7.0/10
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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:

Tougher than Leather . . . Harder to Kill! Daring Americans Fighting Against All Odds! 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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Sklar in his book "Movie-Made America: A Cultural History of American Movies" states that this movie was the " . . . first of many to dramatize American war heroics for the home front." See more »

Goofs

Wake island defenders did not have a dog. 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

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

Soundtracks

Aloha Oe
("Farewell to Thee") (uncredited)
Composed by Queen Liliuokalani (as Lili'oukalani) 1877
Heard as marines leave Hawaii.
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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