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 »
This is the story of the crew of a downed bomber, captured after a run over Tokyo, early in the war. Relates the hardships the men endure while in captivity, and their final humiliation: ... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Roy Roberts, who plays Capt. Cross, seems to have doubled as the voice of the radio sportscaster. See more »
Japanese Type 97 grenades were primed by pulling the pin first and then hitting the striker hard against something hard (A rock or a helmet) to ignite the primer before throwing. During the battle at the cliffs, a Japanese soldier pulls the pin in a grenade and tosses it immediately without striking the pin. See more »
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 »
Probably about as good a war movie as you were gonna get back then
Considering that this was a WWII movie released in 1943,while the war was still going and a ways from being resolved,this movie was probably as effective and convincing as you were going to get for the period. Certainly,given the state of the nation's need to keep the national morale up for the war effort,anything too graphic or too gritty would(besides probably raise the dander of the censorship standards of the day)probably would've deflated the efforts to get stateside citizenry to buying war bonds,cutting usage of certain products(metals come first to mind)and probably would've helped undercut the Roosevelt administrations efforts to keep the war push at the rate it was going. If it's too soft,it becomes mostly jingoistic and loses just about all of the entertainment value it could possibly have. Fortunately(perhaps by design,maybe not),the makers of this movie were able to strike the right--if perhaps unremarkable--balance.
Being a grandchild of the generations being showcased here(erstwhile known by some as "The Greatest Generation"),I have only stories told or written about the two theaters of war effort,not to mention the movies. Of course,as more years would pass between the conclusion of that war,the movies that would be made(many of them sprung from books)would become grittier,harsher,a little less glossy or idealistic,and ultimately,more graphically violent. THerefore,I(And I'm guessing many of my generation)could view this movie somewhat jadedly: the dialog is so simple and full of gaps that it almost feels like it could be parodied on Mystery Science Theatre 3000,add in the fact that many of the "kills" and soldiers dropping dead are noticeably staged and forced looking and you have a film that might have a hard time being instantly compelling to people who've seen things ranging from The Great EScape to Saving Private Ryan. Still,there ARE saving graces to this movie that make it stand the test of time:
--The earnest and no-nonsense portrayal of battle and the basic emotions between MArines,from deployment aboard a battleship carrier,right on through the two month battle to claim and seal off the island,is honest enough that anyone who's been through battle,known someone who has been(or still is)at war can feel some common relationship with the characters in the film. Some poignant lines are spoken by the perceived comic relief of the film(a brash,slightly dense private from Brooklyn played by luggish William Bendix)and the wise yet quietly strong chaplain(Preston Brooks),among others,to give this film some heft and
--The battle scenes are concise and tight,showcasing plenty of gunfire,explosions,bombings and other various forms of combat violence WITHOUT being tedious or trivial. They are not neat,pretty or always with the desirable outcomes,but they are neither futile nor random.
MOst of the characters here seem like composites,no doubt probably an amalgam of (Mostly)young MArines and Army men that script co-writer(with Lamar Trotti) and book source writer Richard Tregaskis met while covering the Pacific Theatre of Operations in the war. I imagine there was pressure on the studio and director Lewis Seiler to crank out this film as fast as possible to stoke the fires of stateside interest in the war effort,so if the finished product doesn't exactly shine,I think he and the people making this movie can be forgiven. All in all,this is a film to recommend for those who are curious about movies set around WWII,particularly films about it that are IN the moment,when America was only able to have so much perspective on it.
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