Here is George Hamilton and I in Phnom Penh, at Hurley Scroggin’s Cantina on the Mekong River in February 2010. George came to Southeast Asia to attend the unveiling of a memorial honoring the memory of journalists and friends who were killed or went missing when the Vietnam War expanded into Cambodia in the early 1970s. Sean Flynn, the son of Errol and an ace photojournalist who disappeared in the Cambodian War, was a close friend of George’s, so he came to pay homage. George fit right into the Southeast Asia expat scene. He stayed at a modest hotel, frequented Hurley’s wonderful dive and motored about town in a flimsy Tuk Tuk while I followed, riding a moto with Tim Page as a passenger. Marianne Harris, Page’s better half, and Michael Hayes, the founder of the Phnom Penh Post, rounded out this memorable entourage.
The search for answers in the McKinley Nolan story continues. In this article in the June 2011 of Vietnam Magazine, just out on newstands, I follow up with McKinley’s brother Michael Nolan as he presses his legal case against the leaders of the Khmer Rouge for the murder of his brother. Thanks to his brilliant Cambodian legal team, Michael was officially accepted as one of a handful of Western plaintiffs in the UN sponsored Khmer Rouge tribunal. And in another rare move, The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan, Henry Corra’s intense documentary film about Michael’s search for his brother was submitted as evidence in the case. The film joins a select company of new documentaries that have appeared as evidence in criminal cases including Joe Berlinger’s Crude: The Real Price of Oil – outtakes were subpoenaed in a pollution lawsuit against Chevron this year – and Marina Zenovich’s Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, which was cited by Polanski’s defense lawyers as they sought to dismiss a statutory rape case against the famous director in 2009.
The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan, an incredible documentary directed by Henry Corra and produced by actor Danny Glover is making another festival run. This article, Lost in the Killing Fields, which appeared in Penthouse in 2008, is a behind the scenes snapshot of the film before it was finished. Just so you get the picture, the greatest journalist of our generation, Jon Lee Anderson, who writes for The New Yorker, called the film “Profoundly moving. An unexpected reminder that in America’s closet labeled ‘Vietnam’ there are not only skeletons, but ghosts.” And globetrotting thespian George Hamilton, who saw the film at a sneak peek screening in Phnom Penh, called the film “A visceral road-run through a landscape of faces, emotions, pain and war. Michael Nolan is an incredible presence; he fills the screen with his tireless and noble spirit.” For more info check out: www.mckinleynolan.com
This article about the crime family that originally inspired David Chase to create the Sopranos was published during the fabled show’s final season. Most pundits were convinced Sam the Plumber DeCavalcante was Tony Soprano’s role model. I argued it was Richie the Boot Boiardo. My argument got lots of pickup by other publications, unfortunately without attribution, probably because the article appeared in Penthouse. Several months after the article hit newstands, Chase finally admitted in court, while defending himself in a lawsuit, that it was the Boot who inspired him. I’m now writing a book about the Boot, a Prohibition-era ganglord whose long career spanned the ’60’s, a halcyon decade for the Garden State mob, and into the ’80’s when the Jersey Mafia slid into decline.
Another blast from the past. This article, which appeared in the prestigious and sophisticated men’s magazine Penthouse a few years back is basically a postscript to THE EAGLE MUTINY (Naval Institute Press 2001), the non-fiction book I wrote with Roberto Loiederman about an incredible true-life mutiny on an American ship during the Vietnam War, and its tragic aftermath. “A tale worthy of Conrad,” wrote TD Allman about the book.
It was recently optioned for a feature film by Academy Award-winning screenwriter/producer William Monahan (The Departed).
The SS Columbia Eagle may set sail again…