Celebrated WWII short from the great John Ford
John Ford's celebrated 19-minute documentary about America's first major victory of World War Two earned him a shrapnel wound, a Purple Heart and an Oscar. The first 10 is impressive without being that interesting - hard-won battle footage that largely consists of some stuff setting on fire, the camera shaking, the film cutting, then something else setting on fire - though the raising of the flag is a lovely moment, narrator Irving Pichel intoning: "Yes, this really happened". The second half is more obviously Fordian, the elegiac tone reinforced by hymns, slanting shadows and Jane Darwell's frenzied, corny, but effective narration. Audiences wept and fainted during the passage where she urges ambulance-men to rush injured soldiers to a hospital. Ford would make his definitive statement on the war, and the nature of heroism, with 1945's They Were Expendable, but this short is well worth a look.
- Mar 11, 2011
Contribute to this page
Suggest an edit or add missing content