I was on Facebook the other day and noticed that Jack Marino’s old friend, actor William Smith, had turned 84. Bill Smith is retired now but among his many film credits you already know him for are such films as Any Which Way You Can with Clint Eastwood, Darker than Amber with Rod Taylor, and Twilight’s Last Gleaming with Burt Lancaster. TV audiences remember him from his role on Rich Man, Poor Man as the evil Falconetti. But he also appeared in literally hundreds of top classic tv shows like “Kung Fu,” “The Bearcats,” “Columbo,” “Mission Impossible,” “Ironside,” “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “Police Woman,” “The Rockford Files,” “Planet of the Apes,” “Kolchak, The Night Stalker,” “SWAT,” “Police Story,” “Logan’s Run,” “Vegas,” “Fantasy Island,” “The Dukes of Hazard” and “The A Team.” And as Conan the Barbarian’s father! And there is another film performance that links him to Errol Flynn. Jack Marino cast him in the role of General Gregori Zelenkov in the 1990 film directed by our own Jack Marino, FORGOTTEN HEROES. Jack even plays a small role in the film himself. See him in the Trailer below chomping on a cigar!
The war in Viet Nam War was deeply unpopular. And if you were in uniform during that war as in all wars you did your duty as well and as bravely as any other soldier in any war throughout history. But when you got home from this war, the welcome was not the same as it was for the heroes of other wars. It was not until years later that any sort of respect for the veterans of the Viet Nam War was recognized. Jack’s film FORGOTTEN HEROES was made to address the overdue respect these veterans deserved and to be a great adventure story as well, and as I was reading more about the film on Facebook (I had seen the DVD release and had a chance to meet William Smith at Jack and Louise’s now legendary 100th birthday centennial for Errol Flynn in Hollywood in 2009, and had Smith sign my copy of the DVD) I noticed a review of the film written by filmmaker Steve Latshaw who was at the party that lasted over five days! Steve had written the review in 2008. It was on Facebook the other day, too. Jack had posted this:
Hollywood is a tough and unforgiving business and when a fellow artist, filmmaker, writer admires your work and puts it in writing, it makes all this struggle worth it.
“I am watching FORGOTTEN HEROES tonight and am reminded of what a beautiful, heartfelt film it is. You’ve seen it so many times it’s impact may be lost on you. It’s truly a great film, beautifully shot. And I loved the nods to Errol, particularly the incredible scene where the surfer has been tortured and asks the Greek to kill him. It reminded me of the great scene in Objective Burma – but you took it further and the emotional impact was profound.
I have made over 35 movies in my career. I have always wanted to make a film that would affect people lives in a profound and positive way. I haven’t yet done so. I’ve often said I’d give up my career if I could make one film like that. You did it right out of the gate.
I am and continue to be in awe of your passion and envious of your talent.
Steve Latshaw – Filmmaker
April 13, 2008
And that is not the only nod to Flynn. Jack, always a Flynn fan, and a friend of the Flynn family, adds a few Flynn touches like dueling shadows, some western style gunplay and even a bit of swordplay! You can’t miss these references if you love dear old Errol and never do these moments get in the way of the exciting story. They just make you smile and appreciate them.
That takes a lot of skill on Jack’s part.
And to help bring a bit of recognition to the veterans of the Viet Nam War Jack decided to donate a portion of every DVD ordered from his Forgotten Heroes the Movie website to benefit veterans.
If you know a veteran, please consider sending them a copy of this extraordinary movie. And share Forgotton Heroes the Movie homepage on a few Social Media for others to see …
Great job, Jack!
— David DeWitt