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Bataan (1943) Poster

(1943)

Trivia

Desi Arnaz has said it was his idea to recite the Latin prayer "Mea Culpa" during his character's death scene. It was a prayer he learned as a boy in Cuba.
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At the very end, when Robert Taylor throws down his Thompson submachine gun and goes to the .30-cal. machine gun, as he starts firing he's yelling at the oncoming Japanese soldiers. As the ending music cuts in, you can still see him yelling and when you lip read what he says, he clearly says "Come on, you sons of bitches!!" which was revolutionary for a 1943 movie.
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MGM paid RKO $6,500 for the right to use scenes from The Lost Patrol (1934) in this movie. In his autobiography, MGM executive Dore Schary refers to this film as a remake of that one.
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The NAACP gave MGM two awards for presenting an African-American in an intelligent and sympathetic manner. Dore Schary deliberately did not tell writer Robert Hardy Andrews he was planning to cast an African-American as one of the soldiers, in order to avoid any racial speeches in the script.
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The character name Cpl. Juan Katigbak (played by Roque Espiritu) was changed from its original name of Cpl. Jesus Katigbay.
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The film was criticized for being too studio-bound.
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The helmets used by the American soldiers in the film are actually WW1 M1917 helmets. By 1941/42 they would in fact be using the M1917a1 helmet, an improved version of the typical doughboy helmet.
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The Call Bureau Cast Service lists Lynne Carver and Dorothy Morris as "Nurses", but they were not identifiable in the movie, although one nurse is seen from the rear and another in long-shot. Also Richard Derr was said to be a cast member and Mary Elliott a "Nurse" in contemporary news items; they also were not seen in the movie.
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This is one of a handful of feature films that have featured the story of the World War II Battle of Bataan. They include So Proudly We Hail! (1943); They Were Expendable (1945) and Back to Bataan (1945).
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This film was first telecast in Los Angeles Tuesday 29 January 1957 on KTTV (Channel 2), followed by Seattle Friday 1 February 1957 on KING (Channel 5), by Minneapolis Sunday 3 February 1957 on KMGM (Channel 9) and by Hartford CT Saturday 9 February 1957 on WHCT (Channel 18); in Chicago it first aired 23 March 1957 on WBBM (Channel 2) , in Philadelphia 10 May 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6), in Norfolk VA 11 May 1957 on WTAR (Channel 13), in New Haven CT 17 May 1957 on WNHC (Channel 8), and in Altoona PA 12 July 1957 on WFBG (Channel 10), but not in New York City until 4 January 1958 on WCBS (Channel 2) and in San Francisco 3 August 1958 on KGO (Channel 7).
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This is one of few contemporary World War II films to feature an American soldier who was an African-American. As such, the movie was not shown in parts of the American South. The book "The Films of World War II" notes that producer Dore Schary said that letters of complaint were received by the studio.
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The Bataan of the title refers to both the World War II Battle of Bataan and the region called Bataan, which is a Central Luzon province on Luzon island in the Philippines, which occupies the whole of the Bataan Peninsula on the island.
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Brian Locke, in his article "Strange Fruit: White, Black, and Asian in the World War II Combat Film 'Bataan' " published in the "Journal of Popular Film and Television", states the film "successfully made white viewers aware . . . of the inherent sadism in the American lynching ritual" and in this film there was a shifting of "the respective relations of the black and the Asian to the white norm, as the film adjusted to a wartime context."
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This film's dedication states that it is dedicated to the heroes of Bataan.
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Richard Widmark was originally considered for the role of Purkett, which was ultimately played by Robert Walker.
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Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
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