Thursday, May 22, 2008

Gung Ho! (1943)

Accepted in 1943 as standard wartime propaganda, Gung Ho can be seen today as an outrageous exercise in raging machismo. Randolph Scott plays Thorwald, a marine colonel assigned to assemble a crack squadron of fearless jungle fighters for the all-important raid on Japanese-held Makim Island (which in real life was recaptured only a few weeks before the film's release). Thorwald seems determine to select the dregs of the earth for this mission: most of his squadron is comprised of misfits, barroom brawlers, borderline psychos and outright murderers. It is suggested that these sociopaths are the only men truly qualified for the mission at hand, and by film's end the squadron members-living and dead-are lauded as true-blue patriots. Once one gets past the questionable premise, Gung Ho is a fairly exciting WWII melodrama, with a particularly thrilling climax. The film is currently available in its original form and in a computer-colorized version. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 88 mins
Gung Ho! (1943)
Yes plenty of "Japs" 'em killed. The film like much during the 40s were part documentary and part action movie. I assume the documentary parts was to build the perception of a true story and to cover a variety of facts that dialogue might have taken too long to do. This allowed plenty of action scenes although not nearly as dramatic as present films.

The Japanese troops did ambush them with shooters in the tops of palm trees. They were easy targets once identified but hard to detect at first. The Japanese machine gun posts were not well placed or protected very well. The Americans trick the Japanese Zeros into bombing and strafing their own camp by painting one of the buildings with the US flag.

Yes by todays standards, this film was machismo and racist. But this is more of a reflection of the times after Pearl Harbor which was mentioned quite a few times.

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