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45 out of 62 people found the following review useful:

Solid biopic elevated by Gregory Peck's great performance

Author: marcd30319 from Atlanta, Georgia USA
6 November 2000

It is inevitable that MACARTHUR will be compared to PATTON, the other military biopic produced by the late Frank McCarthy. Such comparisons are unfortunate because their subjects are vastly different, albeit controversial figures, and each film takes a different approach in examining their impact on history.

George S. Patton commanded an Army formation in Europe while Douglas Macarthur commanded an entire theater of operation in the Pacific. By his own admission, Patton never had any political ambitions, while MacArthur definitely had such aspirations. Patton's political naivety made him ill-suited as the postwar occupation commander in Bavaria while MacArthur's political astuteness served him well during the occupation of Japan.

Yet both men were great, if iconoclastic military leaders. Patton's brilliant northern pivot during the Battle of the Bulge is matched by the MacArthur's daring amphibious landing at Inchon. And both men believed strongly in their destiny; Patton's belief was based on reincarnation while MacArthur was motivated by following in his illustrious father's footsteps.

Surprisingly, PATTON is the much more succinct, less ambitious film than MACARTHUR. It concentrates on its colorful, mercurial main character during a comparatively brief two-year period between the American defeat at Kasserine Pass in early 1943 to Patton's dismissal prior to his death in late 1945. Although we see Patton's conflict with Omar Bradley, Bernard Montgomery, and Bedell Smith, we never see his interaction with General Dwight Eisenhower, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, or General George Marshall, the U.S. Army's chief of staff.

MACARTHUR is a much more ambitious film, covering nearly a decade from the fall of Bataan in early 1942 to MacArthur's dismissal in 1951. Additionally, MACARTHUR shows a wider range of conflict between MacArthur and such individuals as Admiral Nimitz, General Marshall, ambassador William Averell Harriman, and Presidents Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman.

So, does MACARTHUR match PATTON as a groundbreaking biopic? No, it doesn't.

MACARTHUR lacks the insightful, acerbic screenplay that Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund North supplied PATTON. The direction by TV veteran Joseph Sargent is yeoman-like where the late Franklin J. Schaffner offers a more vigorous, hell-for-leather approach to PATTON. Both films are handsomely mounted productions that serve as a tribute to acumen of the producer McCarthy. Both movies benefit from film scores by the ever-reliable Jerry Goldsmith.

While PATTON has its main character departing in a Valhalla-like denouement, MACARTHUR is book-ended by the legendary speech that the old soldier delivered to the cadet corps at West Point in 1962 as a final valedictory.

At the heart of both films are the extraordinary performances of their lead actors. The late George C. Scott's portrayal of Patton is justly remembered, but Gregory Peck delivers a performance that is both subtle and unapologetic and helps to elevate this often-pedestrian production to a higher level. Peck's portrayal is reminiscent of his work in TWELVE O'CLOCK HIGH, but with the added weight of an additional thirty years of experience and craftsmanship that this great actor brings to bear to this role. Peck is ably supported by Dan O'Herlihy as FDR and the late Ed Flanders as Harry S. Truman.

Finally, I must note the presence of Dr. D. Clayton James, the author of the standard multi-volume biography of MacArthur, who served as this film's technical advisor.

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41 out of 57 people found the following review useful:

MacArthur is much more interesting than your usual military hero and Gregory Peck played the part perfectly.

