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Archer, Ina Diane. "Red Tails Review." Film Comment March/April 2012.
As the daughter of a renowned Tuskegee Airmen, Archer is disappointed with the film. Though the movie displayed in-air action to the fullest extent and highlighted some of the undertakings of the "Gruesome Twosome," thought to be based on Lt. Col. Lee Buddy Archer, her father, and Lt. Col. Wendell O. Pruitt, the characters lacked depth and context. Archer argues that the two hours allocated this movie was insufficient for telling a full story. Criticizing Lucas, Archer believes that the story of struggles at home, complications with romance, family life, and racism were vital components to the story of the Red Tails. In addition, Archer points out the lack of representation of black women in the movie and, really, women at all! "Why confine this side of the story to prequels and sequels? Whether it runs for two hours or for ‘6 Smashing Reels!' their story deserves a fuller depiction."
Curtis, Bryan. "George Lucas Is Ready to Roll the Credits." New York Times 17 January 2012.
Curtis says that Lucas is ready to call it quits and explains that the famed director has great hopes for Red Tails as his final blockbuster. "I'm retiring," Lucas said. "I'm moving away from the business, from the company, from all this kind of stuff." After his retirement, Lucas looks to create personal 70s-style films, says Curtis. However the success of Red Tails may determine whether Lucas's career stretches any further, as he claims the success might stimulate the makings of sequels and prequels "that Spike Lee's gonna make!"
Holden, Stephen. "Pilots Who Fought to Soar Above Racism." New York Times 19 January 19 2012.
Lucas deems his movie patriotic and jingoistic and inspirational for teenage boys, but Holden does not share the same thoughts. "To say that this live-action comic book lives up to Mr. Lucas's description is not a wholehearted endorsement. Are teenage boys as naïve today as they were 60 or more years ago? And much of the dialogue is groaningly clunky. But so it was back then," reports Holden. The simple characters, the blunt racism, and the simple plot are all negatives in this article. Holden takes a sarcastic final snub at the movie by making one final comment. "The mostly happy ending is as satisfying as a snack of milk and cookies after a ninth grade softball game."
Milloy, Courtland. "'Red Tails':A Disservice to the Airmen." Washington Post 30 January 2012: B1.
"The movie 'Red Tails' could not possibly have been 'inspired by' the Tuskegee Airmen, as billed, for it is little more than a black comedy about guys who clown and connive their way through World War II, supposedly as combat pilots. Disheveled, undisciplined, crude and uncouth, they are the exact opposite of the real men who served in the all-black fighter group in the 1940s. In this movie -- which has raked in millions of dollars at the box office and even got a thumbs up from President Obama -- the squad leader finds courage in a bottle of booze while his wingman's lust for an Italian woman leads to insubordination. During dogfights with the German Luftwaffe, the black pilots behave like kids in a video arcade."
Tuskegee Airmen.
On the 1995 television film: "The Learning Guide to this film helps teachers supplement school curriculum relating to WW II and the Civil Rights Movement."
The Tuskegee Airmen Poster
For the 1995 film.

See Also

Curtis, Bryan. "George Lucas Is Ready to Roll the Credits." New York Times Magazine 22 January 2012: 43-46, 54-55.

Rollins, Peter C. The Columbia Companion to American History on Film: How the Movies Have Portrayed the American Past. New York: Columbia UP, 2003.

Online Resources

The Boondocks
Comic strip and television series by Red Tails co-writer Aaron McGruder.
Demby, Gene. "George Lucas: Hollywood Didn't Want To Fund 'Red Tails' Because Of Its Black Cast." 11 January 2012.
Demby describes Lucas's visit to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. "This has been held up for release since 1942 since it was shot; I've been trying to get it released ever since," Lucas quipped to Stewart. Demby describes the difficulty Lucas had with getting the film studios to pick up the film, which eventually culminated in his delving into personal funds for production and distribution. Finally, Demby records Lucas's reservations with the film from the Daily Show interview. "I realize that by accident I've now put the black film community at risk [with Red Tails, whose $58 million budget far exceeds typical all-black productions]," he said. "I'm saying, if this doesn't work, there's a good chance you'll stay where you are for quite a while. It'll be harder for you guys to break out of that [lower-budget] mold. But if I can break through with this movie, then hopefully there will be someone else out there saying let's make a prequel and sequel, and soon you have more Tyler Perrys out there."
Ellis, Trey, and Ricardo Khan. Fly 2009.
A play: "The play uses four characters -- Chet, from Harlem; W.W., from Chicago; Oscar, from Iowa; and J. Allen, originally from the West Indies -- who represent the varied backgrounds of the men who went through Tuskegee's training, not all graduating and not all surviving the war. Other actors portray white men -- instructors and pilots -- who questioned the idea that black men could fly in America's military. . . . While the fight against racism is central to the play's story, Khan notes that a larger issue central to the play is the pursuit of any dream: "The play is about lifting yourself off the ground, lifting yourself from what holds you down, reaching for your dream and elevating yourself to that place in the mind and the heart that's the sky."
George Lucas discusses his reasons behind making Red Tails.
Interview in which Lucas provides brief background.
"George Lucas says Hollywood won't support black films." BBC News 12 January 2012.
This article documents an interview between Lucas and popular TV personality Jon Stewart. Lucas, without holding back, describes his troubles with the production of the movie, placing heat on Hollywood for unwillingness to push the film. "There's no major white roles in it at all," Lucas says to provide insight into Hollywood's impassiveness in bringing the stories of the Tuskegee Airmen to the big screen. Lucas compares the treatment of his film to the treatment of a Tyler Perry film, claiming that major film studios stay away because of the fear of the lack of a foreign market. Thus, Lucas describes how this movie became a personal expense. He also hints that a prequel and sequel to the action-packed film is likely if the film achieves its anticipated success.
Larnick, Eric. "Aaron McGruder, 'Boondocks' Creator, on Writing 'Red Tails' and Working With George Lucas After Making Fun of Him." moviefone 20 January 2012.
Interview with the co-writer of the film.
Lucas, George. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. January 9, 2012.
Interview: Lucas talks about how long he wanted to make the movie, the problems with an all-black movie, the trouble he's created for the black film-making community, and the possibility of a sequel.
Sergio. "But Does Anyone REALLY Want To See 'Red Tails'?"
Prints this circulating email: "I am writing regarding the new movie Red Tails. This movie was 23 years in the making. George Lucas (Star Wars) wrote the movie with the Tuskegee Airmen. When he started writing the movie there were 42 men alive, now there are only 7. He said their stories were so compelling he did not want to leave anything out. There are 3 movies. This is the first all black film. He is using his own money, because the big companies will not finance an all black film. If the movie does not do well the first weekend, we will never see the other two! The movie comes out Jan 20 Friday! Please make a date with someone and see it the first weekend! Please forward this email to everyone you know, so we can support this movie!" Here we go again. Asides from the fact that Red Tails is definitely not the "first all black film" (has this guy been living in a barn???), this is it yet another example of what I call "castor oil" movies that black filmgoers are commanded to go see as sense of duty and obligation.
Tuskegee Airman Webinars - 'Was the Movie Accurate'?" sponsored by the Commemorative Air Force's Red Tail Squadron
Surviving Tuskegee Airmen Colonel Charles McGee and Colonel Harold Brown provided perspectives related to the film's interpretation. Although discussions as to use of equipment and dates were mentioned, three claims made in the film were the most contentious: the number of losses suffered by bomber crews under escort, the encounters with Luftwaffe jet fighters and the overall record established by the Tuskegee Airmen.