Japan has just invaded the Phillipines and the US Army attempts a desperate defence. Thirteen men are chosen to blow up a bridge on the Bataan peninsula and keep the Japanese from ... See full summary »
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Robert Z. Leonard
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José Briz Méndez
Japan has just invaded the Phillipines and the US Army attempts a desperate defence. Thirteen men are chosen to blow up a bridge on the Bataan peninsula and keep the Japanese from rebuilding it. Written by
My Mom saw this movie at the time it was released and said it gave her more nightmares than any horror film she ever saw. It is still violent today and must have been shockingly brutal back in the day.
Yes, you can say some of the soldiers are clichéd, but death is shown unflinchingly. Combat is portrayed as a bloody, messy, fatigue-inducing business. Boredom and endless waiting take their toll on nerves as well. The banter and cocky talk is whistling past the graveyard.
Lloyd Nolan's character is rough and unlikeable. He fights for freedom, but he fights dirty and he doesn't pretty things up with patriotic speeches. Some might complain about the black soldier playing harmonica and taking orders from white men. Actually, for the time, he was portrayed with dignity and shown to be as brave as any of the other soldiers. As for Robert Taylor, his weariness and resolve at the end are stirring and the last scene is not one you will soon forget.
Ignoring the propaganda aspects of the movie, the last half works as almost a pure horror movie, as our cast gets gruesomely picked off by unseen foes lurking in the jungle.
Exciting and gripping, it's easy to overlook the faults of this most violent and gritty of WW2 films made at the time.
"Bushido, Bushwa! You stink!" So died the heroes of Bataan...
9 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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