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In 1942, a group of young men join the Marines, leaving loved ones behind. Primed for battle, they are frustrated by many non-combat assignments, as we follow their wartime romances, especially Andy Hookens' involvement with Pat, a New Zealand widow. Andy and Pat have just decided that war requires them to 'live for the moment' when, in 1944, our team finally goes into a real battle... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The transport the green Marines boarding to take them to Guadalcanal is the USS Talladega (APA-208) an attack transport. See more »
Most of the trees at Pat Rogers' family farm seem to be Australian Eucalyptus trees, including the tree Andy chops down. These are quite common as an introduced species in California, but certainly not in New Zealand. See more »
To those who insist that only the gore shown in films such as 'Saving Private Ryan' gives a genuine cinematic portrayal of the experience of war I say: Put up or shut up: ENLIST! Because 'Battle Cry' tells what most of the experience of the service in and out of war consists of: the loneliness of a man among strangers in barracks; the in-your-face, gratuitously belligerent bastards in barracks who get on everyone's already put-upon nerves; the long aching separations from family and girlfriends, wives and lovers; the monotonously contemptible chow; the soul- and mind-frustrating sheer bloody boredom of living in barracks, performing mindless repetitive tasks, and having always to "hurry up and wait" or to be roused from temporary respite to have to get up and at 'em all over again for the ten-thousandth wearying time; the having to take crap from foul-mouthed, mean, nasty sonsabitches whose only claim to authority is one more stripe than yours on their uniform. Those are just the monotonous low-lights of daily life behind-the lines. Up on the lines it gets worse. A lot worse. And then just having to live in icy muck or tropical insect swarms suddenly gets much worse when the you-know-what hits the fan: when a soldier has to go into the attack or to defend against sudden enemy attack - so that his life of monotonous discomfort and privation is now punctuated by brief, terrifying spasms of violence few of us can even begin to imagine.
This is why you hear combat veterans say things such as, "All the rest is gravy," because even the long, endless days and nights of soul-numbing monotony of barracks and drill and K.P. and loneliness are preferable to the terrors of battle - and even to the filth and privation of just trying to live on a quiet sector's front line. This is why 'Battle Cry' shows more of the daily, drudging experience of actual marines than those war films crammed with combat sequences ever show.
'Battle Cry' tells the truth that men in war are bored, lonely, chafed, irritated, often disgusting and disgusted, irritating, sh_t-upon constantly by every last ugly nasty bastard wearing one stripe more than you get to wear, and isolated in a big ugly, mean, bored, crowd whose members they didn't get to choose as company. Also, no one, except the very few top brass strategist-commanders, gets to choose his destination or his daily tasks: so that every day, every heartbeat, you feel very, very small, utterly insignificant and powerless almost all of the time, every day, every night, every time some mess cook slops a glob of something you'd never have ordered and which you'd never have otherwise forked into your mouth onto your baby-like (you are, after all, powerless) compartmented chow tray to there commingle with the other globs of slop already commingled on it. You just wish that someone would recognize you, single you out, maybe treat you as an individual, value you as a unique person who needs only to be himself - and not just a service number or a cog in a uniformly drab, communally responsive colonial animal-machine - to merit such simple attention and care. I heard many - men and women in the service - express simply: "I wish I were anywhere but here."
Go and hang out just outside a military or naval base and see the clip-joints, the hucksters, the whores who pitilessly roll drunken soldiers and sailors as soon as they'd light their next cigarette; let your eyes take in the fleecing tailor shops, the used car salesmen finagling their way to your very slender paycheck, the loan sharks, the gamblers fixing card and crap games to bilk servicemen, the drug dealers seeking to sell you God-knows-what-that-sh_t-might-be, the strip bars, the swarms of Mary Jane Rottencrotches who habituate soldiers' and sailors' bars, eager to marry a combat-bound serviceman just to get their names on the poor bastard's GI life insurance policy. It's only beyond this circus of lovely attractions that you find the nice clean, orderly, middle class residential districts whose patriarchs and matriarchs don't want you in their neighborhood - and want your sailor or Marine or soldier ass far away from their young daughters or their smart-assed college kid sons. These are the people and the institutions which you, the serviceman and servicewoman, face and wade through when the Powers That Be do let you out of the monotonous, soul-vacuuming confines of your barracks and the Daily Routine.
Yet the men and women in America's wars stuck it out, pulled together when they had to, and they deserve every respect for their endurance, grit, applied imagination, and courage. These experiences and qualities and the men who met such challenges to their spirit and flesh 'Battle Cry' shows in spades; and it also shows the experiences of women separated to toil alone in constant anxiety for their own and their children's' or their husbands's day-to-day welfare - for all of their loved ones whose experience and fate they can't directly influence. let alone improve. 'Battle Cry' shows the men and the women as human beings, as individuals caught up in what General Eisenhower rightly called "a Great Crusade." Only to the little people in it, it didn't resemble a Great Crusade; to them it looked like a hopeless, disorganized, screwed-up shambles: read Bill Mauldin's inimitable book of his WWII cartoons, and you begin to grasp how repulsive and exhausting, frightful and ludicrous that Crusade was for the poor bloody infantrymen. Or you can watch 'Battle Cry.'
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