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Hollywood Movie Memories » War


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A Walk In the Sun

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

A Walk in the Sun (1945) Restored and Uncut


Starring – Dana Andrews (Sgt. Bill Tyne), Richard Conte (Pvt. Rivera), George Tyne (Pvt. Jake Friedman), John Ireland (Pfc. Windy Craven), Lloyd Bridges (Sgt. Ward).

Released – December, 1945

Directed By – Lewis Milestone

Produced By – Lewis Milestone Productions, Superior Pictures

Distributed By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Description – During the Allied invasion of Italy, a 53 man platoon has landed on a beach near Salerno. During the landing, platoon commander Lieutenant Rand is seriously injured forcing Sgt. Pete Halverson to assume command.

Sgt. Halverson tells Sgt. Porter to lead the men to the beach while he try’s to find the Captain to confirm their orders. Facing heavy machine-gun fire the men hit the beach and dig in. With no immediate word from Sgt. Halverson, and the sun about to rise, the platoon Sergeants move the men into the cover of the woods to hide from enemy aircraft.

Word finally comes to Sgt. Bill Tyne, and it is not good. Both Lt. Rand and Sgt. Halverson are dead. Three other members of the platoon have been hit and remain behind as the rest of the men set out for their objective – a fortified farmhouse and bridge six miles away that they are assigned to blow up.

Their journey will prove to be as costly as it is dangerous as, along the way, the platoon encounters enemy infantry, tanks, and an armored car. Tensions mount and casualties rise as those still alive hope to be able to carry out what now appears to be an impossible mission in this exciting and unusually realistic picture of war.

Notable: A Walk in the Sun was named one of the year’s ten best films by the National Board of Review.

A Walk in the Sun provided the film debut’s of Robert Horton and John Ireland.


They Were Expendable

Monday, May 16th, 2011

They Were Expendable [Blu-ray]

Tagline – A Tribute to Those Who Did So Much . . . With So Little!

Starring – Robert Montgomery (Lt. John Brickley), John Wayne (Lt. J. G. ‘Rusty’ Ryan), Donna Reed (Lt. Sandy Davyss), Jack Holt (General Martin), Ward Bond (‘Boats’ Mulcahey), Marshall Thompson (Ens. ‘Snake’ Gardner).

Released – December, 1945

Directed By – John Ford

Produced By –  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Description – An action-packed and inspiring tribute to the contributions made by PT boats during World War II. On duty in Manilla Bay, Philippines in December, 1941, Lt. ‘Rusty’ Ryan is applying for a transfer. Disappointed by his superiors refusal to consider PT boats as a viable navel craft, he hopes to be reassigned to a destroyer.

Before completing his transfer request, news arrives of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Now, more determined than ever, Lt. Ryan and Lt. John Brickley push for a combat assignment for their squadron.

At first dismissed, they are finally given a chance to prove their worth. As Japanese warplanes descend on the island in a surprise attack, the squadron is able to down three Japanese planes, but it is not nearly enough as the island’s military base is destroyed.

Their squadron of PT boats is now assigned to messenger duty until they are ordered to sink a Japanese cruiser that is shelling the island of Bataan. The mission is a success, but the increasing Japanese onslaught has sealed the fate of doomed Americans in both Bataan and Corregidor.

The squadron’s duty is now to evacuate General Douglas MacArthur, his family, and a group of VIP’s from those areas. They again succeed, but the squadron has suffered considerable casualties in both life and boats.

There’s more danger ahead that includes the PT squadron’s most difficult challenge of all. Bataan has fallen and Corregidor may be next. While the PT boats have proven their worth, the chance of any surviving the next mission does not look good.

NOTABLE: They Were Expendable was nominated for two Academy Awards – Best Effects, Special Effects, and Best Sound, Recording.

Actor Robert Montgomery was a real-life PT Boat Captain during the war and helped direct some of the sequences for the film when director John Ford took ill.

The film is loosely based on the experiences of Medal of Honor winner John Bulkeley.

John Wayne’s character is based on Lt. Robert Kelly and Donna Reed’s on U.S. Army Nurse Peggy Smith. The real Lt. Robert Kelly and Nurse Smith sued MGM over their romantic portrayal in the film. The case was settled out of court.

They Were Expendable was the first war feature to be directed by John Ford.


Objective, Burma!

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Objective, Burma!

Starring – Errol Flynn (Capt. Nelson), James Brown (SSgt. Treacy), William Prince (Lt. Sid Jacobs), George Tobias (Cpl. Gabby Gordon), Henry Hull (Mark Williams).

Released – February, 1945

Directed By – Raoul Walsh

Produced By – Warner Brothers

Distributed By – Warner Brothers

Description – Objective, Burma! is loosely based on the six-month raid by Merrill’s Raiders during the World War II Burma Campaign.

Capt. Nelson leads a group of Army paratroopers dropped into Burma and assigned to destroy a Japanese radar station that has been detecting Allied aircraft flying into China.

