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  • One of Tony Curtis' early starring roles is this war film of a detachment of Marines sent out to locate a planter and verify a message he sent concerning the location of Japanese minefields on the island. Because of the danger surrounding their mission, tempers are frayed and old resentments surface as the platoon makes its way through the jungle while trying to avoid detection by Japanese soldiers who seem to be all around them. The film has several tense moments as the Marines find a way to slip through the tightening Japanese noose and face even more danger after locating the planter and his daughter. Curtis is the marquee name here and his Hollywood hunk appeal is displayed to good effect while trying to spark pretty Mary Murphy. Frank Lovejoy is solid as always as the Marine sergeant leader with something to prove after a disastrous result at Guadalcanal. John Doucette, a great character actor in his time, has a cameo role as a major who sends the platoon out on its mission impossible. Technicolor is lush and realistic and the music score is also very nice.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I remember this movie because I saw it at Ten Mile River Boy Scout Camp about 1955-56 And I remember it because The Camp Master had made an announcement that they had a surprise for us that night.And of course all day long we wondered what it was.And of course we all came up with ideas that at the time seemed logical,but of course looking back seem funny now .And I remember it was a nice cool summer night and we sat down on the grass and then the movie started and it was Beachhead and starred actors who of course at the time I knew nothing about .And of course now I know that it was Tony Curtis,Frank Lovejoy(an underrated actor who was always good no matter what he did Mary Murphy,Eduard Franz (another fine actor who always did a great job )Skip Homier (Who passed away earlier this year RIP Skip)john Doucette and an actor named Alan Wells .And to a bunch of boy scouts having a chance to see a movie like this was a great thrill.And of course for years I remembered the story but not the name until one night I saw it on TV and realized it was the movie I had seen so many years ago .And it was as good as I remembered it .And since its been reviewed so many times I decided not to review it But instead did it this way okay? 10/31/2017 2:28P.M.
  • See it – This Tony Curtis movie is finally being rediscovered, and it is beyond me how it has gone under the radar for so long. In some ways, this is superior to a lot of other WWII movies. It is the story of 4 marines who embark on a secret mission on a Japanese-occupied island. Their mission is to sneak through the jungle to meet an intelligence contact. It has a lot of rugged action and never lacks in the excitement department. But it is missing the elements that make a film a classic. For instance, the acting and script leave a lot to be desired. And the ending action scene is laughable because of the horrible special effects. I guess they didn't want to wait 30 years for the scene to be done right. But as shocking as it is to hear me say it, this is actually a good Tony Curtis action movie when it's all said and done. 4 out of 5 action rating
  • gridoon202024 November 2016
    Warning: Spoilers
    I am generally not a fan of war films, but "Beachhead" is a more personal kind of war film, in which a small group of people take a journey that challenges not only their bodies, but their priorities and their values as well. The director, Stuart Heisler, maintains fairly consistent tension; an opening scene, where a man is blown up in an explosion as the title appears on the screen, is quite graphic for 1954. A young, pumped-up Tony Curtis holds it together with a strong, physical performance, and he is well-supported by Frank Lovejoy and the most appealing Mary Murphy. She is also game for the physical scenes, even if her character cannot escape the cliché of the woman who sprains her ankle and then has to be carried along. Filmed on location in Kauai - which is another plus. *** out of 4.
  • Tony Curtis stars as a US Marine on a treacherous mission to locate a Frenchman on Bougainville who may have important information which will save the lives of hundreds of American troops. He's accompanied on the mission by Sergeant Frank Lovejoy, who failed in his last mission on Guadalcanal, and GIs Skip Homeier and Alan Wells. The film's title implies an invasion sequence, but Beachhead is more of a cat and mouse chase film, with our heroes--also burdened by the presence of attractive love interest Mary Murphy--being pursued by a squad of Japanese troops. Curtis looks hot and hunky and never has a hair out of place. It's not the most realistic or exciting war film you've ever seen, but the Kauai location footage adds flavour and Lovejoy is fairly good.
  • During WWII a commando is assigned a dangerous mission on an island of Pacific already inhabited by stranded Japanese forces . The American platoon is commanded by sergeant Fletcher (Frank Lovejoy) who rules over soldiers (Tony Curtis , Skip Homeier..) . At the beginning the Marines are successfully in wiping out Japanese . But they are spotted and descended upon by enemies forces . They must escort a French planter (Eduard Franz) and his daughter Nina (Mary Murphy) to the other side of the Pacific island , suffering exhaustion , encounters and the elements until they are rescued . Then the daredevil sergeant and the tough soldier find themselves vying during the escape . The group must try to survive enemy that undergo a chase and a mini-war , as they fight all by themselves and finally find how wrong his misconceptions are .

