This documentary movie is about the battle of San Pietro, a small village in Italy. Over 1,100 US soldiers were killed while trying to take this location, that blocked the way for the ... See full summary »
The final entry in a trilogy of films produced for the U.S. government by John Huston. This documentary film follows 75 U.S. soldiers who have sustained debilitating emotional trauma and ... See full summary »
Japanese Not A Sitting Target As Death Visits Tarawa Atoll.
Winner of an Academy Award in 1945 for Best Documentary Short Subject, this brief (less than 20 minutes) piece provides highly dramatic footage of the 20/22 November 1943 assault by an American combined military force upon Japanese-held Tarawa Atoll, a Pentagon size islet that housed a strategically important air base for Japan, being located at the outer rim of its Pacific defense formation. Over a 76 hour period, nearly 10,000 lives were lost during fierce fighting that pitted the Second U.S. Marine Division against resolute opposition, visually recorded here as it occurred by 19 Division cinematographers under the supervision of Captain Louis Hayward, well-known film actor who, in addition to acquiring the Academy Award, earned a Bronze Star for his efforts. The film's initial scenes depict the approach, by U.S. Naval and Coast Guard convoy, of the Marines, supported by carrier aircraft, and we watch as sealed orders are physically transferred by steel cable between a transport to the command vessel, divulging the mission objective, following which troops prepare extra ammunition for loading, exercise to allay tension, and receive a briefing from their officers along with a blessing from the Division chaplain. The actual attack upon Tarawa is preceded by a four hour bombardment of the atoll from Naval artillery and aircraft that consumed more than four million pounds of explosives, for what was hoped would have a highly destructive effect upon an entrenched enemy. However, the defenders were not to be caught flat-footed, and before the gruelling battle was over, 1009 Marine and Naval personnel had died. It was one of the most savagely fought struggles within the Pacific Theater during the Second World War, and matters were made more difficult for the Americans due to drastic misreading of tide patterns by their leaders. This bungle becomes particularly meaningful after a viewer observes a religious service given by a Roman Catholic priest the night prior to opening of hostilities during which, as the camera eye pans over young Marine faces, the narrator states flatly: "Many of these men were killed the following morning." This concise but engrossing military documentary garnered an Academy Award for Warner Brothers, while its co-production unit, United States Office of War Information, would be able to take credit for sharply increasing the sale of war bonds to an aroused citizenry.
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