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J. Russell Finch CEO & President
The Pacific Edible Seaweed Company
Fresno, CA.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

OBJECTIVE BURMA ! 1945




   Although Errol Flynn is best known for his swashbuckler and heroic adventurer roles where he basically just played "Errol Flynn", every so often he would get a role that he really felt strongly about and while perking his interest also moved him to up his acting a notch (for which he's never really been given his due). Although only 36 at this time the ravages of Flynn's lifestyle were beginning to wear on his movie idol looks by this time and to be fair he does look a bit to old for a paratrooper (at one point he remarks "we're all young, we have to be"), but this doesn't take away at all from his excellent performance. The movie itself is a great example gritty & dirty WWII "desperate mission" and features a wonderful supporting cast of familiar faces including Henry Hull (WEREWOLF OF LONDON), William Prince (DEAD RECKONING), Anthony Caruso (THE ASPHALT JUNGLE) and Richard Erdman (STALAG 17), along with James Brown & the always great George Tobias from AIR FORCE (and this is most likely the only Flynn movie to feature a 100% male cast).
   Flynn as Capt. Nelson leads a group of American paratroopers on mission deep into the Burmese jungles to destroy a Japanese radar installation. Henry Hull as war correspondent Mark Williams comes along and serves as the surrogate "folks back home", along with having military procedures and tactics explained to him which helps keeps the audience informed of whats going on. Flynn is really good here and gives a very grim & determined performance (his reaction after finding the bodies of some of his men who've been brutally killed by the enemy is one of his best performances ever).
   The jungles of Burma are sometimes not to convincingly portrayed by the Providencia Ranch location in the Hollywood Hills, but close ups that were shot at L.A. County Arboretum help along with a multitude off over dubbed "jungle" sound effects and there is a sequence at a ruined temple along a river that features some excellent set design.
   The Warner DVD has a great extra entitled "The Tanks Are Coming" from 1941 which features George Tobias as NYC taxi drive who drives his taxi down to Ft. Knox KY. to enlist in the U.S. Army as a tank driver. If your a tank geek (like me) this has scads of Technicolor footage of early war U.S. armor.




2 comments:

  1. What always amazes me about this one is that it plays so fast -- even though it's over two hours long. Raoul Walsh was a master!

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    1. Thanks for bring that up - I can't believe I didn't mention Raoul Walsh in my write-up !

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