American Traitor: The Trial of Axis Sally (2021)
January 16, 2023 12:18 PM - Subscribe

The true story of American woman Mildred Gillars (Meadow Williams), dubbed "Axis Sally" for broadcasting Nazi propaganda to American troops, and her trial for treason against the United States after the war. Al Pacino plays her lawyer.

This was produced by Randall Emmett, the guy who made his fortune hiring Bruce Willis, Steven Seagal, etc. for a few days work on a direct-to-video actioner, them promoting it with their name and face prominently on the poster. It was funded by B movie actress Meadow Williams (who plays Gillars) from her own money. She is the widow of the 80-somethong old guy that owned Nature's Plus vitamins. She inherited $800 million and buying her way into movies is pretty much her thing now.

I didn't know any of this going in, it just sounded like the kind of historical drama my spouse likes. But we got suspicious when we saw Williams's performance. Which is uh, not great. Pacino apparently publicly insulted her after they made this.

We made it like twenty minutes in. Maybe you make it further.

18% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on Amazon Prime. Don't rent this.
posted by DirtyOldTown (6 comments total)
Caveat: I haven't seen this movie, and I don't know the history behind the story. But based on the plot description, this seems like a reeeeeally weird choice of vanity projects. Of all the roles to choose, it is really suspect to choose a Nazi propagandist as the character you want to understand and humanize and portray sympathetically (I assume).

Not that I couldn't understand someone wanting to play this role or one like it, if it were offered as a paying job. But I'm very tempted to interpret someone paying for this gig to the tune of however many tens of millions she invested as almost a proclamation of the performer's own fascist sympathies.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:24 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]

You can't tell me not to rent this and send me down a rabbit hole like this woman's career!

I don't know what Pacino said, but I can imagine ...
posted by Countess Elena at 8:24 AM on January 17

Again, we didn't finish, but it looks like they were going down a Mother Night route, sorta. She was maybe forced into doing these things by Goebbels while trapped in Germany. But (and here's where the Vonnegut comes in) even if she didn't mean the things she said/did, didn't she do them/say them? But yeah given that she paid.for the role, it invites questions.

It could have been okay with a better script and a lead who wasn't a mannequin.

Supposedly, the movie had an $18MM budget, with half of that going to Pacino.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:46 AM on January 17

For those who have seen it- is this like the fucking dum-dum's version of Tar?
posted by ishmael at 9:09 AM on January 17

Meaning "you guys are trying to cancel her but it's complicated"!
posted by ishmael at 9:16 AM on January 17

You know how the first time you see Melania Trump, she's pretty and all and "politician's spouse" has a certain degree of expectations, so you expect she's going to speak and sound a certain way? Instead, though, she's oddly stiff, not at all charming, and doesn't even manage the paint-by-numbers baiscs you'd expect from someone in her position?

Meadow Williams is that way for acting. She's the lead, and even accounting for a spectrum of lead actors where some are much better than others, she comes off like they had trouble getting her to stand in the right place or say the right words.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:07 AM on January 17 [3 favorites]

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