So Proudly We Hail!
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Warning! This synopsis may contain spoilers

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In 1942, an Army plane brings eight nurses from the Philippines to Australia. They are the only female survivors from the hard-hit Army base in Corregidor,and are put aboard a ship to the US. Their leader, Lt. Janet 'Davy' Davidson (Claudette Colbert), does not speak, and the doctor on board asks the nurses to tell their story so he can try to help her.

In 1941, these peacetime army nurses were traveling to Hawaii for their assignment. After Pearl Harbor they are diverted to meet a convoy of ships. When one ship is torpedoed, they pick up survivors. Cold Lt. Olivia D'Arcy (Veronica Lake) is added to the nurse group, but is downright hostile. Finally she divulges that her fianc died at Pearl Harbor, she tried and failed to kill herself, and now she just wants the Japanese dead.

Lt. Joan O'Doul (Paulette Goddard) begins a flirtation with Kansas (Sonny Tufts) but refuses to get too involved. Lt. John Summers (George Reeves) and Davy keep running into each other aboard ship, clicking in a more understated way.

The nurses are assigned to a hospital in Bataan, under overworked head nurse Capt. 'Ma' McGregor (Mary Servoss). When Davy finds out that Olivia was assigned to care for the Japanese prisoners, she rushes there, but finds that Olivia could not bring herself to harm them.

Due to the approach of the enemy, the camp is evacuated. At the last moment Joan rushes back to get her beloved black nightgown, delaying the nurses departure and killing their escorts. The Japanese are so close that escape seems impossible, so Olivia grabs a grenade and steps grimly toward them. When she pulls the pin, sacrificing her life and killing the enemy, the nurses are able to escape.

Their next hospital is little more than beds in a jungle, caring for thousands of wounded men. Malaria and dysentery are rampant and supplies are scarce. Everyone is stunned when they learn that General Douglas MacArthur has left the island and that the supply convoy was sunk.

After moving to another base, Davy realizes that Joan has been overworking to try to compensate for the loss of Olivia. The Japanese bombard the hospital, killing and wounding many. Orders are received to evacuate Bataan, and everyone crowds the roads heading for the harbor at Marivles. Everything that floats is used to escape to the island of Corregidor.

In the tunnels of Corregidor, constant air raids and no supplies increase the pressure on the nurses. Desperation for supplies finally forces the assembly of a small group of men who will try to reach Mindanao. John is one of the volunteers, but he and Davy decide to marry before he goes. After his departure, secret orders are given to evacuate the nurses simply to prevent them being captured: it is obvious that Corregidor will be lost. Davy does not want to leave because she fears for John. Word comes that the volunteer mission failed, and Davy goes into speechless shock.

The nurses finish telling the whole story to the doctor. He locates a letter from John, written during his mission and given to someone before pressing on. It includes the deed to his farm in American. At the time of writing he was safe, and hopes to meet her there after the war. However, he also states that even if he doesn't survive, the effort of fighting the war is worth his sacrifice, for the freedom of the United States. Hearing his words, Davy is roused from her catatonia and speaks. She lifts her face and smiles.


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