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The Gallant Hours (1960) Poster

Goofs

Jump to: Anachronisms (1) | Continuity (2) | Factual errors (13) | Revealing mistakes (1)

Anachronisms 

The film uses F6F Hellcat fighter planes, which were not in combat service in 1942. Also, the F6Fs used in the film have wing-tip fuel tanks, which were a post-war innovation, not used in WWII.
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Continuity 

At one point, when ADM Halsey (then still a VADM in the movie) is meeting with his force (air/ground) commanders on-board ship, we hear eight bells to signify the end of a watch. This would put the time at either 8, 12, or 4 (a.m. or p.m.), yet moments later there is a shot of Halsey (Cagney) with a ships clock in the background on the wall of his office/quarters and the time is 10:30, (1030 or 2230 if it is a 24 hour clock) which would be 5 bells.
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In the meeting of the top commanders, Rear Admiral Kelly Turner first talks, then is introduced by the narrator, then talks again. In the background is a clock. In the 3 consecutive scenes the clock goes from 20:17 to 20:25, then back to 20:20.
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Factual errors 

When Admiral Halsey visits with Marines on Guadalcanal, they wear camouflage covers on their helmets. In fact, those covers were not in use on Guadalcanal, and Marines there wore bare M1 helmets. A few may have worn burlap as a helmet cover, a practice picked up from Marine Raiders. But camouflage covers of the kind used in the movie were not present on Guadalcanal. (Reference: United States Marine Corps Uniforms, Insignia and Personal Items of World War II by Harlan Glenn)
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Isoroku Yamamoto lost his index and middle fingers on his left hand while serving aboard the cruiser Nisshin at the battle of Tsushima in 1905.The character portraying Yamamoto in The Gallant Hours has all his fingers.
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On 22 November 1945, Halsey did not hold the rank of Fleet Admiral. He took the oath of that rank three weeks later, on December 11, 1945. Further, he did not retire on 22 November, he hauled down his flag for the final time on that date from his flagship, the battleship South Dakota. He then served on special duty in the office of the secretary of the navy until his retirement from active service in March of 1947. But, due to his final rank of fleet admiral, he remained on the Navy active duty status until his death.
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At the beginning of the move its stated that he retired on 22 November 1945. Halsey actually retired in March 1947.
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The timeline is convoluted. Events are compressed by many months, such as the Yamamoto interception (April 43) overlapping the naval battle of Guadalcanal (November 42.)
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In the film Halsey's son is missing on "a floatplane to Efate." In truth he was a passenger on a torpedo plane that went down in August 1943 almost a year after the movie plot.
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Approximately 15 minutes into the movie, while flying to Guadalcanal, the radio operator hands Adm Halsey (James Cagney) a message. The contents are there was increased radio traffic to the Japanese on Guadalcanal. The radio man states he 'picked it up' though it wasn't addressed to them.

The scene shifts to a call between Admirals Nimitz and King. Nimitz states that Halsey is in the air and does not have coding equipment.

If Halsey did not have coding equipment on board the transport plane, the radio operator would not have been able to 'decode' the message he'd just handed to Halsey? Minimal communication was transmitted "in the clear" (i.e., not encoded). A message indicating unusual radio traffic between specific 'enemy' bases would certainly not have been transmitted in the clear.
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Richard Jaeckel's character, Lt. Cdr. Roy Webb, introduces himself as CO of Fighting Squadron 11. In fact, Group 11 did not arrive in the Solomons until c. April 1943. In the period of the movie, USS Hornet's fighter squadron was VF-72.
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The film falsely credits Thomas Lanphier with shooting down Yamamoto's plane.
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Admiral Halsey received his fifth star (Fleet Admiral) on or about Dec 11, 1945. He retired from active duty in 1947. The opening of the movie indicates that he retired during the ceremony in Dec of 1945.
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The film announces that F4U Corsairs are supposed to arrive at Guadalcanal within a few weeks of Halsey's first visit, in October of 1942. Corsairs didn't arrive in the Southwest Pacific until early 1943 and didn't go into action until February 12.
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Tom Lanphier wasn't posted to Guadalcanal until December 1942, after the events in the film.
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For most of the movie Nimitz is shown as having the rank of a 3-star Vice Admiral. Nimitz never held that rank, he was promoted from a 2-star Rear Admiral directly to a 4-star Admiral on December 31, 1941.
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Revealing mistakes 

Near the end of the film the Battle of Cape Esperance is taking place. At the same time as the ambush of Japanese Admiral Yamamoto. In fact, the battle took place on the night of October 11-12, 1942. The death of Yamamoto was April 18, 1943, six months later.
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