The Marines attack a strongly held enemy island in the Pacific. We follow them from the beach to a Japanese rocket site through enemy infested jungle as their ex-school teacher leader is transformed into a battle veteran and his squad becomes a tight fighting unit.Written by
Derek Picken <email@example.com>
It was during production of this film that Jack Webb met Martin Milner and Richard Boone. Milner later appeared in both the radio and television versions of Webb's series "Dragnet" and starred in his series "Adam-12". Boone appeared in both the radio series and the 1954 theatrical film of "Dragnet" as well as starring in the Webb-produced series "Heck Ramsey". See more »
Sergeant Johnson, the interpreter, wears a revolver in a shoulder holster. But the gun's grips are made of bright white ivory, making him a perfect target for the Japanese, especially in low-light conditions. No real Marine would be this careless, and no superior would tolerate such a safety violation by one of his men. See more »
Sgt. Randolph Johnson:
[giving tobacco to a Japanese prisoner who's begging for some]
Always treat a human being like a human being. You'll be surprised what happens.
See more »
Despite it's grand name, Halls of Montezuma is a small war film. What I mean is that the movie focuses more on a small group of men and their fears and problems than it does on a grand plan for Allied victory. It's a very personal movie. We get to see these men up-close and we begin to develop feelings for them. I wouldn't doubt that this is one of the first films to show a U.S. Lieutenant so battle scarred that he resorts to using pain killers just to function. Unlike other war films of this era, not all of these men are going to make it to the end. War is like that. It doesn't pick and chose people to live because we like them. So in that regard, it's also more realistic than some other war movies made in the 50s.
To succeed as a small, personal war movie as I've described, the cast has to be able to act. This cast does not disappoint. Richard Widmark, Jack Webb, and Karl Malden are all excellent in their respective roles. I was especially impressed with Webb who has an acting style that can grate on the nerves. He's more subdued here and it works. But as good as these three are, Jack Palance is the highlight of the movie for me. He was undoubtedly the most believable. I could really picture him doing the things in real life that were called for in the script.
I have no difficulty recommending Halls of Montezuma to fans of war films. It's a very welcome addition to my DVD collection.
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