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A WWII film set on a Pacific island. Japanese and allied forces occupy different parts of the island. When a group of British soldiers are sent on a mission behind enemy lines, things don't go exactly to plan. This film differs in that some of the 'heros' are very reluctant, but they come good when they are pursued by the Japanese who are determined to prevent them returning to base. Written by
Director Robert Aldrich refused Cliff Robertson's request to attend the 1969 Academy Awards ceremony, as a flight from the Philippines to Los Angeles and back would be too time-consuming. Robertson won the Oscar - for Charly (1968) - and the crew presented him with a mock statuette made out of wood. According to Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne, after the Philippine location shooting was over, Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences President Gregory Peck greeted the cast as it disembarked at Los Angeles International Airport. Robertson was holding his fake Oscar when he got off the plane. As he was approached by Peck with the real statuette, Robertson threw the wood "Oscar" over his shoulder. The fake Oscar hit Michael Caine in the forehead, and caused him to bleed profusely. See more »
When the patrol ambushes the first Japanese patrol, there are five Japanese in this patrol. Hornsby shoots one in the back, causing him to fall to the ground. The rest of the British troops then fire at the remaining Japanese, of which there are still five standing. See more »
Pvt. Tosh Hearne:
Getting ourselves killed is not going to make any difference to anyone except us.
See more »
Film Makers in Hollywood weren`t allowed to make anti-vietnam war films in the late 60`s , early 70`s so they decided to make allegories instead. Famous examples are MASH and SOLDIER BLUE. What strikes me is that no one ever refers to this great war film as the definitive Hollywood proxy Nam statement.
The story is simple : Soldiers carry out dangerous mission. But these soldiers are badly led and totally reluctant to carry out their duty. They`d rather " frag " their commander and go home than earn medals . And war isn`t shown as a glorious thing , it`s brutal , dehumanising and most of all terrifying. Also watch out for the very humane portrayal of the enemy officer. Is it sympathy for the Japanese or the Vietnamese that he`s shown this way ?
I could point out all the things I love about this film but it`d take too long. The only two things I disliked about TOO LATE THE HERO was a couple of plot holes. First one`s the fact that the Japanese are good at stopping the enemy from escaping the jungle but are totally hopeless at letting them enter it in the first place ! A major strategic mistake I`d have thought. Secondly Lawson decides he wants to carry out his mission after all which turns him into a bit of a cliche. But don`t let that put you off. TOO LATE THE HERO is compelling , bloody and intelligent.
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