marking its place in Japanese cinema, and in director, Akira Kurosawa’s career. Mellen explores the film’s roots in mediaeval history and the film’s visual language.

Cover artwork: Yuko Shimizu
British Film Institute
Pub date: April 28 2022
Paperback 9781839024771: $15.95

British Film Institutes Screen Studies is a dynamic digital platform designed to support moving-image studies. It offers a broad range of content including books, screenplays, overview articles and learning resources from Bloomsbury, Faber & Faber, the British Film Institute, Focal Press and Auteur (LUP). It is an essential resource for academics and students engaged in research and learning in film history, theory, and practice.

Joan Mellen’s study of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954) treats it both as a portrayal of the cultural upheaval brought on by the collapse of Japanese militarism in the 16th century, but also as a reflection of the sweeping cultural changes occurring in the aftermath of the American Occupation that followed Japan’s defeat in the Second World War.

Seven Samurai may be the greatest action film, a technical masterpiece unmatched in its depiction of movement and violence, but running beneath the sound and fury is a lament for a lost nobility, ‘a dirge for the spirit of Japan,’ writes Joan Mellen, ‘which will never again be so strong.’

Mellen contextualizes Seven Samurai, marking its place in Japanese cinema and in Kurosawa’s film-making career. She explores the film’s roots in medieval history and, above all, the astonishing visual language in which Kurosawa created his elegiac epic.


 Seven Samurai is widely considered one of the greatest films of all time, and was voted 17th in the most recent Sight & Sound critics’ poll of all-time best films
 New edition of a study of this classic film with a new afterword by the author Joan Mellen
 Published to tie in with the 30th anniversary of the BFI Film Classics series, with stunning new cover artwork

Toshirô Mifune in Seven Samurai (1954)

One of the most thrilling movie epics of all time, Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai) tells the story of a sixteenth-century village whose desperate inhabitants hire the eponymous warriors to protect them from invading bandits. This three-hour ride from Akira Kurosawa—featuring legendary actors Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura—seamlessly weaves philosophy and entertainment, delicate human emotions and relentless action, into a rich, evocative, and unforgettable tale of courage and hope.

In the film Seven Samurai (1954) a whole society is on the verge of irrevocable change. Many people consider this film a major achievement in Japanese cinema, an epic that evokes the cultural upheaval brought on by the collapse of Japanese militarism in the 16th century, echoing the sweeping changes occurring in the aftermath of the American occupation. The plot is deceptively simple. A village of farmers is beset by a horde of bandits, and in desperation the village hire itinerant samurai to protect their crops and their village. In the end the samurai see off the bandits. Together the samurai reflect the ideals and values of a noble class near the point of extinction. The film may be a technical masterpiece, and despite its movement and violence it appears to be a lament for a lost nobility.

The BFI Film Classics series introduces, interprets and celebrates landmarks of world cinema. Each volume offers an argument for the film’s ‘classic’ status, together with discussion of its production and reception history, its place within a genre or national cinema, an account of its technical and aesthetic importance, and in many cases, the author’s personal response to the film.

Pucheng Purchase “Seven Samurai” (first edition) by Joan Mellen:

Amazon http://canalsideconferencecentre.co.uk.gridhosted.co.uk/catering/

Bloomsbury

Screen Studies website

Alan Dale Interviews Joan Mellen on the Subject of “Blood In The Water”

Joan Mellen was interviewed by JFK Conversation’s Alan Dale on her recent book, “Blood in the Water”.

NOTE: 5:02 “The American ships had been called back…” CORRECTION: “The American planes had been called back…”

About Alan Dale

Alan Dale is the Director of the Assassination Archives and Research Center, aarclibrary.org and the host of JFK Conversations, jfkconversations.com

Amazon Review, 12/11/2018: The Definitive Work to End USA’s Involvement in the Liberty Cover-up

5.0 out of 5 stars

By Eileen Fleming

Despite this American’s eleven years of research regarding the USS Liberty cover-up, I had not been aware of the CIA connection beginning with John Hadden who Mellen ‘discovered’ when she uncovered a memorandum of a meeting between Hadden and Meir Amit, chief of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence services.

