4.0/10
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13 user 3 critic

Once Before I Die (1966)

WW-II 1941: Shortly after Pearl Harbor the Japanese attack the Philippine islands. A group of Polo playing soldiers and their families are surprised far off in the countryside. Lt. Bailey ... See full summary »

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(story "Quit For The Next"), (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Alex
... Bailey
... Lt. Custer
... Soldier (as Ronald Ely)
Rod Lauren ... Captain
Vance Skarstedt
Allen Pinson
Greg Martin
Renato Robles
Fred Galang
... (as Andress Centenera)
Rod Francisco
Nello Nayo
Mario Taquibulos
Eva Vivar
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Storyline

WW-II 1941: Shortly after Pearl Harbor the Japanese attack the Philippine islands. A group of Polo playing soldiers and their families are surprised far off in the countryside. Lt. Bailey leads them back to Manila, but the streets are jammed with fugitives. On the trip Bailey's fiancée Alex talks with a 22 years old shy soldier. He tells her of his fears to die and admits that he's never been with a woman. Only once before he dies, he'd like to have sex. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

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Drama | War

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Release Date:

December 1966 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Akomi mia fora prin pethano  »

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1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film about a US Army unit in the Philippines at the very beginning of US involvement in World War II. John Derek served in the US Army in the Philippines at the very end of World War II. See more »

Soundtracks

Once Before I Die
Words and Music by Norman Gimbel (as Norman Gimble) and Ralph London
Sung by Lenny Welch
Through courtesy of Kapp Records
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User Reviews

 
What movie have the others been watching
9 May 2008 | by See all my reviews

I first heard about the film, in a book by Danny Peary called Guide For the Film Fanatic. The question he seemed to ask was, How someone like John Derek could have made such a good film? Having seen this film on TV, I have to agree with him.

While John Derek may have made many bad films, and I can't say they were all bad, because I have not studied his work. However, I wonder if those other reviewers who hated this film so much just hated John Derek.

When I watched this film, I couldn't help but feel that Derek was influenced by the Polish Films of the 1950's by Wajda, particularly CANAL. While filmed in color, this film has that despair of war. Considering that most of television, and some movies portrayed World War II as something heroic, this film was ahead of its time. It shows war as very ugly, almost a warning about the Viet Nam conflict that the US was just getting involved with. I also enjoy his shots of other people who inhabit the scenes, as if they have stories to tell themselves, particularly the native population of the Phillpines. It is a use of the camera I believe called 'foregrounding', something that was used in the Cuban film THREE JULIAS, which I think was made later. Another person, not on IMDb, mentioned that he felt this film had an influence on Appocolypse Now, especially if you see the Redux version.

His use of Freeze Frames was ahead of it's time, though occasionally it looks cheesy, and may have helped keep the budget down. Also, with John Derek as the star of the film, he does have some surprises in the story, something that has been copied in later films, which I will not name. Finally the Use of Mrs. Andress in the film, may have helped get more financing for the movie. While some of you might look at her as only eye candy, I would suggest that her performance and presence does not distract from this film, and is not wrong. The final image of her on the screen, with the beautiful song, is a haunting image.


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