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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 »
In the spring of 1942, in Southwest Pacific, Captain John G. Nolan (Henry Fonda) postpones the leave of the volunteer Lieutenant Sam Lawson (Cliff Robertson) and gives an assignment in New Hebrides Island with the British troops based on the required profile fluency in Japanese and good shape. When Lt. Lawson arrives in the base, the commander explains that the island is divided in the British and Japanese sectors and he should go with a group of soldiers behind the Japanese lines to destroy their radio and transmit a false message to the Japanese forces. Captain Hornsby (Denholm Elliott) is assigned to lead the group, but during the tense mission, he has friction with Private Tosh Hearne (Michael Caine). When things go wrong, the soldiers have to fight to survive while exposing their weakness in character.
"Too Late the Hero" is a realistic and original war movie with human and cynical characters in the jungle of an island in Pacific. Michael Caine plays a rude and insubordinate cockney soldier that is only interested in surviving. Most of the soldiers are cowards that fight only to save their lives and not for patriotism or idealism. The hero of the title is actually an anti-hero that redeems himself in the end. The dialogs are cynical and Tosh has the best lines, like for example, when he proposes to Lawson to go North; or when he talks about the hole where he lives in his hometown in a total lack of perspective. My only remark is the long running time that could be a little shorter. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "Assim Nascem os Heróis" ("This Way the Heroes Are Born")
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