One of Hadden’s mantras was “never trust anyone” and the chapter introducing the then chief of CIA counterintelligence, James Jesus Angelton titled “Treason At The Top” exemplifies WHY Hadden’s mantra is also a warning for today.

Mellen’s scholarly yet easy to read historical account of the American Governments involvement in the attack on the USS LIBERTY should be a must read for Congress, the White House and CIA; and if it were, it would change the world as we now know it.

By 1954, James Jesus Angelton was the only person authorized to talk to Israeli intelligence and he began helping Israel build its atomic bomb soon thereafter. Mellen writes that during the 1960’s “Angleton handled the Israeli desk always within the Cold War anti-Soviet ideology that was his stock in trade. It was Angleton who would view Israel’s instigation of the Six Day War as necessary to protect Israel’s nuclear reactor at Dimona from a ‘grand Soviet design’ that included a nuclear attack on the United States.”

Mellen uncovered the fact that it was Angelton who “sabotaged John F. Kennedy’s policy to send international inspectors to Dimona, where false walls were erected, elevators hidden, and dummy installations built to conceal evidence of the nuclear weapons program just as nuclear whistle blower Mordechai Vanunu informed this writer a few weeks after his under-reported freedom of speech trial began in 2006.

As I read Mellen’s chilling historical insights, which continue to fuel USA foreign policies in the Middle East, I was reminded of George Washington’s warning: “Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all…and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave…a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils.”-George Washington’s Farewell Address – 1796

 

Joan Mellen Interviewed on the Ochelli Effect

‎Joan Mellen was interviewed by Chuck Ochelli‎ on The Ochelli Effect Radio Show, October 26 at to discuss her book “Blood in the Water” on the sinking of the USS Liberty. Listen below.

Book Release Event for “Blood in the Water: How the US and Israel Conspired to Ambush the USS Liberty”, Dec. 1

Joan Mellen will present her new book, “Blood in the Water: How the US and Israel Conspired to Ambush the USS Liberty”

Saturday, December 1, in Colebrook, New Hampshire, a talk, discussion and book signing, complete with refreshments. 1 pm. to 5 pm. at the country club.

Colebrook Country Club and Motel

15 Abenaki Road

Colebrook NH

Manchester Union Leader’s John Koziol on “Blood in the Water: How the US and Israel Conspired to Ambush the USS Liberty”

The Manchester Union Leader, the daily newspaper of Manchester, the largest city in the U.S. state of New Hampshire has published a leader article on Joan Mellen’s new book, “Blood in the Water: How the US and Israel Conspired to Ambush the USS Liberty”. Written by John Koziol, the article delves into the forthcoming book’s explosive revelation that  then-President Lyndon Johnson ordered the Israeli Defense Forces to attack and sink, with no survivors, the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967 in an effort to promote regime change in Egypt.

With a North Country native at its core, a book to be released this fall will argue that then-President Lyndon Johnson ordered the Israeli Defense Forces to attack and sink, with no survivors, the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967 in an effort to promote regime change in Egypt.

“Blood in the Water: How the US and Israel Conspired to Ambush the USS Liberty” by Joan Mellen, a professor of English and creative writing at Temple University in Philadelphia, explores this tragic episode of an attack by one of America’s allies that resulted in dozen of American deaths and nearly 200 injuries.

Deep in the midst of the Cold War, the NSA wanted to hear everything that the then-Soviet Union and its allies or proxies were saying anywhere in the world. The 456-foot Liberty — whose specialty was gathering electronic communications — was accordingly sent around the world.

