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Author Topic: They Were Expendable (1945)  (Read 2967 times)
tucumcari bound
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« on: September 03, 2008, 02:02:43 PM »


A dramatized account of the role of the American PT Boats in the defense of the Philippines in World War II.

A great John Ford directed war-epic that is not often talked about. This is a real gem and the talent involved in this production makes it a must-see.


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« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2008, 02:04:12 PM »

Love that title!
Hate John Ford war movies!

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« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2008, 02:05:03 PM »

Love that title!
Hate John Ford war movies!

You hate John Ford war movies? Really FC? Any particular reason why? Just curious.

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« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2008, 09:51:13 PM »

I own this on dvd.  I thought the production was great, but it lacked a certain "something."  I dunno, I saw it so long ago I can't hardly remember.

8/10


If i remember.. correctly.

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« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2010, 03:05:40 PM »

They Were Expendable - 8/10 - Very good, not quite great. It's very unlike the average Ford film, with very little humor, drinking or bumptiousness; it has to rank with Battleground as one of the grittiest, most believable WWII flicks out there. It's also a bit long and slow-paced, and Robert Montgomery is pretty stiff and uninteresting as the film's nominal lead. The Duke, on the other hand, is great. He's not quite against-type but he's a lot more bitter and hard-nosed than most of his films. The romance with a pretty Donna Reed was tastefully, and believably handled. The ending nicely straddled the line between bleak and uplifting.

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« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2014, 11:22:42 PM »

just saw TWE for the first time, on TCM (recorded a bunch of films on TCM's 5-day Duke tribute a while ago, watching them now as time permits)

I really liked it, I give it a 9/10

In the beginning (first half, or third or whatever, don't exactly remember) I wasn't feeling it too much, was wondering why everyone makes a big deal about this film, but then, in the second half or 2/3, I really loved it. Unlike Groggy, I do like Robert Montgomery. He's not John Wayne, and who knows what woulda coulda been if Wayne had played the lead, but as it is I really liked the movie, thought the cast was all good.
In the biggest fighting scene, where the two PT boats torpedo that huge Jap ship, wasn't it a little silly how the Jap ship fires a million and one times at the two PT boats and never scratches them? I think maybe a couple of sailors were hit by bullets, but the boats were never hit. I know the PT boats had the advantage of being small and quick, and I sure as hell ain't no naval expert, but when I saw the endless barrage of shots being rained down upon the PT boats, all narrowly missing, like they were "walking between the raindrops," I just had to roll my eyes a little. Still, that was an enjoyable scene to watch.
I wasn't familiar with the story behind the movie until after I watched the movie and read a little on Wikipedia about the battles of Bataan and Corregidor [I know much more about the European battles of WWII rather than the Pacific], maybe I'd have enjoyed it even more if I was more familiar with the battles.
The ending was done really well IMO, sad how that soldier who was #31 pretty much knows he ain't making it off the island alive. Sometimes in war, many people are dying, but when you get the personal story, that is much more moving, that's the way human emotions are: you somehow able to be more moved by the one guy who knows he won't make it out alive and writes the letter to his wife, than you are by hearing that 15,000 Americans and 60,000 Filipinos (I think) surrendered at Bataan and are about to either die or be starved/tortured.

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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2016, 08:36:20 AM »

WAC brings this to blu sometime "this summer." I'll be buying a copy.

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« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2016, 11:55:20 AM »

WAC brings this to blu sometime "this summer." I'll be buying a copy.
June 7, in fact. Ordered!

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« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2016, 06:46:12 AM »

http://trailersfromhell.com/they-were-expendable/#.V1t39Shy_0c

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« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2017, 01:23:01 AM »

I just saw the movie for the second time (TCM)


This movie is just spectacular 9/10

For me, this is a contender for the saddest, most heartbreaking movie ever made. Was done so well. In war, we love the uplifiting and heroic and heartwarming stories, but many many great men were lost as well. The ending - and not just the final scene, but the whole latter part of the movie, with the sense of impending doom ... what an unbelievable movie. Done so well and tastefully. And done without any schmaltz or mawkishness. Making us feel the doom, the sadness, but without being preachy or schmaltzy or mawkish, just a brilliant job. Even when people know they are about to die, there are no extended deathbed scenes with endless crying. Just a good old slap on the arm and that's all.

 This is a rare film where the love story does not screw it up, does not feel forced, fits in so well and done so tastefully. That dinner scene was so beautiful. (I wish it could have lasted longer!) Having Donna Reed be a little shining ray of light for the guys in that situation, sitting at the head of the table so they could all feast their eyes on her - in a totally respectful way.

Having her in her military clothes - but removing her cap, briefly brushing her hair and putting on a necklace, before sitting down to a meal of soup, biscuits, and jam - was just so perfect, showing how this dinner makes the best of the situation. That was just so great; a lesser movie would have had her show up in a fancy gown and jewelry as they sit down to filet mignon and champagne.

The MacArthur segment was done so well. Much of it in long shot, how he would have appeared to the wide-eyed sailors. And his name was never mentioned. We just see the boat come carrying this special cargo, who begin to exit. First the doll. Then the boy. Then the mother and the nanny. Finally, the man in the cap and sunglasses and walking stick.


The performances were solid up and down the line.

What a terrific movie  Afro Afro Afro

-----

John Ford was injured during filming, and Robert Montgomery directed some scenes. Does anyone know if it is recorded anywhere which scenes were directed by Montgomery?

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« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2017, 02:07:05 AM »

Wonderful film. I love Ford anyway, one of cinema's 10 best directors ever.

He broke his leg falling of a camera platform near the end of studio filming.
Ford insisted that Wayne & Montgomery carried the stretcher to the ambulance.

Montgomery shot only some process action footage, but quite well - Ford was very pleased.

It was the first film Ford made after his war experience and it shows. Of course it
is quite long, especially for today's viewers, and not a film one could watch at any given time.

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« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2017, 03:39:23 AM »

Wonderful film. I love Ford anyway, one of cinema's 10 best directors ever.

He broke his leg falling of a camera platform near the end of studio filming.
Ford insisted that Wayne & Montgomery carried the stretcher to the ambulance.

Montgomery shot only some process action footage, but quite well - Ford was very pleased.

It was the first film Ford made after his war experience and it shows. Of course it
is quite long, especially for today's viewers, and not a film one could watch at any given time.


Thanks!

So Montgomery shot the rear-projection stuff, or did he shoot the film of the main characters that plays against a rear projection?

 Yes, the movie is a bit long. Maybe it could have sped things up a tad (particularly) in the first half. The whole business was "Dad" fixing the broken boat could have been done much more quickly. A few minutes could have been chopped off the movie - this is a minor  criticism of an incredible movie.

And yeah, " not a film that want to watch it any given time." This film took so much out  of me emotionally that it takes a while before I want to go through that again. In general I find that: the movies that are not as emotional are able to be viewed much more frequently. The movies that test your guts out are movies that I just don't watch very often. It's like the effect of the previous viewing has to have worn off before I can make myself go through it again  Wink

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