Author: steve-1291
14 April 2004

Unlike Patton, Pershing, Grant or Eisenhower, MacArthur is a many sided character and Peck played the part as I believe MacArthur really was. The positive PR version produced by the U.S. Army in the l940's or the negative liberal press version of the l950's are very limited in their understanding of this great man. I have always believed that MacArthur was a turn of the century progressive much like Teddy Roosevelt, at the same time both imperial and caring, who lived past his time into the l960's. His tactical decisions were unmatched by any general in our history. His speeches rival those of William Jennings Bryan or Patrick Henry and I'm sure many wish we could send him and his administrative skills to Iraq to put that mess back together. In the years since his death a small cult has grown up around his memory much like Robert E.Lee and to some his words are almost mystical. He was a major player in one way or another in WWI, the depression, WWII, Korea and if you count his death-bed plea to President Johnson to get our troops out of Vietnam, even the Vietnam War. If you want to stretch things even farther, he can be tied to turn of the century imperialism and the Spanish-American War through his part in the Philippine Insurrection following the Spanish-American War and if you must, the Indian Wars which he experienced as a small boy with his parents. He has been described as a conservative, a liberal, a militant and a pacifist. How could one man be so much a part of the 19th century and believe in war only between individuals(like Custer and Crazy Horse) or as in feudal times yet advocate A-bombing China? He is always described as arrogant and overly dramatic but like Grant he wore a simple 2nd Lieutenant's uniform with five stars on the shoulder minus all the medals that the "G.I. generals" wore. I believe his love for the people of Asia was sincere and in this was he was like Alexander or Caesar. We are fortunate Gregory Peck did play MacArthur as such a complex individual. To focus only on the Five-Star General with the corn-cob pipe is to miss the the big picture. No wonder Patton is so easy to watch compared to MacArthur. I have seen the movie at least 15 times and am still moved by it.

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30 out of 44 people found the following review useful:

Ambiguous man

Author: Robert J. Maxwell (rmax304823@yahoo.com) from Deming, New Mexico, USA
11 November 2003

There isn't much argument that MacArthur was a good strategist and a brave man. And that's the picture you get of him in this movie. Besides a bit of vanity, only the slightest, the general seems to have no flaws. The dark side of this genius is missing.

Of course no movie, not even at 130 minutes, can capture all of a man's professional history, but the lacunae here are convenient ones. The upshot is that this is like one of those John Singer Sargent portraits of society women that made them look sexier and prettier than they probably were.

For instance, MacArthur remarks somewhere along the line that his casualties are fewer than anyone else's (or something like that) when in fact those figures have been contested. MacArthur's aching desire to invade China is turned into a kind of a joke, when he complains that he is only allowed to bomb the southern entrances to bridges across the Yalu River -- "In all my career, I've never learned how to bomb HALF A BRIDGE." Very amusing. But then his political views as a whole, which were somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun's, are skipped over. His run for president fizzled because not even the most rabid anti-communist power broker wanted a war with China, but this too is turned into a morbid joke, when MacArthur remarks to his wife about the newly elected Eisenhower -- "He'll make a great president. He was the best clerk I ever had." (Eisenhower's joke appears elsewhere -- "I spent seven years under MacArthur studying dramatics.") The most illustrative revelation of MacArthur's character isn't in the film. MacArthur recruited Weldon E. Rhoades as the personal pilot of his B-17 and the aviator became a loyal disciple and sometimes personal confidant. By Rhoades' own admission, "this meant that the general would talk for great lengths of time during which Rhoades was not expected to respond."

One last point that is glossed over. MacArthur is stuck on the island of Corregidor in the Philippines surrounded by Japanese but prepared to fight it out. He is ordered to return to Australia on PT boats. He objects strenuously but in the end obeys his orders and retreats. It's a dangerous voyage on small worn-out boats made of plywood. And for this he is awarded the medal of honor. The officers and men of that handful of boats made the same voyage -- round trip too -- and no medals of honor for them, although they were acting under the same conditions, following orders. (An aside: the bar is a little lower for high-ranking officers, which is why their dress uniforms seem to droop with decorations like some Latin American dictators'.)

But it's not a bad movie, as long as you're looking for a heroic picture of an undoubtedly heroic man. Gregory Peck exudes his usual sincerity and is a much more effective speaker than MacArthur himself who almost always sounded like a blowhard. And Peck had to do quite a good job to overcome that florid prose -- "Still, I listen with thirsty ear for the tocsin call," etc. ("Thirsty ear.") In a speech at West Point McArthur also misattribues a quote from Santayana to Plato ("only the dead have seen the end of war"), but that's carping.

The movie follows the same pattern as "Patton." Give us an admirable hero, one human enough to have a little fun poked at him. (Peck emerges from a shower draped in a couple of huge bath towels arranged like a toga, so that he resembles Caesar.) Surround him with devoted but sometimes puzzled subordinates who, when they are not courting his favor, are warning him that something he plans to do might be misinterpreted by the suits back in Washington. Just don't have him do anything seriously wrong.

