Chapter 1 presents popular midcentury American representations of the South Korean ally during the Korean War. It reads two contrasting portraits of an informal “service corps” of Korean civilians instituted by the US Army. The chapter considers elitist scorn and middlebrow sympathy for these unknown allies. It then goes on to read key films that present lesser and then forgotten South Korean friends: The Steel Helmet, Battle Hymn, Pork Chop Hill, and The Manchurian Candidate. All of these films present grim skirmishes of unclear political significance, and the readings bring out a reliance on the war orphan and the erasure of the allied South Korean soldier as key, defining constraints for representing the war.
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