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It will be released in November. The studio today unveiled the first poster for the film—intriguingly, it doesn’t mention Gibson, but sharp-eyed movie goers will get it, and won’t miss the subtle but distinct presence of a cross:
“Hacksaw Ridge” tells the true story of Desmond Doss, a devout Seventh-day Adventist who became the first conscientious objector to win the Medal of Honor.
As the studio’s press department puts it:
HACKSAW RIDGE is the extraordinary true story of WWII medic Desmond Doss, played by Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spiderman), who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, miraculously saved 75 men in a matter of hours without firing or carrying a gun. He was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon, except the simple prayer he uttered before he single-handedly evacuated the wounded from behind enemy lines, under constant enemy gunfire and artillery bombardment. Doss’ courage and faith won the admiration of his commanders and fellow soldiers, as he saved the lives of the very men who had persecuted him for refusing to carry a gun. He believed the war was just, but to kill under any circumstance was wrong. Doss was labeled the first conscientious objector (he called himself a “conscientious cooperator” as he volunteered) to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. Hacksaw Ridge is directed by Mel Gibson (Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ) and also stars Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, Teresa Palmer, Luke Bracey, Hugo Weaving, and Rachel Griffiths. Coming to theaters nationwide November 4, 2016.
One of the screenwriters is Randall Wallace, who wrote “Braveheart” and “We Were Soldiers.” He may be best known to Christian movie audiences for directing “Heaven Is For Real.” It may also be noteworthy that the movie was developed by Walden Media, which has been involved in such values-affirming films as “The BFG,” “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “Amazing Grace.”
Meantime, here’s more on Doss, from The New York Times obit in 2006:
Mr. Doss, a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, was guided all through his years by a framed poster of the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer that his father bought at an auction when he was growing up in Lynchburg, Va. That poster depicted Cain holding a club with the slain Abel beneath him.
“And when I looked at that picture, I came to the Sixth Commandment, ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ ” Mr. Doss told Larry Smith in “Beyond Glory,” an oral history of Medal of Honor winners. “I wondered, how in the world could a brother do such a thing? It put a horror in my heart of just killing, and as a result I took it personally: ‘Desmond, if you love me, you won’t kill.’ “
When Mr. Doss was drafted in April 1942 after working in a shipyard, he was given conscientious objector status, having declined to bear arms because of his religious principles. He became a medic, the only way he could adhere to the Sixth Commandment as well as the Fourth Commandment, to honor the Sabbath. Seventh-day Adventists consider Saturday the Sabbath, but Mr. Doss felt he could serve as a medic seven days a week since, as he put it, “Christ healed on the Sabbath.”
While training at stateside posts, Private Doss faced harassment from fellow soldiers for his devotion to prayer and his refusal to handle weapons or work on the Sabbath. At one point, he recalled, an officer sought to have him discharged on the ground of mental illness.
He went overseas with the 307th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division, in the summer of 1944 and served as a combat medic on Guam and at Leyte in the Philippines, receiving the Bronze Star, before taking part in the battle for Okinawa in the spring of 1945.
Private Doss was accompanying troops in the battle for a 400-foot-high ridge on Okinawa, the Maeda Escarpment, on Saturday, May 5 — his Sabbath — when the Japanese counterattacked. Many of the Americans were driven off the ridge, but wounded soldiers were stranded atop it.
Private Doss remained with the wounded, and, according to his Medal of Honor citation, he refused to seek cover, carrying them, one by one, in the face of enemy fire. He lowered each man on a rope-supported litter he had devised, using double bowline knots he had learned as a youngster and tying the makeshift litter to a tree stump serving as an anchor. Every wounded man was lowered to a safe spot 35 feet below the ridgetop, and then Private Doss came down the ridge unscathed.
After engaging in additional rescue efforts under fire over the next two weeks, Private Doss was wounded by a grenade that riddled him with shrapnel. He cared for his injuries alone for five hours, rather than have another medic emerge from cover to help him. While he was finally being carried off on a litter, he spotted a soldier who seemed worse off. He leaped off the litter, directing his aid men to help the other soldier.
He was given the Medal of Honor by President Truman in October of 1945.