Guadalcanal Diary (1943)

Approved   |    |  Drama, War

Guadalcanal Diary (1943) Poster

The story of a large U.S. Marines invasion task force bound for Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in 1942.


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6 September 2007 | ccthemovieman-1
| Movie Went From Bad To Good
This wasn't bad, when you compare it to the average World War II film made back in the 1940s. In the first half, it had too many of the same negative aspects that many of its contemporary war movies had at the time. The narration was corny and the dialog by the GIs here is so dated and so racist it's embarrassing. Hey, I am the first to acknowledge how political correctness has run amok in recent years and, in fact, is out of control, but, still, hearing "Jap" yelled out every third sentence, and guys making slant-eyed "jokes" all the time is offensive, even for me.

In that 40 minutes, we had the normal William Bendix-role of playing--a-clown-from- Brooklyn, the priest who is a good guy but too often indistinguishable from the soldiers, the young kid who looks and acts about 15, and most of the other cliché characters you see in this old movies. However, part of this was for a purpose: to show how these guys went from cocky, almost- ignorant soldiers who underestimated their foes, to veterans who calmed down and had their arrogant attitude kicked out of them. In fact, Bendix wound up making some very profound statements about 20 minutes from the end when things really looked bad. There's a lot of honesty in this movie, as it turned out.

But, despite that first 40 minutes of mostly-inane chatter which took away from the sense of the guys being in a brutal situation, which these GIs were in - the second half made up for it. It had tons of drama, suspense and action, plus a plea or two to the folks back home in the USA watching this film. I have no problem with that. Why not? Our soldiers should always be given whatever they need since they're putting their lives on the line for us back here. Some people didn't like those, nor the prayers or the religious angle in here, but that's today's secular-progressives who have no tolerance. I read one big-city critic who objected to the scene showing the soldier disappointed he didn't get any mail! Give me a break. Sorry, but sometimes it's good to see a war movie with some old fashioned patriotism, "religion" and sentimentality.

Overall, however, these 60-some-year-old movies just can't stack up to the realistic ones made today, and that's understandable. But, credit this film with having easily more actual war action than the average movie of its day and totally switched from dumb to pretty intelligent the last half of the movie.

These guys got pummeled from the land, the sea and the air. It would be interesting to see this movie re-made today. It might be tough to watch with all the carnage, but I'd like to see it with a appropriate tribute to these brave men.

The DVD sports a good transfer. "Fox War Classics" always look pretty sharp.

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