30 November 2012 7:43 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Hollywood embellished history for this account of Us troops retaking Burma – realistic if you forget that their allies did most of the legwork

Director: Raoul Walsh

Entertainment grade: B+

History grade: D–

During the second world war, Japanese forces occupied Burma. Allied forces began their campaign to retake it in 1944.


Objective, Burma! begins with Us general Joseph Stilwell planning the invasion of Burma. "Here's where we start paying back the Japs," he growls, chewing on a cigarette in a dainty holder. General Stilwell did indeed smoke a cigarette in a holder, though you wouldn't have dared take the mickey out of it. He had one of the sharpest tongues in the army, earning him the nickname "Vinegar Joe", and didn't soften it for anyone – not even his good lady wife. "We have had a hard scrap in this bitched-up jungle," reads one typical billet-doux he sent her from Burma »

- Alex von Tunzelmann

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