    This is a flag-waver wartime movie with a typical crew of Marines battling the 'yellow menace' and retrieve important documents on a Pacific atoll . The film packs warlike action , thrills , drama and results to be quite entertaining . The story contains a brief studio character seeking human frailty beneath surface heroism . Splendid Frank Lovejoy as tough sergeant , in one of the best roles and Tony Curtis is impressive , no thanks to mediocre script . Director Stuart Heisler's skill with the thrills overcomes the artificiality of the story . Heisler made various films with known actors and diverse genres , such as Gary Cooper (Dallas) , Susan Hayward (Tulsa , Smash-up) , Linda Darnell (This is my love) , Jack Palance (Died a thousand times , a remake of High Sierra) and Tony Curtis , among others . A cool cast , nice direction from Heisler with riveting climax and enhanced by energetic score (Emil Newman) make this a must for warlike fans.

    Other movies concerning the wartime sub-genre about American soldiers battling Japanese on the Pacific islands during the WWII are the followings : Guadalcanal diary (43) by Lewis Seiler with Anthony Quinn and Lloyd Nolan ; the classic Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) by Allan Dawn with John Wayne ; Objective Burma by Raoul Walsh with Errol Flynn ; None but the brave , directed and starred by Frank Sinatra ; and Between heaven and hell (1956) with Robert Wagner , among them.
  • If the U.S. Marines had not put a few diversionary landings on the small island location of this film, Mary Murphy and Eduard Franz might have had to spend the rest of the war playing tag with the Japanese.

    As it is their island as per the strategy of MacArthur is being hopped over for a landing on nearby Bougainville. But Franz knows where the minefields on Bougainville are located and he sends out a message. Of course it has to be confirmed so Frank Lovejoy is given a special mission for his squad to find Franz and verify.

    Easier said than done, especially with the other men of the squad, Tony Curtis, Alan Wells, and Skip Homeier hating Lovejoy's guts over some business back at Guadalcanal. But they're going to have to get over it if the mission is to be accomplished.

    Not usual for war films, but Mary Murphy in a tight blue dress is a nice diversion for the audience. She sure is a nice diversion for Tony Curtis who has to keep his mind on the war.

    Beachhead does have some nice location photography on the Hawaiian island of Kauai for a very realistic setting in a film about the Pacific War.

    It's not the greatest of war films, but passably entertaining enough.
  • About half-way through the movie, there's an episode with a Japanese prisoner that's really chilling and unexpected. It's what I've remembered of this war film over the years, and I expect it took some nerve for the screenplay to treat the topic in such a cold-blooded way. Aside from that memorable scene, the chase across the island generates some suspense and having the Japanese tracker played by a bare-chested muscle man adds a colorful scary touch. Then too, filming in the jungles of Kauai makes events seem more real and interesting to look at.

    At this stage of his career, Tony Curtis was considered little more than a light-weight pretty boy with a heavy Bronx accent. He was later to prove the critics wrong. Beachead is a better movie than might be expected, thanks to director Stuart Heisler who knows how to stage scenes and keep things moving. (Note the jolting way he stages Skip Homeier's death scene.) Pacing events is no small challenge since Heisler has to work in a romance between Curtis and Murphy in the midst of combat on a Pacific island.