Production values are good. This is an expensive picture. Supporting players more or less blend into one another -- there's only room for one Caesar in this movie.

Some things are left unexplained, unintentionally it would seem, since this is not the kind of movie that thrives on leaving anything up to the viewer. General Wainwright is left behind on Corregidor to surrender to the Japanese. Back in Australia, MacArthur fumes at such cowardice, Wainwright must be temporarily deranged. But when they meet again when Manila is liberated, MacArthur greets him like a long lost pal. What happened? And the big meeting between MacArthur and Truman that was supposed to iron out the differences between them? It's confusingly staged and scripted. Both sides seem to come away satisfied but, if that were the case, the satisfaction must have been based on some profound misunderstandings because afterward MacArthur and Truman both went merrily on their divergent ways.

I kind of enjoy watching it once in a while. The Irish Daniel O'Herlihy does a side-splitting impression of Franklin D. Roosevelt. And the action scenes are fairly well done. I do wish that the movie had been more honest with its subject. As it is, it's a flawed movie about a flawed but remarkable man.

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20 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

One of the most impressive scenes was the accurate recreation of the Japanese surrender aboard the U.S.S. Missouri…

8/10
Author: Righty-Sock (robertfrangie@hotmail.com) from Mexico
6 April 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The film transported everyone back to October 20, 1944 where we seemed to be part of the great Philippine 'I Shall Return' landing scene… It was on that Leyte shore where General MacArthur reaped his fame…

Above all, Gregory Peck triumphed in his portrayal of the great general… It is the stride, the set of the shoulders, the intensity… It's what both men have had in common: intensity, total absorption, devotion… With MacArthur it was for the military… With Peck it was for the challenge of acting… An Academy Award winner for "To Kill a Mockinbird", an Oscar nominee for "Keys to the Kingdom", "The Yearling", "Gentleman's Agreement", and "Twelve O'Clock High"—he has played everything from an apparently homicidal amnesiac to a crusading journalist; from a troubled gunfighter to an obsessed attorney; from biblical David to Captain Horatio Hornblower… He has brought to them all his own unique insight, his character, his sincerity, warmth and love, and especially, his humor…

There is a scene where 'MacArthur' stands on deck with the 'President of the Philippines.' We can hear the dialogue: "General, I hope the water isn't too deep," says the 'President,' "because my people will find out I can't swim." Then come Peck's sonorous voice: "And my people are going to find that I can't walk on water!"

As "MacArthur," Peck once again justified his reputation as a giant in the film industry… Through him we felt MacArthur's emotions: we knew his anger, his happiness and we understood the relationship with his whole family…

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19 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

General Atticus

7/10
Author: James Hitchcock from Tunbridge Wells, England
15 March 2004

It is noteworthy that mine is only the third review of this film, whereas `Patton- Lust for Glory', producer Frank McCarthy's earlier biography of a controversial American general from the Second World War, has to date attracted nearly a hundred comments. Like a previous reviewer, I am intrigued by why one film should have received so much more attention than the other.

One difference between the two films is that `Patton' is more focused, concentrating on a relatively short period at and immediately after the end of the Second World War, whereas `MacArthur' covers not only this war but also its subject's role in the Korean war, as well as his period as American governor of occupied Japan during the interlude.

The main difference, however, lies in the way the two leaders are played. Gregory Peck dominates this film even more than George C. Scott dominated `Patton'. Whereas Scott had another major star, Karl Malden, playing opposite him as General Bradley, none of the other actors in `MacArthur' are household names, at least for their film work. Scott, of course, portrayed Patton as aggressive and fiery-tempered, a man who at times was at war with the rest of the human race, not just with the enemy. I suspect that in real life General MacArthur was as volcanic an individual as Patton, but that is not how he appears in this film. Peck's MacArthur is of a more reflective, thoughtful bent, comparable to the liberal intellectuals he played in some of his other films. At times, he even seems to be a man of the political left. Much of his speech on the occasion of the Japanese surrender in 1945 could have been written by a paid-up member of CND, and his policies for reforming Japanese society during the American occupation have a semi-socialist air to them. In an attempt to show something of MacArthur's gift for inspiring leadership, Peck makes him a fine speaker, but his speeches always seem to owe more to the studied tricks of the practised rhetorician than to any fire in the heart. It is as if Atticus Finch from `To Kill a Mockingbird' had put on a general's uniform.

