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With the Marines at Tarawa (1944)

 -  Documentary | Short | War  -  2 March 1944 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 108 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 1 critic

Documentary short film depicting the harrowing battle between the U.S. Marines and the Japanese for control of the Pacific island of Tarawa.

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(uncredited)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Alexander Bonnyman Jr. ...
Himself - USMC, leads assault on shelter top (unconfirmed)
John Borich ...
Himself - USMC, with Niehoff, shoots flame at shelter top
Merritt A. Edson ...
Himself - USMC, salutes flag (unconfirmed)
H.W. Hill ...
Himself - USN (as Adm. Harry Hill)
Harry Niehoff ...
Himself - USMC, with Borich, lobs bomb on shelter top
David M. Shoup ...
Himself - USMC, confers with his staff (unconfirmed)
Holland M. Smith ...
Himself - USMC (as Gen. Holland Smith)
Julian C. Smith ...
Himself - USMC (as Gen. Julian Smith)
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Storyline

Documentary short film depicting the harrowing battle between the U.S. Marines and the Japanese for control of the Pacific island of Tarawa.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | Short | War

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 March 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La guerre du Pacifique - With the marines at Tarawa  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Sepiatone)| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Two Marine photographers were killed while filming this documentary. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Utmost Savagery
11 January 2013 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

It's a documentary, mostly in color, made about the landing of US Marines on Tarawa, basically the first time an amphibious operation was launched against organized resistance in the war.

And it's well done for what it is, a short film designed to boost morale at home. A lot of splendid and brave combat photographers accompanied the Marines in their slog across the small, low-lying sandy atoll. Some of the footage is startling -- half a dozen enemy soldiers running the gauntlet some 50 yards away while Marine riflemen try to bring them down, with both the Japanese and Americans in the same frame.

They wouldn't make it this way today. The Japanese are "Japs." And their resistance is "fanatic." Instead of the monumental foul up of landing craft stuck on the reef -- a mistake due to inaccurate charts -- and the infantry having to wade across hundred of yards in the lagoon, sometimes drowning but always under enemy fire, we hear simply that "the Marines had to wade ashore." The enemy had been preparing for weeks for the invasion and were well dug in. The naval bombardment wasn't long enough and there were difficulties in communicating from shore to ship. A low atoll is a difficult target. And, like Porter Alexander's bombardment of Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg, many shells overshot the little island or bounced off it to explode in the sea on its far side. None of this is brought up.

If it were being made today, surely the heroics of the actor, Eddie Albert, would be mentioned. He commanded a salvage boat carrying gasoline that rescued many wounded and stranded infantrymen while under heavy small arms fire.

The errors and bad luck that plagued the operation aren't described for what I would presume to be a simple reason. Why give away the lessons you've learned to the enemy? It was a hellish battle, which only a handful of Japanese soldiers and Korean laborers survived. And this film provides a good overall sketch of the assault with a surprising amount of up-front combat footage.


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