"Inside me I scream but no one pays attention...If I had arms I can kill myself, If I had legs I can run away, If I had a voice I can be some kind of company to myself"
The title of this blog is inspired by the 1971 anti-war cult movie called "Johnny Got His Gun".
The book was released in 1939, on the eve of WWII, and maybe the timing was right but author Dalton Trumbo was inspired to write this novel based on the Prince of Wales' visit to a veteran hospital in Canada, where he came across a soldier who had lost his arms and legs in the war.
Let's back track a bit as to how I heard about the movie...Back in 1988 "Metallica" had released a super album called "And Justice for All", which launched the band into pop mainstream thanks to a metal ballad called "One".
The song was aired on MTV back in 1989 on Headbanger's Ball, where I first saw it on the world premiere. I was so touched by this video, that was based on the 1971 cult movie, that the dialogue remained in my memory for over 20 years, having just seen the video once.
I recently purchased the video for "One" on iTunes and having seen it again, it made me cry, and darkly depressed...so powerful was this video with the dialogue from the movie and the images from it, that I was inspired to write this.
The movie is about an 18 year old American soldier who marches off to WWI leaving behind his father and the girl he loves. On the last day of the war, he is ordered to assist a soldier in the field, and an artiley shell blows up next to him, and he loses his arms, legs and face...and he survives it.
Despite having no sense of sight, smell, hearing...he still can feel, his brain is alive and he has to listen to the battle over his life ensue with no-one being able to help him or hear him.
The doctors find his case fascinating and he can hear them say "This young man will be as unthinking, unfeeling as the dead until the day he joins them".
The young soldier drifts into and out of the real world and fantasy and he thinks to himself;
"How can you tell when your alive or dead when you can't even tell when you're awake or asleep". In his mind he thinks "It's like a piece of meat that keeps on living!"
"He's a product of your profession, not mine".
The thoughts of this young soldier and the writing of Dalton Trumbo really bring the isolation, desperation and sheer death that this individual longs for....the young soldier thinks to himself "Inside me I scream but no one pays attention...If I had arms I can kill myself, If I had legs I can run away, If I had a voice I can be some kind of company to myself".
Without arms and legs or any senses he can move his head, and he remembers his father telling him that when he is in trouble to use Morse code...which he does and the army officers decipher it.....over and over he says...."SOS; SOS; SOS; Kill Me".
It really moved me to the point of tears....please take a look at the video.