- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 11, 2001

During World War II, Hollywood heavyweights went to war. They fought it, like dreamboats Robert Taylor, Clark Gable and Robert Montgomery; they made training films, like our near-sighted future president, Ronald Reagan and they sold war bonds, like luminous Carole Lombard, who died at age 34 in a plane crash while selling bonds on tour.

Or they filmed it. Director George Stevens shot the liberation of Dachau's prisoners and the capture of Hitler's Berchtesgaden aerie. Director William Wyler directed the documentary, "Memphis Belle," the last mission of a Flying Fortress over Germany. Writer-director John Huston was awarded the Legion of Merit for his courageous work filming such documentaries as "The Battle of San Pietro" under battle conditions in both the Pacific and European theaters.

As war comes to America, contemporary Hollywood is trying to find its mission. Blazing the way, perhaps not surprisingly, are two Hollywood heavies er, heavyweights once familiar in Washington: producer Harry Thomason and his producer-wife Linda Bloodworth-Thomason. With emotions running red, white and blue, with the nation struggling to make sense of the tumultuous press of news, the Thomasons have decided to do their bit to focus Americans on what really matters most.

Give up? It's the Clintons (but we won't say "stupid"). Yankee doodle do or die, the Thomasons have just inked a deal, as they say in the Hollywood press, to make a theatrical documentary about the scandal-riddled, scandal-addled, scandal-paralyzed presidency of George W. Bush's predecessor.

Could this be some kind of a joke? After all, as the nation teeters on terror alert, "legacy"building is not the priority it once was at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, back when the Thomasons had the run of the place. But some things, as they say, never change. As the nation girds itself for an entirely new kind of war, the Clintonistas are still fighting the old one over Bill Clinton. "This is not a film about Republicans and Democrats," Mr. Thomason recently told the Hollywood Reporter. "Rather, it's an insightful story that looks at the fringe elements in our society and their effect on the modern political process." (And he isn't talking about Muslim militants.)

The Thomasons' vehicle? Nothing "fringey" like Michael Isikoff's "Uncovering Clinton." And certainly not the late, lamented Barbara Olson's "Hell to Pay," David P. Schippers' "Sell-Out," Richard A. Posner's "An Affair of State" or Susan Schmidt and Michael Weisskopf's "Truth at Any Cost." And not "The Starr Report," either. No, the Thomasons chose, in the words of the film's distributor, Regent Entertainment's Paul Colichman, "something really creative" Joe Conason and Gene Lyons' book, "The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton." For anyone who has already hocked their Clintoniana to make room for weightier tomes, this particular title was the fantasmagorical compilation of everything you ever wanted to forget about Bill and Hillary Clinton, from the Little Rock governor's mansion to the White House.

"Hunting" begins shooting soon, although no word as yet on whether it will pause for Ramadan. Meanwhile, maybe we should salute the Thomasons. In time of war, there's nothing like a little comic relief.


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