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Barbara Bel Geddes,
The Army nurses on Bataan need help badly, but when it arrives, it sure isn't what they expected. A motley crew, including a Southern belle, a waitress, and a stripper, show up. Many conflicts arise among these women who are thrown together in what is a desperate and ultimately hopeless situation. Written by
The play originally opened in a small theater in Hollywood, California, USA in late September 1942, with the title "Cry Havoc". It opened on Broadway in New York City, New York, USA on 25 December 1942 with the title "Proof Through the Night", but changed the title back to "Cry Havoc" on 30 December 1942, probably because of bad notices. However, it closed on 2 January 1943 after only 11 performances. The opening night cast included Carol Channing and Ann Shoemaker. See more »
Nurses struggle with battle conditions on Philippines during WWII...
CRY HAVOC follows in the tradition of films like SO PROUDLY WE HAIL by dealing exclusively with nurses in the Philippines on active duty during WWII. MARGARET SULLAVAN is the lieutenant in charge of a group of gals including ANN SOTHERN, ELLA RAINES, FRANCES GIFFORD and JOAN BLONDELL, all of whom are inexperienced but have to learn the ropes fast during wartime bombardments.
Based on a play, it barely shows its stage origins and presents a gritty story of nurses under stress doing the best they can under dire circumstances. MARGARET SULLAVAN and FAY BAINTER fret over having to deal with "wet-nosed kids" (as Sullavan calls them), all of them eventually becoming battle hardened after working conditions continually put them in harm's way. Watch for ROBERT MITCHUM in a brief unbilled bit as a dying soldier.
Sullavan and Sothern argue over Sothern's infatuation for a man Sullavan loves and there's some trite dialog among the all-female cast when they get to exchange stories--but it's still an above average melodrama of women nurses during war.
Summing up: Worth it for the gritty wartime bombardments and interesting cast, but don't expect anything great. Richard Thorpe's direction keeps the pace steadfast without too many lulls until the downbeat ending.
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