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Hell to Eternity (1960)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, War | 1 August 1960 (USA)
When his adoptive Japanese-American family is sent to Manzanar after Pearl Harbor, a young Chicano enlists in the marines to become a hero in the Battle of Saipan.

Director:

Phil Karlson

Writers:

Ted Sherdeman (screenplay), Walter Roeber Schmidt (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeffrey Hunter ... Guy Gabaldon
David Janssen ... Sgt. Bill Hazen
Vic Damone ... Cpl. Pete Lewis
Patricia Owens ... Sheila Lincoln
Richard Eyer ... Guy - as a Boy
John Larch ... Capt. Schwabe
Bill Williams ... Leonard
Michi Kobi Michi Kobi ... Sono
George Shibata George Shibata ... Kaz Une
Reiko Sato ... Famika
Richard Gardner Richard Gardner ... Polaski
Bob Okazaki Bob Okazaki ... Papa Une
George Matsui George Matsui ... George - as a Boy
Nicky Blair ... Martini
George Takei ... George Une (as George Takai)
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Storyline

True life story of Guy Gabaldon, a Los Angeles Hispanic boy raised in the 1930s by a Japanese-American foster family. Later, during the war, as his foster parents are interned at a camp for Japanese Americans, Gabaldon's ability to speak Japanese helps him become a lone-operating Marine hero. During the bloody capture of the island of Saipan, he convinces 800 Japanese to surrender after their general commits suicide. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

SAIPAN! RED BEACH TWO! The Roughest, Toughest Combat Marines Ever To Storm A Beachhead Inferno! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Japanese

Release Date:

1 August 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Beyond the Call See more »

Filming Locations:

Palos Verdes, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$800,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Atlantic Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The speech given by Gen. Matsui (Sessue Hayakawa) to his surrendering troops in Japanese recounts the popular Japanese folktale of Momotaro the Peach Boy, and it stresses kindness, courage and strength. See more »

Goofs

The tanks used by the Marines were M-48 Patton tanks, which were not produced until 1952, seven years after the war ended. See more »

Quotes

Gen. Matsui: Even with that gun in your hand, you are captured. Hmm.
[laughs]
Gen. Matsui: It's over!
[he attempts to leave, but Gabby blocks him]
Gen. Matsui: Soldier, your sergeant failed to get through. You have lost, but because you have great courage, I admire that. I'll let you live - for now.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in To Tell the Truth: Episode dated 1 September 1960 (1960) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A true World War II story of tremendous emotional impact
9 September 2003 | by reelguy2See all my reviews

World War II hero Guy Gabaldon's story could hardly have been entrusted to a more suitable director than Phil Karlson. Karlson brings a tough masculine style, as well as an emotional impact that would have eluded many a director of action films. Operating as usual on a less-than-A budget, Karlson nonetheless makes the most out of every scene and elicits excellent performances from his cast.

Hell to Eternity is by far the most violent war film made up to that time. But Karlson's outbursts of violence are always tied to a strong emotional response, making the violence anything but gratuitous.

The film is also notable for a surprisingly provocative striptease by Patricia Owens and and an equally provocative kiss between her and Jeffrey Hunter. In terms of its violence and sexual content, Hell to Eternity probably went as far as the censors would allow in 1960.

As Gabaldon, Jeffrey Hunter gives a performance of great sympathy, but also one of considerable edge in his battle scenes. It's a difficult role, because he has to express the moral dilemma of a man raised by a Japanese-American family who is tasked with fighting the Japanese during WW2. The fact that Hunter made King of Kings only one year after this film and also offered diverse characterizations in Key Witness and Sergeant Rutledge the same year as Hell to Eternity is a testament to his versatility as an actor.

Leith Stevens provides an outstanding dramatic score, which unfortunately was poorly represented by the soundtrack album, which contained mainly his jazz-oriented incidental music.

The lower-than-A budget for this film more than likely accounts for it not being better known. But make no mistake about it - it's one of the most powerful war films ever made.


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