In Shenandoah, Virginia, widower farmer Charlie Anderson lives a peaceful life with his six sons - Jacob, James, Nathan, John, Henry and Boy, his daughter Jennie, and his daughter-in-law ... See full summary »
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This was the only real war movie which James Stewart starred in. He had vowed never to make one, since he complained they were hardly ever realistic. Harry Morgan said he believed that Stewart made an exception for this film because it was definitely anti-war. See more »
The plane shown on the ground, and making its take off roll is a B-25 with it's twin tail. But the plane shown in the air as it flies away is a B-26 with its single tail. See more »
Major Baldwin (Stewart) has his first command in East China when he is put in charge of a demolition squad with orders to evacuate once a base has been destroyed to prevent its capture by the advancing Japanese. Along the way he discovers the power associated with command and the abuse temptation offers along with such power. He also encounters some unexpected romance when the widow of a Chinese general in need of evacuation joins his squad.
Unfortunately, as the group never comes into contact with the Japanese and is never in serious danger, we don't feel a lot of tension. Whatever threat there is comes from the Chinese themselves, from mobs of starving peasants to bands of wayward deserting marauders.
The most interesting feature of the film deals with the difference of customs. The pomp and ceremony important to Chinese is alien to the Americans just wanting to get down to the business at hand. Looking from different points of view, each side views the other as somewhat barbarous and inhumane and as a result never quite reach the level of friendship each would have.
Although Jerome Morass provides a spirited music score, it doesn't quite fit in with the action, or rather the lack of it. With an exception or two, the events on the screen just never generate much pathos, resulting in a not so poignant anti-war film.
Stewart, as always, is worth watching, Lisa Lu has charm, and Harry Morgan gives a preview of what would become his Colonel Potter M*A*S*H* character.
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