With the help of local guides and a Chinese Army Captain the team successfully take out the radar station and its personnel, believing the hardest part of their mission to be over. No such luck. When the troops arrive at an old air-strip to be used as their pick up point they find the Japanese army waiting for them.

With it now impossible for the rescue planes to land for them, Capt. Nelson has only one option for escape. The men must make a long, difficult trek through the enemy infested jungle. To limit the chance of the men being detected, they split into two groups intending to meet up at a deserted Burmese village.

When the group led by Capt. Nelson arrive at the village they find that their comrades had been captured and decapitated by the Japanese. Once again they are forced back into the jungle in an effort to avoid the enemy with their chances for survival looking very bleak.

NOTABLE: Objective, Burma! was nominated for three Academy Awards – Best Film Editing, Best Writing, Original Story, and Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture.

Objective, Burma! was pulled from release in Britain after only one week and banned from future showings. The Burma Campaign was predominately a British and Australian operation and the film, due to its Americanization, was seen as an insult to their efforts.

Though criticized for playing World War II heroes while having no military experience himself, Errol Flynn did make every effort to enlist during the war. He was always rejected due to his health. Flynn suffered from a heart condition, had tuberculosis, malaria, and had a bad back. These health issues were kept quiet by the studios as they felt Flynn’s box office appeal would suffer.

While working on World War II films, Errol Flynn was always his most professional and co-operative as he respected those who served their country.

Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo

Tagline – Heart-Warming Romance… Stark, Sensational Drama! Thrills! Action! Adventure!… Ripped From The Heart!

Starring – Van Johnson (Lt. Ted W. Lawson), Robert Walker (Cpl. David Thatcher), Tim Murdock (Lt. Dean Davenport), Don DeFore (Lt. Charles McClure), Robert Mitchum (Lt. Bob Gray), Spencer Tracy (Lt. Col. James Doolittle).

Released – November, 1944

Directed By – Mervyn LeRoy

Produced By –  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Description – Stunned by the tragedy of Pearl Harbor, followed by an additional string of defeats have left America in need of a military victory. Former air racer and stunt pilot, Jimmy Doolittle suggests a daring raid on the mainland of Japan.

His plan entails the bombing of Tokyo, and four other Japanese cities, to be carried out by a volunteer force specially trained for this mission. The mission requires the launch of 16 fully loaded bombers from the deck of an aircraft carrier. Something, at that time, considered to be impossible.

The aircraft carrier, USS Hornet, while heading toward Japan is discovered by the Japanese and the bomber squadron is forced to take off 12 hours early. The attack on Japan is successful, but all except one aircraft runs out of fuel on the return trip.

The bombers are forced to bail out over China, or crash land along the coast. One plane manages to land safely in Russia, but the crew is imprisoned for the next year. Squadron leader Lt. Ted W. Lawson’s bomber crashes into the surf having missed the beach due to bad weather.

Lawson and his crew now begin a perilous journey to safety with help from the Chinese. A journey that will come at a very high cost.

NOTABLE: Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo won the Oscar for Best Effects, Special Effects and was also nominated for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White.

The USS Hornet, used as the carrier for the bombers, was sunk shortly after the raid.

The scene where Lt. Lawson’s plane arrives over the skies of Tokyo as he sees the fire and smoke from the previous bomber is not created by special effects. During filming there was an actual oil fire in Oakland. The filmmakers flew over and actually filmed the fire to be used in the motion picture.

Personal Note: A very exciting and accurately portrayed story. So much so that the film includes footage shot during the actual raid.



Tuesday, November 16th, 2010


Tagline – A Great Drama of American Heroism!

Starring – Robert Taylor (Sgt. Bill Dane), George Murphy (Lt. Steve Bentley), Thomas Mitchell (Cpl. Jake Feingold), Lloyd Nolan (Cpl. Barney Todd), Lee Bowman (Capt. Henry Lassiter), Robert Walker (Leonard Purckett), Desi Arnez (Felix Ramirez).

Released – April, 1944

Directed By – Tay Garnett

Produced By –  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Description – It’s the start of World War II and the Japanese have just invaded the Philippines. Retreating from Manila, the American and Filipino forces move to the mountainous Bataan peninsula and take up position for a defensive last stand.

After the crossing of the bridge spanning the peninsula they plan to blow up the bridge and delay the Japanese rebuilding efforts. The joint forces hoped to hold out long enough for reinforcements to arrive and help maintain some hold on the Philippine islands.

A group of 13 volunteer for the job.

The plan to blow up the bridge is a success, but their commander, Capt. Henry Lassiter, is killed. One by one the volunteer’s are killed while the remainder of American and Filipino forces struggle to hold on.

Lt. Steve Bentley has a plan to again destroy the bridge foundation if there is enough time and they live long enough to do it.

NOTABLE: Sadly, the showing of Bataan was banned in the southern part of the United States due to the racially integrated fighting force. However, the NAACP presented MGM with two awards for portraying an African American in an intelligent and sympathetic manner.

Other feature films were produced based on the World War II Battle of Bataan. They include So Proudly We Hail!, They Were Expendable, and Back to Bataan.