The director of the feature film “Hanoi Hilton,” which depicts the North Vietnamese POW compound where John McCain was held, is being forbidden by a Hollywood studio from promoting the 20th anniversary edition of the DVD or sharing footage of McCain before Election Day, according to Politico.com.
Politico reports the film's writer-director, Lionel Chetwynd, a longtime Hollywood figure and member of the conservative community there, received a warning from a Warner Bros. publicist that showing either the film or a special interview with McCain was “prohibited.”
Chetwynd told a reporter that he and his attorney have been trying to get to the bottom of the situation, but to no avail. Chetwynd was reportedly told the studio didn't want to affect the election in any way.
That, according to Politico, “seems a bit far-fetched considering the impact a bonus feature might have on a national presidential election. The film is a fictional retelling about American POWs held at the infamous North Vietnamese prison where McCain and others were kept during the war, and features a number of composite characters based on real-life prisoners Chetwynd interviewed.”
Chetwynd had spoken with McCain before making the film and recently interviewed him in late May for the upcoming DVD’s bonus features. McCain doesn't say anything that could be considered newsmaking or controversial, according to one person who has seen the edited bonus footage.
Warner Home Video didn't respond immediately to a request for comment.
The report comes as some veteran POWs have expressed mixed feelings about McCain's playing up his Vietnam background over his three decades of public service in the campaign.
“I wish he would use his record in the Senate a little bit more and his POW experience a little bit less,’’ said Render Crayton, who was a U.S. Navy flight instructor to McCain and later was held with McCain as a POW at the Hanoi Hilton. “But his POW status clings to him. You can’t shake it, like a bad penny — as I know.
“I don’t think John is saying being a POW qualifies him to be president,” Crayton told McClatchy Newspapers. “But one thing he learned in prison that would help as president is inner strength, strength to go against conventional wisdom."
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