Seven weeks after Pearl Harbor, volunteers form the new 2nd Marine Raider Battalion whose purpose is to raid Japanese-held islands. The men selected come from different walks of life but have toughness in common. Under command of Colonel 'Thorwald', they're trained in all imaginable forms of combat. Then, after a perilous submarine journey, they face a daunting first mission: to annihilate the much larger Japanese garrison on Makin Island, in a lengthy battle sequence.Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, led by Lt. Col. Evans F. Carlson, was also known as "Carlson's Raiders" and his motto was the Chinese phrase "Gung Ho"; hence the movie's title, "Gung Ho!': The Story of Carlson's Makin Island Raiders". See more »
U.S.S. Nautilus and U.S.S. Argonaut were the submarines used in the Makin Island raid. Both subs mounted two deck guns and, due to their size, could not be mistaken for Gato class subs. The Nautilus carried 6" deck guns and were used to shell shipping in the harbor at Makin. See more »
When you watch GUNG HO!, you'll probably soon recognize how crappy the print is. I know it's been in the public domain and the copy recent shown on Turner Classic Movies was very dark and a bit fuzzy--and TCM usually shows the best print available.
As for the film, despite having Randolph Scott and some familiar faces (Noah Beery, Jr., Robert Mitchum and others), it's an amazingly straight-forward and simple film. The usual clichés and side stories, while still present, are much fewer in number and far more emphasis is placed on the training and combat. Additionally, I was amazed at how brutal the film was, as the Raiders were taught to fight very dirty and there was an amazing amount of blood for a 40s era film. It was uncompromising and direct throughout the movie.
The film itself is about a special unit within the Marines that were akin to the Army Rangers or a Special Forces unit. Apparently they were a real group and the film was made about their first mission in 1942--only a few months before this film was produced! Because it was so direct and simple, I really enjoyed the film. However, for lovers of Randolph Scott, while he's in GUNG HO!, his role is rather simple and quite unlike his later persona in Westerns.
By the way, although the film was pretty good, it featured one of the dumber war clichés as one of the soldier pulls a grenade pin with his teeth--a great way to rip out or shatter your teeth.
For more information about this raid (some of which is much more incredible than what is in the film), try http://www.usmarineraiders.org/makin.html.
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