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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. Written by
Chris Stone <email@example.com>
Rear Admirals Scott and Callaghan were both killed in action in the naval battle of Guadalcanal. Admiral Halsey, who received a promotion, asked that his stars be given to the widows of the two men because, he said, their actions earned him that promotion. Halsey could not have known it at the time, but Admiral Scott was killed in a friendly fire incident aboard the USS Atlanta when it was accidentally fired upon by the USS San Francisco. See more »
At the beginning of the move its stated that he retired on 22 November 1945. Halsey actually retired in March 1947. See more »
Respectful look at Admiral Halsey in documentary style technique...
The decision not to show any battle scenes is what prevents THE GALLANT HOURS from really coming to life as a war drama. All of the scenes showing the men in command who have to make the big decisions are extremely well done, but when the film is over there's a feeling that something was lacking. At least at some point in the story, some footage of men during battle would have made the Halsey story more gripping.
It's presented almost like a history lesson. The factual account of events following the Japanese successful attack on Pearl Harbor and leading up to events at Guadalcanal, borders on being dry but is saved by the crisp performances of the male cast and especially JAMES CAGNEY as Admiral "Bull" Halsey. Cagney puts aside all his famed mannerisms and plays the role with feeling and intensity, getting across the notion that being a commander during wartime is an extremely harrowing experience when so many lives are at stake.
The cast is mostly unfamiliar to me, with RICHARD JAECKEL and DENNIS WEAVER being the sole exceptions. Jaeckel is highly effective in a brief role as a man who is losing his fighting spirit until he gets a pep talk from Halsey and Weaver is pleasantly cast as Halsey's pilot and aide.
A thinking man's war film, it's a bit overlong at one hour and 55 minutes and without any actual battle footage. It's directed in competent style by Robert Montgomery but the Roger Wagner chorale music is a bit overdone in an attempt to heighten the drama.
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