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Wake Island (1942)

Approved | | Action, Drama, War | 11 August 1942 (USA)
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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Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

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

America will never forget! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

11 August 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Heldenlegioen  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$826,061 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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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 Japanese 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: [Dressed in civilian clothes] World, here I come!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream (1998) 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

 
Morale boosting war film is solid entertainment much needed during WWII...
8 October 2006 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

Whatever its flaws--stereotypes among soldiers, wartime propaganda using the Wake Island battle as symbolic of America's fight for freedom, weak comic relief--WAKE ISLAND is the kind of story Americans needed to hear during the height of WWII. It begins just before the Pearl Harbor attack when the men were losing their morale to fight against the Japs, then changes once American ships and servicemen are attacked in sneaky fashion at Pearl, to become a story of fighting men who want to avenge what F.D.R. called "a day of infamy".

Forcefully directed by John Farrow, it's a gritty, realistic war drama given occasional relief by ROBERT PRESTON and WILLIAM BENDIX as a pair of squabbling soldiers arguing over re-enlistment. BRIAN DONLEVY plays Maj. Caton with steely-eyed determination and a large male cast of upcoming actors and future stars fills the supporting cast: ALBERT DEKKER, MADONALD CAREY, ROD CAMERON, WALTER ABEL, DANE CLARK, PHILIP TERRY and FRANK FAYLEN.

Similar in content to BATAAN, which also told of American losses against overwhelming odds and had a downbeat ending, the true story of Wake Island is even more downbeat than the film hints. Brutal stories of torture at the hands of Japanese military awaited many who survived the assault on the small island in the Pacific. But that's something you can learn about at The History Channel.

Summing up: A reminder of what sort of films Americans were looking at during the height of WWII--you have to view it in that context.


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