    Anyway, the acting is good, especially the always low-key Frank Lovejoy as the Marine sergeant-- too bad, he's now largely forgotten. I guess the producers had to protect Curtis's matinée appeal by including Murphy in the cast (note how her dress gets skimpier and skimpier as they scamper along!). Her role is okay if you can buy her and Curtis getting "intimate" in the middle of a life-and-death chase. Be that as it may, despite its potboiler status, this little programmer has some nice touches and holds interest throughout.
  • This particular war movie has its fine moments, implementing the good, old-fashioned "never-a-dull-moment" bravura common of the numerous World War II B-movies of its type. However, I find a few aspects baffling. The Marines assigned on secret missions such as those played by Curtis and Lovejoy should not be armed with standard rifles; hard-hitting weaponry like Thompson 'Tommy' .45 caliber submachine guns would have been more appropriate. There was one prop that was also questionable, like the immobile one-dimensional Type 95 Japanese tank they were taking shots at, which if memory serves me well, appeared to be a well-tailored but hilariously-obvious cardboard cutout!! But, aforementioned criteria aside, the film is indeed enlightening and I recommend it as quintessential entertainment for a late Saturday night. (I myself last saw this movie with my brother back in 1986 on a Saturday night/Sunday morning 2:00 a.m. time slot, on ABC Channel 7's well-renowned Late, Late Show.)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    SPOILER: Description of a combat scene.

    There are many reviews of BEACHHEAD so I won't post one. It's fairly entertaining if you are into war movies and even if BEACHHEAD is fairly straightforward along a well-used formula.

    The best scene in the movie will interest those involved with the Asian martial arts. Late in the movie, the intrepid, old-timer Marine sergeant stays behind to ensnare the relentless Japanese commando sniper, who looks like an Asian version of Rambo, shirtless, clad only in shorts, carrying an Arisaka rifle with sniper scope, and a belt with minimal supplies and a knife.

    The cunning Marine sergeant pretends to be shot by the Japanese sniper and plays dead, intending to knife the unsuspecting sniper as he approaches to inspect his latest target. The ploy works, almost. The sergeant had no idea the sniper would be quick on his feet and naturally well-versed in hand-to-hand combat. The next plays out best as the two men grapple in deadly combatives. In fact, the Japanese seems to have the initial edge. He successfully employs two jujutsu/judo throws on the Marine sergeant, who is not injured, although in real life he would have been, and gets back on his feet. He blocks an 'atemi' knife/sword hand blow (edge of the hand) from the sniper which could have injured or killed him. The Marine sergeant doesn't appear to know any official hand-to-hand combat training but uses his own strength, born of desperation, and simple street fighting and grappling to eventually overcome the Japanese sniper. It was curious because the film clearly showed the Japanese sniper having superior hand-to-hand combat training.

    It will be more ironic to know that much of Western military hand-to-hand combat during WW2 and ever since then is based on Japanese jujutsu and combat judo. At the end of the 19th century and into the first two decades of the 20th century, Japan actively exported judo and jujutsu to the West as a demonstration of Japanese culture. Unlike the Chinese who jealously guarded kung fu (wu shu) knowledge from foreigners, the Japanese enthusiastically showed the majority of their hand-to-hand combat arts to foreigners, all except for closely guarded family-only taught advanced secrets of jujutsu ryu. Old books from this time period show the Japanese demonstrating jujutsu and judo with Westerners. Combat jujutsu and combat judo formed the core discipline of the Allied nations' military hand-to-hand combatives. It came about not quite directly. A British detective in Shanghai, Fairbairn, developed his own hand-to-hand combatives for the Shanghai police force, known as, DEFENDU, which he based upon his own extensive study of Japanese jujutsu, Western boxing and wrestling moves. At the start of World War 2, Fairbairn returned to England and helped organize the hand-to-hand combat regimen to the British Commandos. The Americans sent instructors to England to learn this style of deadly hand-to-hand combat. Thus the Japanese of WW2 found themselves fighting American, British, and Australian soldiers with jujutsu-influenced combat training. This was irony at its finest.

