Apocalypse Now Redux (2001)

Apocalypse Now Redux has added extra 49 minutes from original footage while it was in production. These new footages were not fit into the molded narrative that the American public was familiar with other films.

The added scenes incorporated three consistent themes of insanity vs. morality, sexual desire, and ideology of imperialism. In the Redux version, there are two sexual scenes, which are: (1) the crew members spent two-hours with the Playboy girls, and (2) Willard went to bed with the daughter of the de Marais.

This scene is significant portrayal of American women because it is informed by the sexual stereotype and objectification of women. The use of sexualized women may seem to cater to male audiences, but also reflect the 1960s-social theme in America. In the Playboy scene, Chief gets Miss May to put on her the black wig on her so that she could look like his beloved Miss December. This illuminated the male’s sexual fantasy toward women, which Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, and his theory of the libido, explained the instinct of mental progressions that can trigger erotic attachments.[1] In a nearby abandoned house, Lance was with another Playboy girl, who told him about her life and struggle in her job that men kept making her do things that she did not want to do. Her monologue about her dream of equality (wanted to be heard) and independence (able to make her own decision) partially illustrated the feminist movement in American in the 1960s, which also known as the Second Wave Feminism.[2] The Second Wave Feminism broadened the debates on social and domestic issues, such as domestic violence, birth control, and legal inequality. Although the feminist movement was not presented in the portrayal of women in Apocalypse Now Redux, the audience could sense a different attitude of these Playboy girls in which they expressed their dream of being independent and having a normal life – away from the porno-industry. Nevertheless, it is more effective to include the sexual theme in the film to reach to more audiences because of the social norm and stereotype toward the public images of women.

[1] Octave Mannoni, Freud: Theory of the Unconscious (London: Verso, 1985), 146-147.

[2] The First-Wave Feminism was a period of feminist activity that occurred during the nineteenth century and the early of the twentieth century throughout the Western world. It concentrated on legal issues, primarily fighting for the women suffrage. In America, the end of the first wave linked with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution 1920, which granted women the right to vote. This victory also led to the reform of higher education for women, which also created more opportunities for women in the workplace and profession. However, the rise of unemployment during the Great Depression took a step backward for women because many of them lost their jobs (including men), and not until World War II, women began to serve in the armed forces as secretaries, and nurses, as well as working in the manufacturing industry.

Back                                                                                                                                                                   Next →

(Oliver Stone’s Biography)                                                                                                                                                                                 (We Were Soldiers)