Hollywood Wants You
In honor of the 4th of July holiday, lets discuss two distinctly American things: Uncle Sam …and ripping off his image to sell movie tickets. (Or rather, pay “homage” to his most famous depiction.)
The most famous version of Uncle Sam appears in the 1917 Army World War I recruitment poster by illustrator James Montgomery Flagg. The finger pointing “I WANT YOU” Uncle Sam painting was itself a copy of a British recruitment poster of Lord Kitchener.
The familiar U.S. icon lives on in countless parodies, re-workings, and other artistic interpretations, not the least of which is the use in film advertising over the years. Whether it’s John Belushi as “Wild Bill” in Steven Speilberg’s ill-fated war comedy 1941, or Bill Murray moving from Saturday Night Live into the Army (and movie super-stardom) in Stripes, the familiar recruitment style finger pointing has been called into service many times. It’s even been used to help get Burt Reynolds laid.
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