Whereas Scott attempted a `warts and all' portrait of Patton, the criticism has been made that `MacArthur' attempts to gloss over some of its subject's less attractive qualities. I think that this criticism is a fair one, particularly as far as the Korean War is concerned. The film gives the impression that MacArthur was a brilliant general who dared stand up to interfering, militarily ignorant politicians who did not know how to fight the war and was sacked for his pains when victory was within his grasp. Many historians, of course, feel that Truman was forced to sack MacArthur because the latter's conduct was becoming a risk to world peace, and had no choice but to accept a stalemate because Stalin would not have allowed his Chinese allies to be humiliated. Even during the Korean scenes, Peck's MacArthur comes across as more idealistic than his real-life original probably was; we see little of his rashness and naivety about political matters. (Truman 's remark `he knows as much about politics as a pig knows about Sunday' was said about Eisenhower, but it could equally well have been applied to MacArthur's approach to international diplomacy). Perhaps the film's attempt to paint out some of MacArthur's warts reflects the period in which it was made. The late seventies, after the twin traumas of Vietnam and Watergate, was a difficult time for America, and a public looking for reassurance might have welcomed a reassuringly heroic depiction of a military figure from the previous generation. Another criticism I would make of the film is that it falls between two stools. If it was intended to be a full biography of MacArthur, something should have been shown of his early life, which is not covered at all. (The first we see of the general is when he is leading the American resistance to the Japanese invasion of the Philippines). One theme that runs throughout the film is the influence of General MacArthur's father, himself a military hero. I would have liked to see what sort of man Arthur MacArthur was, and just why his son considered him to be such a hero and role model. Another interesting way of making the film would have been to concentrate on Korea and on MacArthur's clash with Truman, with equal prominence given to the two men and with actors of similar stature playing them. The way in which the film actually was made seemed to me to be less interesting than either of these alternative approaches.

It would be wrong, however, to give the impression that I disliked the film altogether. Although I may not have agreed with Peck's interpretation of the main role, there is no denying that he played it with his normal professionalism and seriousness. The film as a whole is a good example of a solid, workmanlike biopic, thoughtful and informative. It is a good film, but one that could have been a better one. 7/10.

On a pedantic note, the map which MacArthur is shown using during the Korean War shows the DMZ, the boundary between the two Korean states that did not come into existence until after the war. (The pre-war boundary was the 38th parallel). Also, I think that MacArthur was referring to the `tocsin' of war. War may be toxic, but it is difficult to listen with thirsty ear for a toxin.

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15 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Great, well done story of the controversial American General , superbly played by Gregory Peck.

Author: grafspee from Australia
20 March 2005

No matter what you have to say about MacArthur, critical or otherwise, he shaped events in the Pacific theater of World War II to give him a part of history in the twentieth century. In this well done production with Gregory Peck in the leading role, he gives a candid performance of the flamboyant and publicity seeking authoritative General who turned earlier defeat into ultimate victory. His great speech on arrival from the Phillipines, by train at Spencer Street Station in Melbourne Australia in March 1942 incorporating those famous words - " I came through and I shall return" - was an inspiration to many Australians during their darkest hour.

From the time of his arrival in our country he quickly abandoned the idea of defending any mainland invasion by the Japanese and decided on an offensive in New Guinea as a counter attack. Peck is perfect in the role of the self minded MacArthur doggedly pursuing the Japanese back to their homeland while arguing with his own superiors, including U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt over his earlier promise to liberate the Phillipines, which was planned to be bypassed. After the Japanese surrender, MacArthur becomes virtual ruler of Japan modifying old customs and instituting sweeping land reforms. His authority remained absolute until the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, when he clashed with new U.S. President Harry Truman over his successful campaign against the North Koreans and his intention to take on their Communist Chinese backers. Truman, wanting to avoid another world conflict, relieves MacArthur of his command and he is recalled home. Peck is magnificent with his captivating speech before a band of West Point recruits where he details his life and closes the movie with that famous caption " Old soldiers never die - they just fade away". This movie is a must for the younger generation of this world, to know that today's freedom was the result of the sacrifices made by their forbears.

