Hosted by The Hannibal 8
"Action With The Battling Leathernecks !"
Although basically a 113 minute recruiting advertisement for the Marines (recruiting stations were set up in theatre lobbies) it was directed by Lewis Milestone who rather ironically had directed what is considered to be one of the greatest anti-war films ever - ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT from 1930. Although filled with gung-ho rousing action sequences (with the Marine Hymn blasting away on the soundtrack) as mentioned the story does attempt to get a little deeper into a few of the soldiers back story (admittedly with somewhat overdone melodrama) and when characters do die, they die an agonizingly slow death while dragging themselves through the mud (albeit still heroically). The movie was parodied in Robert Altman's MASH from 1970 as one of the PA announcements for an upcoming movie night.
This ensemble (sans Boone) is sent on a mission to locate a hidden Japanese rocket battery that has to be destroyed by a certain time in order for an offensive to start. Earlier in the movie we were introduced to various members of the squad and how their problems such as Widmark's migraine headaches, Hylton's cowardice and Homeier's tough guy attitude play out in the upcoming plot as the groups numbers are whittled down and they become more desperate and disillusioned. It's interesting to see how it's mostly the younger actors (and perhaps those newly under contract) receive the lions share of the back story sequences with Wagner, Homeier and Hylton each receiving a segment. The movie features some spectacular battle footage with actual color combat footage neatly worked in and once the action moves primarily to the island and the "mission" begins the plot holds interest and excitement in spite of its rather long running time (and as far as a war picture, you couldn't ask for a better cast).