The new commander of a Navy Underwater Demolition Team--nicknamed "Frogmen"--must earn the respect of the men in his unit, who are still grieving over the death of their former commander and resentful of the new one.
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>
Sy Bartlett and Harry Kleiner "wrote an 'original treatment'-based on 'nothing' in which to utilize actual combat film-which the Marines offered us-of the invasion of certain Islands", according to the UCLA Legal Department's 20th Century Fox Records Collection. See more »
As his platoon is approaching an enemy-held cave, Lt Anderson checks his watch and tells his men that the time is 0530 (5:30 a.m.). However, rather than being filmed near dawn and in semi-darkness, this scene and the ones immediately following are in bright daylight. 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 »
Halls Of Montezuma is a busy, Technicolored war film circa 1950, and was a big hit in its day. The story-line, such as it is, is convoluted and not really worth going into. Basically the film is about the psychology of war and its effect on human relations, especially those created by the war itself. A good deal of the film, as I recall, takes place in caves, ditches and deserted buildings. Unlike most war films this one emphasizes the fact the most soldiers, even Marines, are made, not born; they all come from someplace and would like to return there, preferably in one piece. Lewis Milestone directed the picture, and while it is a far cry from his classic All Quiet On the Western Front, this film is no shabby piece of work. Richard Widmark heads a cast of future stars, and they all perform well, if a bit too strenuously at times. The actors tend to be grouped together a good deal, maybe to ensure that no one can outshine anyone else, and this, plus the emphasis on isolated settings, succeeds in making the film strangely intimate. The color is bright and often glaring, and the Pacific island setting well-rendered. It's worth mentioning as a footnote that the studio that made the picture, 20th Century-Fox, would soon be switching over to making almost exclusively CinemaScope films, and would also soon be dropping Technicolor for the cheaper De Luxe color. Their post CinemaScope product is for the most part vastly inferior than what they previously had been doing, and Halls Of Montezuma, while not a great film, shows, even today, just how beautiful Technicolor could be. This, plus the use of the square, tidy space movies were limited to in those pre-wide screen days, makes for a depth in perspective that is at times almost seductive, even in so grim a film as this.
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