    Many nations including the U.S. teach advanced hand-to-hand combat training that have its roots in WW2. Investigate those roots and all of it leads back to Japanese jujutsu and combat judo. There exists today on Amazon, copies of a 1944 book co-authored by an American man and a Japanese man, both black belts in judo. Since the year 1944 was the height of WW2, the authors oriented the book towards practical self-defense. Interesting, in contrast with post-war judo and its near total emphasis on sport, the book includes a chapter on 'atemi', blows and strikes with the hands, feet, and even head, against listed targets on a human anatomy diagram. This was actually a significant part of Jigoro Kano's early years on his newly-found judo. But time went by, the teaching of atemi became restricted to the black belt ranks and remains so today. The extensive depiction of atemi in that 1944 book would be clearly prohibited under Kodokan Judo today.
  • The other reviews pretty much cover the ground. The premise is pretty hokey. What was a French planter doing on islands that were never controlled by France. How could he have lived his whole life on those islands when he must have been born before the British, not the French, made them a protectorate? How did a planter living on an island occupied by the Japanese learn the location of sea mines planted around the island of Bougainville, 30 miles away?

    One more complaint. Why do so many movies have the heroine trip and hurt her ankle. So many have silly scenes like that: "'help I've fallen and I can't get up."

    I will next limit my comments to a few corrections.

    One review refers to the scene of the action as an "atoll". Wrong, atolls are low islands built up from coral. This was obviously filmed on one of the high volcanic islands that dot the Pacific Ocean, Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands.

    Another comment call it a "wartime movie". Filmed in 1953, it was far too late for that. After all WW II ended in 1945.

    One review mentioned similar movies, described as those with

    "American soldiers battling Japanese on the Pacific islands during the WWII are the following: ..... Objective Burma by Raoul Walsh with Errol Flynn"

    Sorry, but Burma is a whole country all its own on the Asian mainland. It is not an island in the Pacific or any other ocean. The only coastline it has faces the Indian Ocean. The movie really frosted the Brits when it came out in 1944 since they knew full well that Burma was the objective of the British XIVth Army which re-conquered it from the Japanese. The Brits angrily objected to Americans claiming that victory in the movies. Ironically the XIVth Army was made up largely of divisions from the Indian Army.
  • Standard Hollywood war heroics, clearly minor-league despite being filmed in pleasant Technicolor; it's yet another Pacific-based actioner with a tight American unit on an 'impossible' mission before the fleet's planned all-out attack. Typically, tension is created among the men by the fact that the commanding officer (Frank Lovejoy) is 'tainted' – his leadership qualities having been taken to task over the massacre at Guadalcanal. Here, too, he causes the death of two of his underlings – leaving only himself and Tony Curtis to verify the message sent by a French missionary from a Japanese-held island. When they finally come across him, the soldiers are surprised to find he has brought a daughter (Mary Murphy) along: of course, this strains the relationship between the two fighting men all the more – though it's rather silly of middle-aged Lovejoy to think he could offer competition to the rugged, handsome Curtis! The action set-pieces are adequately handled under the circumstances (with one surprising bit involving a U.S. marine being dragged by the enemy inside their tank about to explode from his own grenade!) but, at the end of the day, the film emerges a rather undistinguished entry within this prolific genre.
  • "Beachhead" is an okay war film but it certainly could have been a lot better. It's a shame, as with a few changes, it would have been a dandy film.

