Published on August 1st, 2007 | by Chris1
Gung Ho! (1943)
Have you ever seen those old Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck cartoons where somebody holds up a flag with a picture of a screw and a baseball (screwball!) or an ear of corn (corny!) in response to somebody?
Well, I'm gonna hold up the corn flag for this film. I'm sure the creators of Gung Ho! had the best intentions at heart when they made this picture. It stars Randolph Scott as Col. Thorwald, the leader of a newly created crack squad of Marines, and a bunch of other lesser-known guys, oh and some young kid named Robert Mitchum.
The movie follows the "Raiders" through selection and right on through into training, periodically providing some narration, which really only adds to the "corn factor." They complete their training and ship off to parts unknown. About the only noteworthy portion of the film comes when they pass the recently destroyed Pearl Harbor and we get to see some stock footage (that I'd never seen before) of the wrecked ships. They board a submarine and head off towards their goal, Makin Island. On that island is a Japanese radio station they need to take out, and only at this point do they learn their purpose.
Up until the actual battle, the picture tries to document the Marines training and the "life" they lead on board the ships, and their out-of-place presence on board the sub. There's a lot of talk up until this point, and not too much of anything else. Well, unless you count a brief interlude where Mitchum's character almost gets drowned because he was left above decks during a dive.
As for the final battle itself, well, there's a lot of overly dramatic and overplayed deaths, a lot of bogus "heroics" and a lot of noise. The final stage of the battle actually is pretty inventive, and I'll give 'em credit for that one, but after so much mediocre acting and whatnot, it just doesn't cut it. Quite frankly between the limited camera work, overdone acting and writing, the whole thing almost feels like a stage play.
I should say there are actually two interesting parts to this picture, the first being the stock Pearl images, and the second being the origin of the USMC's "Gung Ho!" as it was explained by Col. Thorwald. I never realized its source, and frankly never gave it much thought, but I'm glad I do now.
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A Marine colonel and his hand-picked men raid Japanese-held Makin Island during World War II.
DVD InformationBinding: DVD
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Brand: Alpha Video
Manufacturer: Alpha Video
Original Release Date:
- Randolph Scott
- Alan Curtis
- Noah Beery Jr.
- J. Carrol Naish
- Sam Levene
Summary: Have you ever seen those old Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck cartoons where somebody holds up a flag with a picture of a screw and a baseball (screwball!) or an ear of corn (corny!) in response to somebody? Well, I'm gonna hold up the corn flag for this film.