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On a Japanese-occupied island during World War II, only two soldiers remain alive after a mission attempt goes horribly wrong. Trapped on the island, they must escort a scientist and his daughter to the other side of the island where their ship awaits. They must battle nature, hard terrain, and advancing Japanese troops. Written by
Jeremy Kirk <email@example.com>
About half-way through the movie, there's an episode with a Japanese prisoner that's really chilling and unexpected. It's what I've remembered of this war film over the years, and I expect it took some nerve for the screenplay to treat the topic in such a cold-blooded way. Aside from that memorable scene, the chase across the island generates some suspense and having the Japanese tracker played by a bare-chested muscle man adds a colorful scary touch. Then too, filming in the jungles of Kauai makes events seem more real and interesting to look at.
At this stage of his career, Tony Curtis was considered little more than a light-weight pretty boy with a heavy Bronx accent. He was later to prove the critics wrong. Beachead is a better movie than might be expected, thanks to director Stuart Heisler who knows how to stage scenes and keep things moving. (Note the jolting way he stages Skip Homeier's death scene.) Pacing events is no small challenge since Heisler has to work in a romance between Curtis and Murphy in the midst of combat on a Pacific island.
Anyway, the acting is good, especially the always low-key Frank Lovejoy as the Marine sergeant-- too bad, he's now largely forgotten. I guess the producers had to protect Curtis's matinée appeal by including Murphy in the cast (note how her dress gets skimpier and skimpier as they scamper along!). Her role is okay if you can buy her and Curtis getting "intimate" in the middle of a life-and-death chase. Be that as it may, despite its potboiler status, this little programmer has some nice touches and holds interest throughout.
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