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Objective, Burma! (1945)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 17 February 1945 (USA)
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A platoon of special ops are tasked to parachute into the remote Burmese jungle and destroy a strategic Japanese radar station, but getting out isn't as easy.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
SSgt. Treacy
...
Lt. Sid Jacobs
...
Cpl. Gabby Gordon
...
Mark Williams
Warner Anderson ...
Col. J. Carter
...
Hogan
...
Lt. Barker (as Stephen Richards)
...
Pvt. Nebraska Hooper (as Dick Erdman)
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Storyline

A group of men parachute into Japanese-occupied Burma with a dangerous and important mission: to locate and blow up a radar station. They accomplish this well enough, but when they try to rendezvous at an old air-strip to be taken back to their base, they find Japanese waiting for them, and they must make a long, difficult walk back through enemy-occupied jungle. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Adventure | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

17 February 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Objective Burma  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The story was partially inspired by "Operation Loincloth," a 1943 long-range operation in Burma by the British Chindits. However, producer Jerry Wald also admitted that much of the screenplay was based on Northwest Passage (1940), a film about the adventures of a long-range ranger unit during the French & Indian War. See more »

Goofs

The large trees near the village are Eucalyptus trees, only found growing wild in Australia, though there are large groves in California. See more »

Quotes

Mark Williams: What if my parachute doesn't open?
Capt. Nelson: Then you'll be the first one on the ground.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: "I claim we got a beating. We got run out of Burma and its humiliating as well. I'll go over the mountains into India and rake up an army. I'll supply them there, train them, and some day I'll lead them back into Burma." Joseph W. Stilwell GENERAL, U.S. ARMY See more »

Connections

Featured in Hearts and Minds (1974) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Good Example of the Genre
26 January 2005 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

A good example of a Warner Brothers war drama, it's full of clichés appropriate to the times. The Japanese are "moral idiots," "savages," and "monkeys" (three times). Men shout and wave at a search plane two or three miles away (three times). The men are the usual congeries of ethnicity -- "Gabby" Gordon hollers "Mazeltov" at the departing Sweeney. (Hold on a moment. I'll have to think that one over. I'll also have to figure out how Lt. Sidney Jacobs acquired a Catholic dog tag.) Franz Waxman's music is just catchy enough, without being in the least distinguished. The jungle looks like a dressed-up Santa Anita with eucalyptus trees instead of ebony. The dialogue tends to run along lines like -- "Here we are in the muck and mire." "Hi, Muck!" "Hi, Mire!" Just at the end, when the remaining handful of paratroopers are in despair, the cavalry comes riding to the rescue.

I guess that gets the time-trapped stuff out of the way. This is far from an insulting cartoon of a movie. At its best, it captures the kind of utter physical exhaustion that Norman Mailer caught in his novel, "The Naked and the Dead." It's essentially a "journey" movie. Flynn, who is not bad, and his men are parachuted into Burma to destroy a radar station. Mission accomplished without casualties, they find their pick-up airfield swarming with enemy soldiers and must slog their way out through swamps and over mountains, the trip punctuated by bloody encounters with the Japanese.

Not that the battles are literally bloody. I don't think a drop of blood is spilled in the entire movie despite multiple opportunities. "Saving Private Ryan" is one way to tell a horrifying story -- very explicitly -- but the suggestion that is used in this film is equally effective, as hard as that may be to believe. Maybe the most jarring and moving moment in the film is when Flynn's group finds their friends tortured and killed by the Japanese. Flynn's friend, Jacobs, is barely alive. We see only his legs as Flynn kneels over him and identifies himself. The viewer can only imagine what Jacob's face -- and his eyes -- must look like as he whispers, "Nelson? Is that you, Nelson? Will you do me a favor, Nelson? Kill me?" The movie is a long one but it really needs to be long or we wouldn't so readily feel the agony and the desperation of these dying men. It's long enough for us to get to know the men as more than just anonymous soldiers too.

And the dialogue has its redeeming moments. When the middle-aged journalist is found dead near his foxhole, a supporting player, James Brown, stands over the body and says sincerely but not overdramatically, "Gee, I'm sorry, Mister Williams. Awfully sorry." And when Flynn leads his pitiful group of survivors finally into the base, his commanding officer shakes his hand, gives him a light, and tells him, "You don't know how important it was for you to take that radar station." Flynn says simply, "Here's what it cost," and hands him a fistful of identity tags.

It's an example not of art but of Hollywood craftsmanship. Engaging, and nicely done.


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