To add a final footnote my mother worked at Archerfield aerodrome in Brisbane in 1942 with her sister where they were employed as aircraft riveter's being responsible for the repair of the fuselage of damaged U.S. Aircraft used during the defense of our country during World War 2. She told me well before her death in March 2004 how she took her limited time off from work to travel to central Brisbane just to watch General MacArthur walk down Queen Street from his home base at Lennons Hotel to the AMP building in Edward Street where he had his headquarters.

She said what a fine figure he cut, tall and handsome, and full of confidence in his goal of supreme victory. Her expectations in the faith of this great American General were ultimately justified. We are a free country today for the contribution of his great military expertise in the time of our greatest need.

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Incomplete biography

6/10
Author: grahamsj3 from United States
13 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This biography is a one-sided love affair with General Douglas Macarthur. I'm no admirer of the General, so my appraisal of the film might seem a bit skewed. However, I watched it trying to understand the reasons behind the well-known stories of the man. He was known as an arrogant headline seeker. His battles with Adm Chester Nimitz over the Pacific strategy were mostly designed to enhance his share of the glory from the battles in that theater. At least, that is what I have read over and over again. He even insisted that his own wife call him "General", which is portrayed in the film. But the film answered none of my questions about what made him tick. In fact, it is so shallow that there are now more questions than there were before I watched it. The film's basic beginning is after WW2 has begun. His childhood and Army career prior to that point are completely ignored. The Pacific war is boiled down to only his return to the Philippines. Korea is covered in less than 30 minutes and that was his downfall, albeit not militarily. The film answers no questions about who this man was. I was hoping to come out of the film with an appreciation of the General, but I learned absolutely nothing about him. Indeed, there is so little character deveolpment that President Truman is made to be the "heavy" in his relieving MacArthur of his duties in Korea. Too bad. This could have been a great film. Instead it's nothing more than a wasted opportunity.

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

MacArthur And His Presidents

8/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
31 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Frank McCarthy who produced the Academy Award winning biographical film Patton follows it up with a strong tribute to another of America's fighting generals, Douglas MacArthur. Gregory Peck gives a strong characterization of the man, his genius as well as his egotism. With MacArthur you never knew quite where one began and the other left off and too many times they blended.

The whole story of Douglas MacArthur would be a six hour film or a TV mini-series. It would cover him from his days on frontier posts with his family to his time at West Point where he still has the highest scholastic average ever achieved by a cadet. It would talk about his service in the Phillipines as a young officer, his legend building bravery on the battlefields of World War I in France. It would also have to tell about him firing on the Bonus Marchers of World War I veterans in 1932, probably putting the final kabosh on any chances President Herbert Hoover had of getting re-elected. During MacArthur's last years he and Hoover had penthouse suites at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. That must have been a subject they avoided.

This film concentrates on the years 1941 to 1952 and it is told in flashback. The film opens with MacArthur addressing the student body in 1962. As he speaks the words of the famous Duty Honor Country speech, MacArthur's mind goes back to World War II and his desperate struggle against the advancing Japanese on the island of Corregidor and the fields of Bataan on Luzon. The film takes him through his struggle to win back the Phillipines, the occupation of Japan and the first 18 months culminating in his relief of command by President Truman.

MacArthur as a film would not work at all if it wasn't for the portrayals of Dan O'Herlihy and Ed Flanders as Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman respectively. It's the part of the film I enjoyed the best, seeing MacArthur and his relations with both these men.

FDR by O'Herlihy captures the aristocratic squire and exceptionally devious man that was our 32nd President. Roosevelt was a man who got his points across with unusual subtlety and cleverness. Sometimes he liked scheming a little too much for its own sake, but he was the master politician of the last century. Note how he deals with MacArthur both as a battlefield commander and potential rival at the same time.

