An Unlikely Weapon – an inspirational film narrated by Kiefer Sutherland which includes interviews with notables such as Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Morley Safer, Gordon Parks, Bill Eppridge and President Bill Clinton (to name a few) – is the chilling story behind a photograph that some say ended the Vietnam War.
Produced and directed by Susan Morgan Cooper, An Unlikely Weapon will have a platform release in select cities throughout the U.S. and will be opening in Los Angeles on July 10th at the Laemmle Theatre. The film will be opening in the following cities thereafter: Santa Ana, Chicago, Palm Springs, Boston, Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis, Austin, Houston, Dallas, Santa Fe, San Francisco, Baltimore, Fort Lauderdale, Sedona, Indianapolis, Scottsdale, Washington, D.C., Miami, San Diego, New Orleans and others.
In 1968, while covering the war for the Associated Press, Eddie Adams photographed a Saigon police chief, General Nguyen Ngoc Loan, shooting a Vietcong guerilla point blank. Ironically, it was Adams’ shot that was heard around the world, taken at 1/500th of a second!
The photo brought Adams’ fame and a Pulitzer, but the man he had vilified haunted him. Adams would later say, “Two lives were destroyed that day – the victim’s and the general.” Yet others would say, three lives were destroyed.
Eddie Adams, like most artists, was tortured by his need for perfection. Nothing he did ever satisfied him. He carved out many careers, shooting covers for Life, Time, and even Penthouse. Yet, somehow, Adams was always pulled back into documenting wars – 13 all together. Finally he hit the wall and couldn’t take it anymore. He began shooting celebrities because “it doesn’t take anything from you.” Adams was comfortable with kings and coal miners. During his time with Parade Magazine, he photographed Clint Eastwood, Louis Armstrong, Mother Teresa, and Pope John Paul.
Still haunted by General Loan (the perpetrator in his photo), Adams visited him 30 years later in a pizza shop in Virginia. Scribbled on the wall of a bathroom stall are the words “we know who you are, you f&%ker!”
Adams’ camera was his most powerful weapon, but it failed to protect him from himself.
Shot over four decades, An Unlikely Weapon provides a rare, behind-the-scenes look at a war and a nation in turmoil. Adams’ personal life seems to parallel the hell he witnesses on the front line through his camera lens, and ironically, leaves a blood stain on his own soul that he can never seem to wash away.
Adams died before the film was started, but Cooper was determined to tell Adams’ story. While many people are familiar with his photograph, few people know much about the man who captured it. Filmmaker Susan Morgan Cooper weaves history, art and masterful storytelling to create a cinematic tapestry that is both disturbing and inspiring.