Published on October 15th, 2007 | by Chris2
Objective, Burma (1945)
Yet another from the "where has this movie been all my life" category, 1945's Objective, Burma! is a classic in every sense of the word. Even if its wholly inaccurate from an historical point of view. Just ask the British, as this film was actually banned in the UK for a time because of its mis-telling of the Burma campaign in favor of the US.
Watching this, you immediately realize that films like this had a direct influence on contemporary filmmakers like Lucas and Spielberg. The pacing, the perfect soundtrack, the editing.... it all almost feels like an episode of the Indiana Jones series. Although if there's one complaint it would be the definite overuse and near-abuse of the "Jungle Sound Effects" record. It really gets tiresome hearing the same monkey, bird, and elephant calls over and over (and over) again.
The story follows a squad of US army commandos, led by one Captain Nelson (Errol Flynn) who are charged with destroying a Japanese radar station in advance of the invasion of Burma. Along for the ride is Williams (Henry Hull), a newspaper reporter who really gets in over his head. And in true action film style, they do so, coming through without a scratch.
From there, though, things rapidly go downhill for the team. They are basically decimated by the Japanese, being stranded by a missed pickup opportunity and having to be on the run from the enemy. They eventually wind up at the center of the invasion, although its too late for most of the men, as only a handful are fortunate enough to make it back.
It's also noteworthy that this movie gets about as graphic as they would have allowed back then, especially when they come across the village where they find the other half of their squad butchered by the Japs. Without actually showing anything, its really sent home the animosity and hatred that was prevalent toward the Japanese. After that there's no doubt *why* they felt this way. Propaganda? Maybe, as the closing scroll might suggest, but I imagine there's more truth to it than just idle flag waving. There are some particularly gruesome parts to their final night-time ambush as well.
Errol Flynn is, well, his usual class act self. He even manages to pull this one off without the usual air of arrogance and pomposity that usually surrounds his characters. Also present is the ever fun George Tobias, and James Brown (no not that one) as his Staff Sargeant.
Remember though that this is 1945, and a certain amount of flag waving and propagandistic feelings are present. You can't escape it. All in all Objective, Burma! is a classic, and I'll even say fun, but still painfully true, exercise.
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Summary: Remember though that this is 1945, and a certain amount of flag waving and propagandistic feelings are present. You can't escape it. All in all Objective, Burma! is a classic, and I'll even say fun, but still painfully true, exercise.