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Guadalcanal Diary (1943)

Approved | | Drama, War | 27 October 1943 (USA)
The story of a large U.S. Marines invasion task force bound for Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in 1942.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Capt. Davis
...
Jesus ('Soose') Alvarez
...
Pvt. Johnny ('Chicken') Anderson
...
Capt. James Cross
Minor Watson ...
Col. Wallace E. Grayson
...
Ned Rowman
...
Sgt. Butch
...
War correspondent / Narrator
John Archer ...
Lt. Thurmond
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Storyline

Concentrating on the personal lives of those involved, a war correspondent takes us through the preparations, landing and initial campaign on Guadalcanal during WWII. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Victory picture of the year !

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 October 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Richard Tregaskis' Guadalcanal Diary  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The 'Daily Variety' of 28 August 1945 reported that 20th Century-Fox was involved with litigation from Donald Petersen in relation to injuries that he allegedly sustained during production of this movie. It was alleged that Petersen suffered broken ear drums from a dynamite explosion that was exploded prematurely. Petersen was awarded $15,000 in damages in a jury trial, which was then appealed by the studio. See more »

Goofs

In one scene, one of the actors has a Thompson sub-machine gun with a giant ring over the front sight like a sight guard. In real life they don't have sight guards. See more »

Quotes

Cpl. Aloysius T. 'Taxi' Potts: As soon as our planes get here they'll be sorry. They won't look so pretty!
Pvt. Johnny 'Chicken' Anderson: Yeah, but where *are* our planes?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film's opening prologue in the preface of a book states: A new chapter in the history of America by a correspondent who landed on Guadalcanal with the first detachment of United States Marines. See more »

Connections

Featured in The X-Files: Brand X (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

My Old Kentucky Home, Good-Night
(uncredited)
Music by Stephen Foster
Played on the harmonica when the marines are reading their letters
See more »

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User Reviews

 
That's one you taught me Tojo!
13 November 2005 | by (Brooklyn NY USA) – See all my reviews

Hard hitting war movie about the first land offensive by the US in the Pacific Theater of War. Linking up with a US Navy battle task force in the South Pacific, in late July 1942, a US Marine troop ship gets the word that it's men are to be part of the invasion of the Japanese held Solomon Islands landing at a place called Gudalcanal.

Heading the invasion force is Marine Col.Wallace Grayson, Minor Watson, of the 1st. Marine Div. who's told to expect stiff resistance when his men hit the beach. As D-Day, August 7, 1942, approaches there's an eerie feeling among the Marines on deck that this first land battle is going to be a lot different then any thing that they could possibly imagined, they were right.

Powerhouse cast headed by Marine Chaplin Father Donnelly, Preston Foster, with tough as nails Marine Sgt. Hook Malone, Llyod Noland, and young 17 year old Richard Jackel as the baby-face and non-shaving Pvt. Johnny "Chicken" Anderson storm ashore on Gaudalcanal only to find that the Japanese are nowhere to be found and the "stiff resistance" that they expected was almost non-existent. Caught off guard and by surprise the Japanese defenders took off in the jungles and caves on the island. It's there that they waited to be reinforces by fresh Nippon army and marine units from the neighboring Japanese-held islands of Rabaul and Bouganinvillea.

With the US Marines capturing the Japanese air-field on the island, renaming it Henderson Field, and having much needed supplies flown in everything look up for the leathernecks and the battle of Guadalcanal seems just about over. The truth later turned out to be that the battle only began and would last some eight months. In the end Gaudalcanal would cost the US Marines Army and Navy some 20,000 casualties by the time it was over.

Far more realistic then most of the movies made by Hollywood in WWII about WWII "Guadalcanal Diary" keeps the action up and the the false heroics down. Making the Marines in the movie more human with real emotions and feeling about surviving the battle and coming back home when the war's finally over.

We also see the Japanese as both tough and effective, as well as cunning,soldiers not the wild-eyed and mindless fanatics were used to seeing, in the many war movies released back then. Thus giving the American public a better idea of what the men in both the US Marines and Army were fighting in the war in the Pacific.

The US Marines at first being told by a captured Japanese soldier that his unit is ready to surrender send a patrol to the off-shore island village of Matanikau only to find that the Japanese troops waiting for them. In an ambush the Japanese wiped out the entire Marine patrol, including it's commanding officer Capt. Cross ,Roy Roberts. Cpt. Alvarez, Anthony Quinn, was the only survivor who escapes by swimming out at sea. It now becomes apparent that the Japanese are not giving up that easily and the Maines dig in for the major battles that are soon to come.

In a tough sea air and land campaign the US and Japanese forces slug it out as the Japanese Navy tries to cut off reinforcements to the Marines on the Island. Leaving them isolated and sitting ducks for their massive naval and air attacks. The fighting goes on unabated until the US finally breaks through the Japanese blockade. As new Army as well as Marine unites land on the Island, and on Novermber 11, 1942 launch a major counter-attack that clears Gudalcanal of Japanese troops. The Japanese, unlike in the movie, were successfully evacuated by sea not massacred on the beaches by the Marines and GI's. Still the battle of Gudalcanal was the first of many Japanese held island taken by US forces that eventually lead to the defeat of Japan in the late summer of 1945.

With all the action and heroics in the movie the most moving scene in the film is when the Marines, underground in their bunker, are being hit by a nerve wracking and murderous Japanese naval and air bombardment. The Marines acted like you would expect to act under the same circumstances, scared and afraid. Cpl. Aloysius "Taxi" Potts, William Bendix, put it best when he says "I'm no hero I'm just a guy I've come out her because somebody had to come, I don't want no medals I just want to get this over with and go back home".


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