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Too Late the Hero (1970) Poster

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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.
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While filming in the jungles in the Philippines, Michael Caine seemed to have an unerring sense of direction, and always managed to find his way about. However, filming in the jungles, created on the studio back-lot in Hollywood, was delayed on the first day, as Caine had managed to get himself lost.
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Although set during World War II, this is a deliberate allegory of the war that was raging in Vietnam at the time.
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A World War II Japanese landing strip was specially constructed.
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Robert Aldrich told the studio that he would accept "anybody but Cliff Robertson" for the leading role. His refusal to allow Robertson to attend the Academy Awards ceremony in 1969 was seen as a way to extract revenge on the studio.
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In his autobiography, Michael Caine said the Philippines was the worst location shoot he had ever experienced in his career.
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Tokyo firms created 400 new Japanese army uniforms for the production.
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A sign in the head nurse's office reads "Sister George". This is an allusion to one of Robert Aldrich's previous films, and one of his personal favorites, The Killing of Sister George (1968).
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At the time, the largest production to be filmed in the Philippines.
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The U.S. Navy's base in Subic Bay, Philippines was a perfect location. It had all the necessary amenities, as well as having a rain forest on one side, and salt water on the other, in addition to its proximity to the city of Manila.
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When Cliff Robertson entered the U.S. Navy base in Subic Bay to do some location work, he was dressed in full military uniform, and was mistaken for an officer by the guards at the entry post.
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The screenplay credits a novel "Don't Die Mad" by Robert Sherman as its source material. It appears the novel was never published so, in the final film, Sherman only received a "story by" credit.
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Hearne makes a comment "Carry on, Gunga Din", being more likely a reference to the Rudyard Kipling poem, rather than the film of the same name.
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The reference to a "long-haired conscientious objector" is a reference to the Vietnam War, rather than World War II.
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Percy Herbert was a prisoner of the Japanese Army in World War II.
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