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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In the waning days of World War II, the United States Navy cargo ship Reluctant and her crew are stationed in the "backwater" areas of the Pacific Ocean. Trouble ensues when the crew members are granted liberty.
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
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 »
Isoroku Yamamoto lost his index and middle fingers on his left hand while serving aboard the cruiser Nisshin at the battle of Tsushima in 1905.The character portraying Yamamoto in The Gallant Hours has all his fingers. 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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