|Index||6 reviews in total|
I have seen this movie on 16mm film, because I own a copy I have NEVER seen this title on TV, Cable or on VHS/DVD. Can somebody PLEASE tell me why? Even in Review books on movies the story, is wrong. Most movie books tell about aviators before World War Two and it is actually about an Oklahoma National guard unit called up for active at the start of the war. I have made several inquiries to Turner Classic movies and have received nothing back when I asked about this movie. I have also tried to Contact Republic Pictures Corporation but it seems they are out of business. This film is produced by Herbert Yates, the same producer who did The Sands of Iwo Jima. Please, I would like to save this film for future Generations to enjoy.
I agree with comments from DILO-1. DILO-1 should contact me by email so that we can arrange a copy of this film "Thunderbirds (1952) for the 45th Infantry Division museum. I saw this movie when it was originally released, and it motivated me to join the Oklahoma National Guard and the 45th Infantry Division which returned from the Korean War at that time. There are periodic reunions for veterans of this Division, and I am sure that all of the members would like to see the film. The 45th (brigade sized, now) is currently on active duty in Afganistan. It is a shame that the History channel could not be more proactive in obtaining historical films of this type. lovingtheclassics.com is a source for DVD.
Even though the "Code Talkers" were Navajo and Marines and in the South Pacific and this film was made in 1952 and even though the Navajo Code Talkers' secrecy was not declassified until 1968, someone knew about it and put a different spin on the facts. I was surprised when it was disclosed only a few years ago about the real code talkers. The Thunderbirds was a nickname for the 45th Infantry Division of Oklahoma. They fought in the European Theatre in World War II. As far as I remember (50 years ago) from the movie there were no Navajos from Oklahoma. Still a good movie for the old Saturday afternoon matinees where we had 5 cartoons, a newsreel and a double feature.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This one is a Republic Pictures Production about the American Army's 45th Infantry Division during WW2.
The cast is headlined by John Derek and John Drew Barrymore, with support from, Ward Bond, Mona Freeman, Slim Pickens, Wally Cassell, Barton MacLane, Norman Budd and Gene Evans.
The film starts just before the start of WW2, and shows a group of friends from the same town going through National Guard training. The two leads, John Derek and John Drew Barrymore are in love with the same girl, Eileen Christy. The two are best friends and have been chasing Christy since elementary school.
Pearl Harbor happens and their National Guard unit is formed up with others to create the 45th Division. They are put through more training and are soon off to Europe. They land at Oran in North Africa before taking part in the Allied landing in Sicily. After fighting their way up the boot of Italy, they again are loaded on ships and landed at Anzio.
Once again they are pulled out of combat and this time landed on coast of Southern France. They then fight their way through France to the German border. The story has a side bit where the folks at home read the letters from the boys. It also tells the story of how various men from the town are killed in combat.
The film is full of stock footage which is used to fill out the rather bare story. OK for a Republic production, but it could have used a bigger budget.
The director was B-film veteran, John Auer. Auer's films include, HELL'S HALF ACRE, JOHNNY TROUBLE, THE ETERNAL SEA and THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS.
One of my favorite moments from this film is early on when an Osage chief, who's talking to a man he just gave a trophy to, asks him why they changed patches to the Thunderbird, and the man shows the old patch, which was a swastika. The man tells the chief, "Hitler took it." The chief says, "Hitler? Oh, crazy man. You take it back son." I understand if you can find an original 45th Division Swastika patch, it's very valuable. I also wish we knew who the chief was. And, the Osages did use their language in real life to confound the Germans. Just so our friend who spoke of the Navajos knows. This is a great flick, and if it's ever on video, get it.
I have only seen this movie once, when I was about 14 years old, but I was thrilled that they made a movie about the 45th Division. Being from Oklahoma and especially now that both of my sons are members of the 45th, I would like to see it released on a DVD. I may sound a little bias but the 45th Division sometimes does not get the recognition it deserves today. The History channel always talks about the other infantry divisions when it talks about WW2 and Korea but you rarely hear it mention the 45th. One of the scene that really stood out for me was when the had the Indian Code Talkers at work and the puzzled look on the German soldiers faces when they could not understand this language. I am glad that all of the Native American Code Talkers are getting the recognition they deserve.
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