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After Seeing 'Platoon,' Fonda Wept

January 25, 1987|PAT H. BROESKE

Jane Fonda, who was derided by many people during the early 1970s for her outspoken anti-war sentiments--and particularly her trip to North Vietnam, saw "Platoon" and declared in an interview: "A movie like this helps to insure that it (another Vietnam) will never happen again."

She related that she wept after seeing the film.

She was in the lobby of the UA Coronet Theater in Westwood. "I had to sit down and cry," she said." And she was joined by several Vietnam veterans ("I didn't know them") "And we wept together."

Added the actress, who was known during her war protests as "Hanoi Jane," "I have been so close to guys who have been devastated by the war. . . . What 'Platoon' does--better than I've ever seen before--is to show what it was like being there . What those men went through."

She mused that it's almost as if "Platoon" is the middle movie of a Vietnam trilogy--for which "Coming Home" (the film that earned her a Best Actress Oscar) could be the end. "Because 'Platoon' explains 'Coming Home'. . . . I don't mean to be self-congratulatory or anything like that. It's just that our movie was very cathartic."

As for the film that could begin the trilogy, Fonda said, "I'm still waiting for a movie that explains why we were there at all--why it all happened."

She declared, "I feel very strongly about this. I am so happy that Oliver (Stone) did it the way that he did it."

Particularly powerful, feels Fonda, is the scene in which the platoon leaves a Vietnamese village. The reason: "Because after what had happened there, we still saw our soldiers carrying out the children, helping the people. The entire sequence showed us for what we are. The heroes. The kind-hearted. The racists. We are so many kinds of people."

She dismissed "revisionist cinema" like the "Rambo" movies "because it obscures the truth," Fonda said. (She even took a jab at Sylvester Stallone; she noted that during her activist period, he was "teaching at a girls' school in Switzerland.")

She said that she preferred not to discuss her days as an anti-war activist: "I don't know if it's appropriate for me to talk about this. I think we should just discuss the movie."

But in retrospect, and given the country's changed mood toward the war, did she have second thoughts about what she'd done?

Said Fonda, "I have a regret that some of my actions--including going to Hanoi--were interpreted as being pro-Viet Cong and anti-American soldier.

"That was not the case.

"My interest in the war began because of soldiers and was deepened because of soldiers. It was because of what soldiers told me that I turned against the war.

"During that time, when I made my speeches, I always stressed that while the men (American soldiers) may have been in uniform, that they were not the enemy."

Stressing that she was one of many concerned Americans (including Ramsey Clark) to visit North Vietnam during wartime, she added: "At the time, it didn't seem to me particularly extraordinary that I was going to Hanoi. But now, in retrospect, I realize that because of my being a movie star, that I was targeted by the Administration. . . . I became a fulcrum for their hostility.

"Had I known that then, I would not have gone.

"I would have chosen not to cause the kind of misunderstanding and hurt among the very people I tried to help."

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