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Brigadier General Frank D. Merrill leads the 3,000 American volunteers of his 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), aka "Merrill's Marauders", behind Japanese lines across Burma to Myitkyina, pushing beyond their limits and fighting pitched battles at every strong-point. Written by
Martin H. Booda <email@example.com>
When Merrill is writing his letter at the railhead, the closeup shows his writing is well up in the top third of the paper, but in the wider shot he is seen writing under the middle of the page. See more »
Do you know what I'm going to do after the war? I'm going to get married and have six kids. Then I'm going to line them up and tell them what Burma was like. And if they don't cry, I'll beat the hell out of them.
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Merrill's Marauders isn't the best WWII film by a long shot. However, it does have several things going for it. Director Sam Fuller had plenty of army infantry service under his belt from his own WWII experiences. That in itself makes it difficult to argue with his portrayal of the trials of Merrill's foot soldiers. I notice this movie turns on the breaking point of the Marauders, especially how these American infantrymen transcended it in order to win. this is a hallmark of the special forces tradition, but I think Fuller is less interested in the origins of the US special forces than in defining the qualities of physical and mental fortitude necessary for successful soldiers. There is more than the stoicism of normal Hollywood heroes here, these characters do reach the end of their ropes, but fall in for another fight, time and again. The other noticeable production element is the apparent use of active duty personnel as extras. This shows in scenes like the assault on Wallabum, with the men charging in squad rushes (one of the best battle scenes of the movie). Other parts of that same battle scene, and others, aren't so impressive, but This flick isn't about the action. It is Fuller's biggest war production, if not quite his best, and while it may not be his best film, a close viewing may redeem the effort.
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