GUNG HO! (1943)
U.S. Marine Raiders in Action...Blasting Their Way To Tokyo!
HOT LEAD! COLD STEEL! YANKEE GUTS!
We're going back to World War II with an exciting feature called GUNG HO! This film is about how the newly formed 2nd Marine Raider Battalion faced a frightening first mission during the early days of the war. The assignment was to smash the much larger Japanese garrison on Makin Island. The movie has a gritty, realistic feel, achieved by the use of actual combat footage, and a cast of reliable Hollywood tough guys, including Randolph Scott, and Noah Beery Jr. Also, keep an eye out for a young Robert Mitchum in one of his earliest roles as the swaggering 'Pig-Iron' Matthews!
The film's title, "Gung Ho", is a Chinese expression that translates roughly as "to work together". Major Evans Carlson, who was the basis for the character played by Randolph Scott, picked up the phrase from a friend who had worked with some Chinese organizations. Carlson liked the expression, and introduced it to his troops. His men loved it, and the phrase became the motto of the 2nd Marine Battalion. The phrase became so popular that it worked its way into the English language. But chances are, the first time most Americans ever heard the expression was in this movie...
THREE CAME HOME (1950)
Three Came Home is the story of one woman's confinement in a World War II Japanese prison camp. Adapted from Agnes Newton Keith's war-time prison memoir, the movie shows Keith courageously dealing with being separated from her husband, and then surviving with her young son in captivity until the end of the war. The film was directed by Oscar nominee Jean Negulesco, and stars Claudette Colbert as Agnes Newton Keith. The New York Times’ Bosley Crowther wrote upon the film's release that it will “shock you, disturb you, and tear your heart out, but will fill you fully with a great respect for a heroic soul”.
Colonel Suga was played by Japanese actor, Sessue Hayakawa. You might know him best for his Oscar nominated performance in Bridge on the River Kwai where he played another stern camp commandant. Hayakawa had been a star in the silent film era, but his career suffered in relation to whatever anti-Asian sentiment was going on in America at the time. He spent most of the 1930s and ‘40s acting in other parts of the world, but after World War II he gave Hollywood one last shot. This turned out to be the best time of his career, for along with River Kwai and Three Came Back, he appeared in films like Sam Fuller’s House of Bamboo, and Tokyo Joe with Humphrey Bogart. In 1960, Hayakawa received a well-deserved star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame…
All of these movies are available through thefilmdetective.com, where vintage movies are restored, remastered, and reborn. Follow us on Twitter
Or follow me at @DonStradley