Truman by Flanders is as people remember him, a blunt spoken man of the people who disliked MacArthur's haughtiness from the gitgo. Of course it's in the history books how Truman relieved MacArthur in 1951 for insubordination. MacArthur was insubordinate, no doubt about it.

Yet I could write a whole thesis on the Truman-MacArthur relations. Along the way it need not have ever come to a crisis. I've always felt that FDR would have dealt with the whole matter in a far better way had he still been president then.

MacArthur was also grandly eloquent and Gregory Peck captures some of that eloquence in some of the orations that made him as much a legend as victories on the battlefield. Listen to Peck at the Japanese surrender, at MacArthur's farewell to the nation before the joint session of Congress, and of course his speech to the cadets in 1962. Watch the newsreels and see if you don't agree.

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Perfectly adequate--but could and should have been more.

8/10
Author: neal-57 from United States
19 February 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Since Douglas MacArthur affected more human lives—for the better—than any other American not elected President, he deserved a better film biography. Not that Universal's "MacArthur" is bad. It's just not all it should have been.

Oddly enough, the potential was there. From the very early "Star Trek" episode "The Corbomite Maneuver" (1966) to the recent HBO films "Something the Lord Made" (2OO4) and "Warm Springs" (2OO5), director Joseph Sargent has emerged as one of the most expressively human directors in film, a man capable of subtly shaping the emotional shadings of his actors' performances, and carrying the audience exactly where he wants them to go. The producer, Frank McCarthy, also gave us "Patton" (197O), the legendary Jerry Goldsmith scored both films, and Universal widely touted the fact that the film was "four years in preparation and production." Yet for all of this, "MacArthur" is perfectly adequate—and not much more than that.

The film begins in early 1942, shortly before the beleaguered general was ordered—by President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Dan O'Herlihy)—to flee the Philippines to avoid capture by the Japanese. Thus, this film omits:

· MacArthur's birth in 188O in a frontier barracks in Arkansas still subject to attack by Native American tribesmen—thus establishing that his remarkable life spanned the distance from bows-and-arrows to thermonuclear weapons;

· his graduation from West Point—first in a class of 95,

· how he joined his famous father, General Arthur MacArthur (who had earned the Medal of Honor at Missionary Ridge in the Civil War) on assignments in Japan, China and, most importantly, in the Philippines;

· his heroic exploits in the 1914 excursion into Vera Cruz;

· how he leaped about the trenches of World War One like a mountain goat, often wounded, and promoted with blinding speed to Brigadier General;

· his postwar service as West Point's youngest—and most progressive—commandant;

· his participation in the court-martial of Billy Mitchell in 1924;

· his routing of the Bonus Marchers in 1932;

· his efforts to sustain a woefully-underfunded Army as Chief of Staff in the early 193O's;

· his retirement from the U.S. Army to become Field Marshal (!) of the Army of the Philippines;

· and the reactivation of his commission by FDR shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War.

All this is omitted in favor of prolonged footage of MacArthur trying to fight off seasickness while being evacuated by PT boat—thus, we know that "General Mac" is a legend, but not why; nor can we appreciate why the allegations of cowardice were so wounding to "Dugout Doug"—and so patently unfounded.

The remainder of his career is presently straightforwardly: His island-hopping "Hit 'em where they ain't" campaign, the fulfillment of his pledge to the Filipinos— "I shall return!"—his crowning achievement, the winning of the peace in postwar Japan, then the difference of opinion with President Harry Truman (a properly feisty Ed Flanders) over the conduct of the Korean conflict which resulted in his outright firing, and finally, his proclamation to Congress that "old soldiers…simply fade away," after which he did just that. All quite historically accurate, and all presented with a very deliberate lack of commentary.

Sargent and the producers almost painfully distance themselves from adorning the historical record with their own approval or disapproval: If MacArthur's actions appear noble, let them be presented as such; if they appear egotistical or bombastic, let those conceptions register sans comment. Since Joe Sargent is quite expert at subtly manipulating his audience's reactions—again, see Warm Springs—this refusal to offer comment appears quite intentional. Historically, that may be commendable, but it almost defeats the efforts of the viewer to place this extraordinary man in any kind of rational perspective.

