To the Shores of Tripoli (1942)

Approved   |    |  Drama, Romance, War

To the Shores of Tripoli (1942) Poster

Life at the Marine Training Base in San Diego on the eve of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.


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20 March 2010 | MartinHafer
| Sort of like "Buck Privates" without the laughs and singing..
The plot of "To the Shores of Tripoli" is very, very similar to the very popular "Buck Privates" starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. But, unlike this film from the year before, "To the Shores of Tripoli" is not meant to be a comedy. Like the earlier film, this one starts with an obnoxious and self-assured brat of a man (John Payne) walking into the Marine base--assuming because of his connections that he will be accorded special privileges. But, like the other film, his father goes behind his back and insists that his son needs character building and NO exceptions or special favors should be granted to him. And, like "Buck Privates", the brat manages to make a nuisance of himself until, ultimately, he finds redemption. In the interim, he relentlessly chases a pretty nurse (Maureen O'Hara), tangles repeatedly with his Sergeant and makes a few friends--then alienates them with his boorish attitude.

Overall, the film looks great. It's filmed in full color--the sort of intense 1940s color that doesn't quite look real, but is better in some ways than real life! The acting is excellent (with Payne, O'Hara and Randolph Scott) and there is a nice group of actors who play the recruits such as Harry Morgan (in his first film), "Slapsie" Maxie Rosenbloom and William Tracy (famous for his Sergeant Doubleday films with Hal Roach). As for the story, it's very predictable and formulaic throughout, but it's well-made formula! Mindless but very enjoyable wartime propaganda that must have done a lot to bolster the public behind the war effort.

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Did You Know?


The exercise scene that takes place during Basic Training was filmed using actual Marines stationed at San Diego Recruit Depot as extras.


Chris Winters: Don't be that way come on let's go
Mary Carter: Sergeant?
Sgt. Dixie Smith: Yes, Ma'm
Mary Carter: Sergeant, can you explain to private Winters that as a Navy Nurse I hold the rank equivalent to a Lieutenant and at all times should be address in the same matter as a commissioner officer
Chris Winters: A ...
Mary Carter: and ...


GySgt "Dixie" Smith displays six hash marks on his dress blues. Each one represents 4 yr. of service. So at most, he would have 27 yr. in the Corps. Since the movie is set in the latter half of 1941, that means he joined the Marines in 1914. The U.S.A. entered WW1 in 1917, the war ended in 1918. Dixie Smith declares early in the movie that Mr. Winters, Senior, Chris Winters's old man, was Dixie's platoon leader or company commander (I don't believe it is specified) and Dixie the senior noncom in the unit; and later in the movie, Mr. Winters explains that Dixie was his platoon sergeant or company first sergeant (again, not clearly specified) during the war. I don't believe that Smith would, only three years in, have held either of those positions...perhaps in a unit suffering extensive casualties, yes...but the dialogue implies that Dixie was an old veteran noncom even during WW1, which his hash marks don't suggest.


Chattanooga Choo Choo
Music by
Harry Warren
Played at the big dance


Plot Summary


Drama | Romance | War

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