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F.T.A. [DVD] [1972]

Release Date:02/24/2009
While F.T.A. has been making the rounds as a fuzzy-looking bootleg video for years, Docudrama Films' DVD release of this little-seen documentary about Jane Fonda's touring anti-war show for American military personnel during the Vietnam War marks the movie's first authorized appearance on home video. F.T.A. (meaning either "Free The Army" or "F--k the Army" depending on how frank the cast wanted to be at any given moment) has been transferred to disc in widescreen format, letterboxed at 1.78:1 on conventional televisions and enhanced for anamorphic playback on 16x9 monitors. The source print is less than perfect, showing some black speckling throughout, but there are very few emulsion scratches and the sharpness and color balance of the transfer are very good indeed, and given how bad most of the pirate editions of F.T.A. looked (some so poor that the credits and subtitles were all but impossible to read), this is a remarkable improvement and looks at least as good as most documentary films of the period. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Stereo, retaining the original monophonic sound mix, and the fidelity is good, though only so much can be done with field recordings from the early 1970's. The sketches and interviews are mostly in English (those that aren't are translated with burned-in subtitles), with no multiple language options or subtitles included. As a bonus, this disc includes a twenty-minute interview with Jane Fonda conducted for this release in which she talks with no small emotion about the creation and evolution of the F.T.A. show, the making of the documentary, and her feelings both positive and negative about the project more than thirty-five years later. F.T.A. is a bit shaky as entertainment, but as a glimpse of a crucial moment in American history it's invaluable, and Docudrama Films are to be congratulated for finally making the film available to a wide audience for the first time.

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    Special Features

    • Update: Interview with Jane Fonda


    In 1971, Jane Fonda and a group of fellow activist performers and musicians (including actor Donald Sutherland, musician Holly Near, and writer and comedian Paul Mooney) put together a satirical revue to perform at coffeehouses and parks near U.S. Army bases for the entertainment of G.I.'s who had come to oppose the war in Vietnam. Calling the show F.T.A. (meaning either "Free The Army" or "F-ck The Army" depending on what part of the show one witnessed), the show included protest songs, anti-war humor, appearances by G.I.'s and veterans who spoke out the war, and agit-prop theater designed to increase awareness and spread resistance against the military escalation in Vietnam. After a tour of the United States, the troupe headed to the Pacific, where they performed in Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, and Okinawa. F.T.A. is a documentary of the troupe's Pacific Tour, including highlights from the show, appearances by local performers, behind the scenes footage of the logistical and political problems of keeping the show on the road, and conversations with soldiers as they discuss what they saw in battle, their anger with the military bureaucracy, and their opposition to America's presence in Indochina. American-International Pictures released F.T.A. in the United States in 1972, but it appeared in theaters the same week that Jane Fonda made her infamous trip to Hanoi; AIP soon pulled it from circulation and it has been seen very rarely since. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Image coming soon
      Michael Alaimo
    • Jane Fonda
      Jane Fonda
    • Holly Near
      Holly Near
    • Donald Sutherland
      Donald Sutherland
    • Image coming soon
      Paul Mooney

    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.