And finally, there is a sort of "made on the cheap" feel to the film, as there is to "Midway," released about the same time. Both films were relegated to "television" directors--Sargent in this case, Jack Smight on "Midway," and both have a made-for-TV-look. Even Jerry Goldsmith's march, while perfectly serviceable, lack the subtle undertones and the grandeur of his "Patton" theme--just another way in which a larger-than-life man is memorialized by a very ordinary film.

There was vanity and pettiness in this man, inarguably; there was also greatness—and love him or loathe him, one must acknowledge the fact that MacArthur did what no military commander before him had done: he won the peace.

In the end, "MacArthur"—like so many film biographies—is a good place to begin research into this remarkable man, but a poor place to end it.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Enjoyable biopic about the rebel General focusing Philippines reconquest and Korean Conflict

7/10
Author: ma-cortes from Santander Spain
29 March 2015

Nice biographic film about controversial as well as flamboyant General masterfully played by Gregory Peck and who was Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s to 1940s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II , having received the Medal of Honor for his service in the Philippines Campaign .

Agreeable biopic about the famed general concerning the latter years of his long military career , it starts with his assumption of command of the Philippine army and subsequent retreat ; going on through Inchon landing , China invasion on Korea crossing over parallel 39 and his sacking by President Harry Truman . This is a pretty good film with plenty of emotion , drama , biographic elements , historical events and Peck is spellbinding in the title role . The flick describes efficiently his particular character , complexity and the controversy that surrounded him . Very fine acting by the great Gregory Peck as military chief , he even bears remarkable resemblance to Douglas MacArthur , he had some of his hair shaved off since the real General was quite bald . Peck' outstanding acting arranges to bring alive this historical role , who strode a fine line between demigod and expert battlefield commander . Originally made for TV , it has a long runtime , at 144 minutes , being cut for cinema release . The picture gets magnificent interpretations from prestigious secondaries playing Generals and historical roles such as Kenneth Tobey (Adm. William 'Bull' Halsey) , Gen. George C. Marshall (Ward Costello) , Addison Powell (Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitz) , Dick O'Neill (Col. Courtney Whitney) , and Presidents as Dan O'Herlihy (Franklin D Roosevel) , Ed Flanders (Harry Truman) , and John Fujioka (Emperor Hirohito) . This is an engaging warlike drama made at the better for its historic resonance and will appeal to Gregory Peck fans.

Well produced by Frank McCarthy who also financed other warfare movies such as ¨Decision before dawn¨, ¨Single-Handed¨, ¨Fireball Forward¨ and ¨Patton¨ . This solid motion picture was professionally directed by Joseph Sargent , though it holds a certain television style . Sargent is an expert on biography and specialist on historical narrations , as he proved in 'Mandela and Clerk' , 'Abraham , 'McArthur' , 'When the lions roared' which reunited to Stalin , Churchill and again Roosevelt , 'Day one' with Oppenheimer and General General Groves and 'Warm Springs' about Franklin D Roosevelt ; these films don't pack the punch that he achieved in his best movie resulting to be 'Taking of Pelham one , two , three' .

And adding more biographical elements about this military hero : MacArthur was recalled to active duty in 1941 as commander of United States Army Forces in the Far East. A series of disasters followed, starting with the destruction of his air forces on 8 December 1941, and the invasion of the Philippines by the Japanese. MacArthur's forces were soon compelled to withdraw to Bataan, where they held out until May 1942. In March 1942, MacArthur, his family and his staff left nearby Corregidor Island in PT boats and escaped to Australia, where MacArthur became Supreme Commander, Southwest Pacific Area. And General Douglas MacArthur pronounces his famous line : "I will return" . For his defense of the Philippines, MacArthur was awarded the Medal of Honor. After more than two years of fighting in the Pacific, he fulfilled a promise to return to the Philippines. He officially accepted Japan's surrender on 2 September 1945, aboard the USS Missouri anchored in Tokyo Bay, and oversaw the occupation of Japan from 1945 to 1951. As the effective ruler of Japan, he oversaw sweeping economic, political and social changes. He led the United Nations Command in the Korean War until he was removed from command by President Harry S. Truman on 11 April 1951. He later became Chairman of the Board of Remington Rand.

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