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King Rat (1965)
"King Rat" is a Philippine Division veteran, possibly a Bataan survivor
George Segal's character's uniform khaki blouse gives away his origins as a U.S. P.o.W. in a Japanese Prison Camp filled largely with British military personnel. His Shoulder Sleeve Insignia (SSI), on his left sleeve, is clearly the patch of the pre-war U.S. Army's Philippine Division, a gold carabao head on a red field. This outfit, which was based on the Philippine island of Luzon at Forts William McKinley and Stotsenberg, was composed mostly of the native Philippine Scouts, although there were American troops in the all-white 31st Infantry Regiment (the "Polar Bears")and some of the Coast Artillery units on the Fortified Islands and among the service troops.
Segal's character must have come out of one of those units. It is hard to say if he had indeed gone on the Bataan Death March, however, he seems to have been resourceful enough to survived that ordeal, the prison camps at Camp O'Donnell and Cabanatuan, and the Hell Ships.
Back to Bataan (1945)
One surviving Bataan defender really loves this film!
My father, who is now in his late eighties, was one of those Philippine Scouts (of the US Army) who defended the Bataan peninsula as part of the USAFFE (US Armed Forces Far East) from early January to 9 April 1942. He was an Aid-Man in Company C, 12th Medical Bn. (Philippine Scouts), and witnessed combat at the Battle of Abucay Hacienda (around 11-13 January 1942), which is on Bataan, while supporting the 57th Infantry Regt. (PS). Later, as a Runner for the 12th Medical Bn., he came into contact with those US Army nurses at Hospital No.s 1 and 2, who were portrayed by Claudette Colbert, Paulette Goddard, Veronica Lake, and others in "So Proudly We Hail" (1943). He survived about five days walking sixty-five miles on the "March of Death," being packed with about 100 other PoWs into a rail car designed to hold maybe forty men on the last forty-mile stretch to the prison camp, and then eight months in the Hell of Camp O'Donnell, or "Camp O'Death." My Dad loves this movie because it is so moving in many ways. As a result, we, his Baby Boomer children, are also big fans of this film, and will be for the rest of our lives.
Moonlighting: Knowing Her (1985)
My second-most favorite Moonlighting episode
A moving story-line: a woman suddenly reappears from Addison's pre-Maddie life. She was a girlfriend with whom David had shacked up, until, one day, he returned home to their shared apartment in LA, and she, and all of her belongings, were nowhere to be found. This lady's apparently accidental convergence into the lives of the two detectives of the "Blue Moon Detective Agency" moves the heretofore hard-bitten David, who, it is obvious, never got over this "girl that got away." Maddie too is affected by the femme fatale played Dana Delany, who is at the height of her beauty in this story. Maddie, to the once-again-love-stricken Addison's glee, seems genuinely jealous of David's new-old flame. The use of the Isley Brothers' 1966 tune, "This Old Heart of Mine (is weak for you)," in a key moment in the episode makes this a truly memorable "Moonlighting" entry.
The Twilight Zone: Two (1961)
A powerful Cold War "fable"
This is one of my favorites along with the Mariette Hartley and Robert Lansing "Sandy" and the Agnes Moorhead-and-the-tiny-spacemen episodes.
It is an important take, from mid-1961, on the long Cold War that the U.S. was then embroiled in. The beaten-down city-scene, the near-starving characters' sparse dialog, their threadbare uniforms, and the minimal action "says" it all: the absurdity of an on-going conflict that threatens to destroy human life, modern civilization, and all that is sweet and redeeming about it.
It is a "fable" because it was made in a time in which, had events turned out differently, such as the second Berlin Crisis (Spring 1961) and the subsequent Cuban Missile Crisis (Oct. 1962), it would have actually been a reasonable representation of one of the U.S.'s major cities, ruined and replete with a few miserable survivors. I also see it as a "fable" because it is not only a cautionary tale, but because it is the most redemptive of all our popular myths: it is a love story, set in an impossible situation, and involving two highly mismatched lovers.
Courage of Lassie (1946)
WW II veteran Lassie suffers from PTSD
As the relative of someone who has suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) originating in his own experiences in the early part of WW II --- it is now some sixty-five years here in mid-2007 from those absurdly horrible and also unbelievable few months of his then-young life --- this is a terribly important film for me. Although Bill/Lassie is allegedly just some lost dog in the movie, what he experiences as a K-9 dog-soldier within the U.S Army's campaign to push the Imperial Japanese military out of its conquests in the Aleutian Islands in 1942 forever scars him. He comes home to the Elizabeth Taylor character in Washington state a haunted, and hurt animal and veteran. I relate very much to this story, and that is why I love this movie.