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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
'Cry Havoc' is Richard Thorp's 1943 film about the courageous women Army nurses and volunteers on Bataan during WWII. The film suffers a bit from showing it's stage origins, but offers a terrific ensemble cast of actresses, all giving top-notch performances.
Margaret Sullavan is wonderful as Lt. Smith, an Army nurse secretly married against the rules to an officer on Bataan. She is suffering from malignant malaria, but refuses to leave Bataan for treatment, wanting to be near her husband, but also unwilling to desert the overworked nurses and volunteers. Sullavan was always great at suffering nobly on film (as in 'Three Comrades,' 1938), and again gives a beautiful, moving performance as the dedicated nurse, keeping both her marriage and illness to herself.
Ann Sothern and Joan Blondell share top billing with Sullavan and give terrific support as two of the volunteers. Blondell is funny as the former Vaudeville performer who entertains the other women with a demonstration of her old striptease act. And Ann Sothern, who was sooooooo beautiful, is marvelous as the tough, straight-talking waitress with her sights set on an Army officer, unaware he's Sullavan's husband.
The supporting cast includes Fay Bainter, Marsha Hunt, Ella Raines, Heather Angel and Connie Gilcrest, all excellent, and a bit by young Robert Mitchum as a dying soldier.
Not a classic WWII film, but recommended for fans of the actresses.
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