PTSD and Gene Kelly's lost wartime star turn
September 25, 2013 11:20 AM   Subscribe

PTSD and Gene Kelly's lost wartime star turn: For the last six decades or so, a copy [of "Combat Fatigue Irritability"] has been filed away, along with thousands of other films, at the National Library of Medicine. The only people it has been lost to are the public and Gene Kelly’s devoted and still numerous fans. But now the National Library of Medicine is featuring Combat Fatigue Irritability in Medical Movies on the Web, and the film will be given a well-deserved, though very belated, New York premiere, on October 5, 2013, at the New York Academy of Medicine.

A little-known WWII military-educational film, "Combat Fatigue Irritability" starred a young Navy Lieutenant Gene Kelly (who also directed), as a Navy fireman with symptoms of "combat fatigue".
posted by theatro (8 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Melismata at 11:30 AM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

As a followup note: one of the things about the film that startled me at first (though it shouldn't have) was the way that Kelly gets to use actual profanity in it. It's the sort of thing we seldom get to hear from classic Hollywood performers (unless you've seen the old Warner gag reels floating around, but here there are no apologies for it, it's on purpose).
posted by theatro at 11:50 AM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Dad got the idea it might do me good to go hunting.

posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 12:39 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Also: Mom and Dad sleep in the same bed! Like real married peoples!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 12:42 PM on September 25, 2013

As the son of a WWII vet (a Marine Air Corps crewman who got shot down over the Pacific), I can assure you that PTSD (or Combat Fatigue Irritability - what a wonderful euphemism) was frequently underdiagnosed and undertreated in those days, Gene Kelly or not.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:44 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Worth linking the essay that comes with it, although it's not especially detailed. The movie itself is unwatchable. Because it's well made.
posted by ambrosen at 1:44 PM on September 25, 2013

He actually gets to talk like a sailor!
posted by Mojojojo at 8:09 PM on September 25, 2013

I know it a product of it's time, but some of it does feel like they're blaming them. Or maybe it's just a touch of condescension. "Your natural fears in battle were not properly handled. You didn't didn't accept them as part of living. .. You held them in. You held them back". Just makes it sound like something they did not something that happened to them.
posted by adamt at 8:53 PM on September 25, 2013

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