A New York City detective, traveling by train between New York and Baltimore, tries to foil an on-board plot to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln before he reaches Baltimore to give a major pre-Inauguration speech in 1861.
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
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 »
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 »
Even with that gun in your hand, you are captured. Hmm.
[he attempts to leave, but Gabby blocks him]
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.
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A true World War II story of tremendous emotional impact
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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