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Wake Island (1942)

Approved  |   |  Action, Drama, War  |  11 August 1942 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,258 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 15 critic

December, 1941. With no hope of relief or re-supply, a small band of United States Marines try to keep the Japanese Navy from capturing their island base.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Title: Wake Island (1942)

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 4 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Maj. Geoffrey Caton
Macdonald Carey ...
Lt. Bruce Cameron
...
Pvt. Joe Doyle
...
Pvt. Aloysius K. 'Smacksie' Randall
...
Shad McClosky
...
Cmdr. Roberts
Mikhail Rasumny ...
Ivan Probenzky
Rod Cameron ...
Capt. Pete Lewis
Bill Goodwin ...
Sgt. Higbee / Narrator
Damian O'Flynn ...
Capt. Bill Patrick
...
Johnny Rudd
Edit

Storyline

In November 1941, Major Caton takes command of the small Marine garrison on Wake Island. His tendency toward spit and polish upsets the men's tropical lassitude, but Pearl Harbor changes everything. Soon the island is attacked and the Marines pull together day by day; but how long can they hold out? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Leathernecks . . writing another glorious chapter of purposeful courage in America's history! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

11 August 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Heldenlegioen  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In real life most of the survivors were sent to Japanese prison camps but 98 civilian construction workers were held on the island to help the Japanese with their defenses. After the Americans conducted a successful air raid in October 1943, the civilians were machine-gunned to death. A lone survivor escaped and later carved a message on a coral rock on the mass grave where they were hastily buried. He was later captured and beheaded. When the island fell in 1945, the commander responsible for the massacre was executed. See more »

Goofs

During one of the scenes showing the bombardment of the island, the Marine CO has ordered the observation tower evacuated. Later scenes show two men still in the tower when it is destroyed. See more »

Quotes

Pvt. Aloysius K. 'Smacksie' Randall: The dumber those guys get, the more stripes you get.
Pvt. Joe Doyle: You oughta look like a zebra.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Best of Film Noir (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Marine Hymn
(uncredited)
Music by Jacques Offenbach ("Gendarme's Duet") 1867
Heard under opening credirs
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Enemy on island; issue in doubt
12 June 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I have actually been to Wake Island and was able to explore the history that took place there in December, 1941. A sign stating "Where America's Day Really Begins" greets you on the airstrip as you disembark, reflecting the fact that they are on the other side of the date line. Inside the terminal, a small museum containing relics of the war tells the story of the Marines and civilian contractors stationed there.

I began viewing the relics with no knowledge of what had occurred, and was originally only interested in them as an antique novelty. It was after I began reading the stories that accompanied the items, put together by survivor's, as I stood there on no more than a couple hundred yards of sand, that the magnitude of what they must have faced hit me. On each subsequent visit I would try to learn more about the battle, exploring the dunes and eventually reading a few books containing survivor's reports. With that said, the viewing of the film was a bit spoiled.

I have a difficult time seeing the film as little more than propaganda designed to feed an already salivating audience looking for revenge in post-Pearl Harbor America. The true story of Wake Island is not one of a Marine Battalion's last stand, it is one of a reeling Pacific Fleet following the Pearl Harbor attacks that called off a rescue effort. It is a story of civilian contractors that were forced into labor, then executed. It is a story of Marines that would spend years as POWs enduring treatment unimaginable to most people reading these comments. It is the story of the families that would wait with uncertainty about the fate of their loved ones.

Wake Island is a good war drama, but other than location and date it offers little in the way of historical accuracy. To treat it as realistic does an injustice to the brave Americans who fought there.


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