William Bendix once told "The Saturday Evening Post"'s "The Role I Liked Best" column in 1946 that his character of Cpl. Aloysius T. 'Taxi' Potts was his favorite of all the roles he had played, as it had given him "the widest range of opportunity" for an actor. Moreover, Bendix stated that he was moved by the letters he had received from military personnel who recognized his gutsy performance as a soldier. Bendix also added that he and his fellow cast members enjoyed the experience of working with the US Marines based at Camp Pendleton.
Marine Corps Capt. Marion Carl, a multi-ace (18.5 air victories), makes an appearance as a Marine Corps pilot. Capt. Carl wears his baseball cap with the bill pointed skyward and makes the comment, "Don't look now, fellas, but a truck of gas just came on the field." Capt. Carl was a survivor of the Battle of Midway and the air campaign for Guadalcanal in 1942. He was awarded 2 Navy Crosses for his actions at Midway and Guadalcanal. Sadly, on June 28, 1998, he was murdered in his Oregon home by a home intruder.
Film debut of Richard Jaeckel. NOTE: He was 17 years of age at the time. He had been a messenger boy for 20th Century-Fox when he was cast in the film.
The film accurately shows Marines armed with bolt-action rifles. While Garand rifles were available, they were not available in numbers sufficient to issue to the Marines before setting sail.
This movie was made in 1943, only one year after the Battle of Guadalcanal, which was fought between 7 August 1942 and 9 February 1943. The film premiered in the US around 27 October 1943, which was about ten months after the end of the Guadalcanal campaign.
The extras were real Marines. Some were from the Amphibious Tank unit that went ashore on Guam and Iwo Jima.
The 'Daily Variety' of 28 August 1945 reported that 20th Century-Fox was involved with litigation from Donald Petersen in relation to injuries that he allegedly sustained during production of this movie. It was alleged that Petersen suffered broken ear drums from a dynamite explosion that was exploded prematurely. Petersen was awarded $15,000 in damages in a jury trial, which was then appealed by the studio.
Roy Roberts, who plays Capt. Cross, seems to have doubled as the voice of the radio sportscaster.
Guadalcanal is situated in the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean, northeast of Australia. Its local name is Isatabu and it contains the country's capital, Honiara. The island is humid and mostly made up of jungle with a surface area of 2,510 square miles or 6,500-km². Guadalcanal was named after Pedro de Ortega's home town Guadalcanal in Andalusia, Spain. de Ortega worked under Álvaro de Mendaña, who charted the island in 1568.
This was the first time that Richard Conte was credited under that name. This was his second feature film. In his first, Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence (1939), he had been billed as Nicholas Conte.
In several of the opening scenes, Marines had 1903 Springfield rifles with metal guards over the front sights. The guards are to protect the sight during transport and are taken off when shooting.
Last entry on the closing credits: FOR VICTORY U.S. WAR BONDS AND STAMPS BUY YOURS IN THIS THEATRE
The Hollywood premiere was a charity benefit to aid various war charities, with the 60-piece Pendleton Field Marine Band performing at the bash. According to the 'Hollywood Reporter', the launch was attended by "top-ranking officers of the Marines, Army and Navy . . . [and] about fifty war heroes."
The Philadelphia premiere was dedicated to celebrating the 168th anniversary of the inception of the United States Marine Corps.
Stars William Bendix, Preston Foster, Richard Jaeckel and Lloyd Nolan all reprised their characters in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on 28 February 1944.
Capt. Clarence Martin, who fought with the first detachment of Marines at Guadalcanal, acted as a technical adviser.
In 1950 20th Century Fox theatrically reissued this film on a bill with Belle Starr (1941) and The Purple Heart (1944).
This movie's opening prologue states:"Appreciation is gratefully acknowledged to the United States Marine Corps and to the Army, the Navy and the Coast Guard whose assistance and participation made this picture possible."