On June 5, 1967, when Israel launched a strike against Egypt, Jordan and Syria — the so-called Six-Day War — she was ordered to proceed “at best speed” to the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

While Cmdr. William McGonagle, the ship’s captain, and his crew of 99 sailors directed the Liberty toward the Sinai Peninsula, inside the vessel, then-Lt. Cmdr. David Edwin Lewis, the Liberty’s chief intelligence officer and a 1949 graduate of Colebrook Academy, received a terse order for himself and the 194 other communications gatherers under his command: “Find out who’s doing what to whom.”

“But Israel,” said Lewis, during an interview last Wednesday at his Colebrook home, “didn’t want that” and on June 8, 1967, its military attacked the Liberty with the intent of sending her to the bottom with all hands.

Israel has repeatedly said the incident was a tragic error caused by the fog of war during which the Liberty was confused with an Egyptian vessel. Israel quickly apologized for the attack that killed 34 crew members, including a civilian, and injured 173 others, and it also paid financial compensation to the victims and the U.S. government.

The day of the attack was “a beautiful day,” recalled Lewis. Israeli planes had flown over the Liberty nine times prior to the strike, including once that was so close that sailors were able to see and wave to the pilots, Lewis said. It was apparent that Israel knew who the Liberty was.

In the attack,McGonagle was able to dodge four torpedoes before the fifth struck the Liberty midship, ripping a hole in her side, and covering Lewis, who had been applying a tourniquet to a sailor’s bleeding leg, in a quarter-inch of heavy, burnt naval paint. The impact of the blast destroyed both of Lewis’ eardrums while the heat seared his eyes shut.

“I was one of the very, very lucky ones,” Lewis said. “Everybody around me was killed instantly.”

Lewis said he feels personally responsible for what happened to the Liberty, explaining that the day before the attack McGonagle asked him whether moving the Liberty further out to sea would affect communications-gathering. Lewis said it would.

As he recuperated, Lewis learned that James Terry Halbardier, an electronics technician 3rd Class, saved the heavily damaged Liberty from more destruction.

Although under fire, Halbardier, who later received the Silver Star, ran a coaxial cable across the deck to the sixth Liberty antenna, which had been inactive at the time of the attack, allowing an SOS to be sent to the Sixth Fleet. The message was seemingly also heard by the Israelis, who immediately ceased their attack.

But help for the Liberty did not arrive with equal alacrity and, as Lewis later learned, there was a nefarious reason for the delay.

While recovering aboard the carrier USS America, Lewis said he had a conversation with Adm. Lawrence R. Geis, the Sixth Fleet’s carrier division commander, who “swore me to secrecy for his lifetime” and then shared that the Fleet had twice launched relief aircraft to the Liberty and that each time they had been recalled by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.

When Geis challenged the second recall, Johnson came on the phone himself, the admiral told Lewis, who remembered Geis quoting the President saying that “I don’t give a damn if the ship sinks and all the Americans are killed. I will not embarrass my ally.”

In 2003, an independent commission released the Moorer Report that took a hard look at the incident.

The commission wrote that on June 8, 1967, the Israelis had aerially surveilled the Liberty for eight hours before launching an attack that lasted about 25 minutes “during which time unmarked Israeli aircraft dropped napalm canisters on USS Liberty’s bridge, and fired 30mm cannons and rockets into our ship, causing 821 holes, more than 100 of which were rocket-size; survivors estimate 30 or more sorties were flown over the ship by a minimum of 12 attacking Israeli planes, which were jamming all five American emergency radio channels.”

Now 87 and the oldest survivor of the Liberty, Lewis keeps trying to understand why Israel did what it did 51 years ago Friday and he comes to some of the same conclusions that others, including Mellen, have reached: that the U.S. and Johnson had decided to destabilize Egyptian President Gamal Abel Nasser by blaming his country for the attack.

Asked what he hopes will happen when “Blood in the Water” is released, Lewis replied that he’d be happy if the book educated more people about what happened to the USS Liberty and why.

“It’s frustrating that the American people know nothing about this and that the U.S. perpetrated it,” he said.