A semi-documentary dramatization of five weeks in the life of Vice Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey, Jr., from his assignment to command the U.S. naval operations in the South Pacific to the Allied victory at Guadalcanal.
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The Gallant Hours depicts the crucial five-week period in October-November 1942 after Admiral Halsey took command of the beleaguered American forces in the South Pacific Area. That period of combat became a turning point in the struggle against the Japanese Empire during the World War II. The story is told in flashback, framed by Halsey's ceremony of going on inactive duty in 1947. Written by
You will notice there is no music being played through out the movie. At the time of filming, there was a musicians strike. Choir music was used instead. See more »
At one point, when ADM Halsey (then still a VADM in the movie) is meeting with his force (air/ground) commanders on-board ship, we hear eight bells to signify the end of a watch. This would put the time at either 8, 12, or 4 (a.m. or p.m.), yet moments later there is a shot of Halsey (Cagney) with a ships clock in the background on the wall of his office/quarters and the time is 10:30, (1030 or 2230 if it is a 24 hour clock) which would be 5 bells. See more »
Helped in fact by an astonishing physical resemblance to Admiral William F. Halsey that audiences today can't appreciate, James Cagney in his next to last film before retirement makes a very believable and strained Bull Halsey recollecting those harrowing weeks during the seesaw battle for Guadalcanal.
If one is looking for battle scenes and lots of blood and gore skip this film. If one however would like to see a study about the strain of command than this film is ideal. Cagney drops all of the mannerisms that we normally associate with him in playing Admiral Halsey. It's a restrained and mature performance.
The Gallant Hours is also a tribute to the men of our fighting forces in the Pacific who took and held on to the key island of Guadalcanal in the Solomons and halted the Japanese in the Southwest Pacific Theater of Operations.
Director Robert Montgomery did the film in documentary style and at times you feel like you're in the brain of Admiral Halsey, weighing each decision he makes with him. The familiar voice you hear narrating is that of Montgomery who was no longer acting and now was mostly concerned with production and with political work for the Republican National Committee.
The Gallant Hours is a fine character study of one of America's greatest naval heroes and should not be missed.
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