News & Politics

Backlash to Jerry Tallmer’s ‘River Kwai’ Takedown


Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.

September 3, 1958, Vol. III, No. 45


Dear Sir:

In commenting on “Bridge on the River Kwai” in the August 27 issue of The Village Voice, Jerry Tallmer mourns the passing of commitment, courage, and dedication. No one cares anymore, Mr. Tallmer seems to be saying; and by so implying, I fear he has slighted a whole crowd of us who care very much.

Admittedly, our commitment, courage, and dedication must take devious routes because we are limited in channels of expression. Going to fight in Hungary was out of the question, as even J. F. Dulles admits. Nor can we very much help a Negro kid buy an ice-cream soda in an Oklahoma City luncheonette. Social protest is old hat; early Steinbeck seems as remote as late Zola. Aesthetic unrest has been gopped up by the more substantial critics who manage to force a sober and academic air on the most potentially exciting works.

But we are not overly discouraged. There’s an increasingly large clique of us who courageously cross the street against the flashing “DON’T WALK” lights, who dedicatedly change our brand of cigarettes with every pack, who, with commitment, feed the animals in the zoo when the keeper is not looking. We will not be silent. We will not equivocate. We will not retreat a single step. And we will be heard. — Norman Gelb, East 29th Street

Dear Sir:

Jerry Tallmer, what a big man is he! I read his piece last week on “Bridge on the River Kwai” and his patronizing, boasting remarks equating war-haters with homosexuals. OK, so J.T. loves war and (he says) girls too. He’s welcome to himself. — Robert Frobisher, Charles Street

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 16, 2008


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