Consistently — and, based on what I’ve heard from friends I’ve made in other parts of the country, almost everywhere — the Korean War gets the shaft when it comes to a historical conveyance to middle and high school students. Its overview, even the most basic rationale for its waging, are frequently given no more than a handful of sentences, crammed in between “sexier” lesson plans on World War II and the Vietnam War. The result is an entire generation that can literally tell you almost nothing about the conflict beyond the words 38th Parallel and whatever else they gleaned from Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”
Endeavoring to rectify that situation is Unforgettable: The Korean War, which examines the intriguing and in many ways uniquely
tragic history behind a war that has yet to end through exclusive
interviews with some of the veterans who experienced it firsthand. Written and directed by Tom Kleespie, this solid, easily digestible hour-long PBS documentary takes as its hypothetical audience an age group somewhere between today’s inquisitive college students and flag-waving boomers just now emerging from a cocoon of corporate-mandated office drudgery and catching up on their history. Its slick setting of scene is perhaps what it most has going for it — Korean War veterans recount their memories of America in the late 1940s and early 1950s, when young men from all over the country were being shipped off to defend South Korea against the advancing Red Army in the north. The juxtaposition of home life and the discovery of harsh, on-the-ground reality draw evocative comparisons, and if the macro political calculations that went into its waging are still painted in broad strokes, the “un-won” war that never really ended, and yet killed tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers and affected many more lives at home, at least finally comes into focus in for those who would have liked to learn more in school, but were failed by various teachers too busy “teaching to the test” of the moment to tread too far from the textbook.
Housed in a regular plastic Amaray case, Unforgettable: The Korean War comes to DVD presented in 1.78:1 widescreen, with an English language stereo track and static menu screen. There are unfortunately no supplemental bonus materials. To purchase the DVD, click here. B- (Movie) D (Disc)