Remember Pearl Harbor (1942) Poster

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Republic's "Waste not, want not" policy strikes again.
horn-52 January 2002
Actually, this one was dated already when it was first released in May of 1942 since this was the fifth Republic film that utilized Jack Natteford's original story from Republic's 1936 "The Marines Have Landed." In between "Marines" and "Remember", Republic had dusted this plot off for two Westerns, 1937's "Guns in the Dark" with Johnny Mack Brown and 1939's "Rough Riders Round-Up" with Roy Rogers, and tossed in an Easterner "Storm Over Bengal" in 1938. All that was required to film a nearly-annual version was to change some character names, revamp the "McGuffey", 'weinie" or goal sought by the villains and make sure the lead/hero is, or thinks he is, responsible for getting one of his pals killed. The dead pal also needs to be related to the heroine for an early-conflict relationship that leads to romance and redemption when she discovers the hero is not the one who was responsible for getting her relative the Western versions, at least. In the feature versions, the lead can die and be redeemed giving the heroine and 2nd lead an opportunity to discuss his noble, sacrifice death at the end to save the free world as we know it. Little Republic, nestled in the San Fernando Valley ( or, to be more apt and use the Jack Mathis term, the Valley of the Cliffhangers), took a back seat to none when it came to getting there first with a film named after a song title, or a fad or current-event headline of the day. The surprise here is that it took them nearly five months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to get this one ready for release...writers Malcolm Stuart Boylan and Isabel Dawn must have been on the clock and eligible for overtime, as it shouldn't take that long to put together an "original" when they had four previous film versions and scripts to go by. While the title was topical and the theme was patriotic, the thought here is that Republic had no idealistic view on making a recruiting tool out of "Remember Pearl Harbor", and very few signed up for the service because of it. Most of those old enough to enlist had already done so, and those not old enough were ready to go as soon as they were age-qualified, and nothing in "Remember Pearl Harbor" served as an inducement. Republic took this one out of their "block-booking" schedule and offered it to the exhibitors as a "Special", i.e, read higher rates, and marketed it using one-column, page length ads in "Life", "The Saturday Evening Post" and other weekly magazines of the day. Plus, they billed Don Barry as Donald M. Barry just to show this was a serious film and event(and worthy of the higher booking rates.) Lest any of the above be taken as critical of the studio for recycling a script in order to get there quick with a hot title and timely subject matter that, in May, 1942,was virtually a guaranteed sale, it isn't. I'd knock the Republic of Texas before I'd slam Republic Pictures. Well, maybe not, but close. Just watch it for what it was/is.
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Early story of men at war, immediatley folowing Pearl Harbor attack
bux12 October 1998
Hollywood heroics and cliches abound in this small budget quickie. Barry ducks out on buddies, who are killed during attack, then must redeem himself. Probably worked well as recruiting tool when released, this effort is dated today.
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Rather Boring and Silly
Michael_Elliott9 June 2016
Remember Pearl Harbor (1942)

* 1/2 (out of 4)

Pvt. Steve Smith (Donald Barry) goes by the nickname Lucky. He's stationed in Hawaii but he mainly sees the Army as a fun time. He never takes it too serious and one day it ends up costing his friend his life. Soon afterwards Smith is just an everyday guy but he becomes suspicious and soon he uncovers the plot that will lead to the Pearl Harbor attack.

This low-budget "B" movie from Republic actually managed to be the first fictional movie based on Pearl Harbor and was in theaters on May 18, 1942. Yes, as you can tell, it didn't take the studio too long to read the headlines on that tragic day and get this into production and onto movie screens. While I'm sure this film gained interest from movie fans in 1942, there's really very little here worth while unless you're just a film buff wanting to see the first movie on the subject.

Those who couldn't stand the Michael Bay film are going to find even less here to enjoy. The biggest problem is that we've seen this type of story way too many times before. The story of a loser not taking his job serious enough until it's too late and then he must stand up is something that was worn out and boring by the time the silent era was over. The added benefit of this taking place before Pearl Harbor really doesn't add much because the story is just so weak and the direction isn't much better.

The first fifty minutes of the 75 minute running time is basically a bunch of boring dialogue scenes with bland and forgettable characters. The action finally picks up towards the end but the budget was so low that these scenes never gain any sort of excitement and the miniatures aren't any better. Barry sleepwalks through the performance and none of the supporting players can add much either.

REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR is basically an exploitation film that was using the tragedy in its title to try and gain box office cash. I'm sure it succeeded but the film itself is forgettable.
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