    The film begins with a small group of men (including Frank Lovejoy and a young Tony Curtis) in the Pacific are sent on a reconnaissance mission just before a huge invasion during WWII. They need to find a Frenchman and determine if the information he's relayed to the military about the Japanese is accurate or not. Not surprisingly for a clichéd film, when they finally find him he turns out to have a hot daughter--one who really bogs down the film and does nothing to advance the film. Again and again, the guys seem to forget that their goal is to get the information and get back as soon as possible--as they REALLY want to score with this cute young lady! In the end, I assume they didn't have enough money to complete the spectacular battle sequence--so they superimposed a lot of fake explosions over the enemy soldiers and a ship that seemed to have nothing to do with this battle scene! While it's not a terrible film (there are a few taut moments), there are just too many plot problems and silly dialog to make it a film you need to see. Also, it did seem very strange that the Frenchman's hot daughter had no French accent whatsoever. Odd, to say the least.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    1943. Four marines are assigned a dangerous mission in which they must confirm the authenticity of a warning message about an impending Japanese invasion on a tropical island. Director Stuart Heisler relates the gripping story at a snappy pace, maintains a pretty gritty tone for a 50's film (for example, one unfortunate soldier gets pulled into a tank that he just dropped a grenade into), crafts a strong sense of urgency, and handles the thrilling combat scenes in a lively and competent manner. The compact script by Richard Alan Simmons offers a stark presentation of the brutality and unfairness of war. The sturdy acting by the able cast holds this picture together: Tony Curtis as sarcastic smartaleck Burke, Frank Lovejoy as the hard-nosed Sergeant Fletcher, Edward Franz as helpful French missionary Bouchard, Mary Murphy as Bouchard's fetching daughter Nina, Skip Homeier as the cowardly Reynolds, and John Doucette as the gruff Major Scott. The robust music by Arthur Lange and Emil Newman does the rousing trick. Gordon Avil's vibrant color cinematography nicely captures the lush beauty of the jungle setting. Worth a watch.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie may be stupid at certain points, but it is never boring. I personally never tire of a well thrown hand grenade, and Frank Lovejoy tosses them with great skill in every other scene. Also, there's a nice twisted ankle moment featuring Mary Murphy. Not only does Mary severely injure her foot in an extremely painful manner while disembarking from a boat, but a true visual delight is seeing her drenched dress cling tightly to her shapely figure as she is assisted from the water. The twisted ankle is fortuitous for Tony Curtis in that he gets to help Mary hobble along across the beautiful Kua'i landscape. Before you know it, there's a little jungle love action going on between the two. How long their love will last is hard to tell because the corpsman at the end of the film seems pretty eager to move in on Tony's action, and as everyone knows, all's fair in love and war.
  • briangetmail-7051012 April 2020
    I'm a big fan of B movies but this one wind the award for bad acting. Tony Curtis has done some really good films. Some like it Hot is a great one. Curtis just stumbled along in this movie. Some parts make no sense such as a Japanese man found in the jungle wearing a white uniform and cap. He also has no weapons with him so is he a Sailor maybe we never find out. But what is he doing in the Jungle ?
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Tony Curtis and Skip Homier both are wearing black with white trim canvas shoes in the scenes just before and after the swimming pond and the tank being blown up. Must have been too hard on the young stars feet.If the real Marines had been on the mission they would have been wearing boots. IN the first scenes they took off their leggin's just before starting out on their little trip to find the Farmer. When they went to the area where they dug the fox holes Tony and Skip are wearing combat boots, then later when Lovejoy and Curtis run into the Framer and his daughter Tony is wearing the "Tennis Shoes " but hey have been blacken. The movie in about a true story but did they really need the love interest??
  • matthewobrien8 December 2010
    Other reviewers have accurately described many of the awful components of this movie. Let me add a few.

    Setup for the entire drama is an earlier "incident" on Guadalcanal. This is never explained - or even relevant.

    Too much time is spent with spontaneously angry interchange, which seems to have neither a cause or a resolution.

    Action scenes are just lame. Grenades used lavishly - and they always land exactly where they're intended and kill ALL the bad guys.

    The two Japanese and single Polynesian characters are circa 1920's stereotypes, too hideous to even describe.

    Tony Curtis evidently learned how to talk in front of a camera during the course of this movie.

    French Planter's daughter attractive with zero mentally, expressively and physically.

    Japanese soldiers too clean, American too dirty.
  • My main reason for seeing 'Beachhead' was for Tony Curtis, as part of my project of seeing many films of his as possible when many of his films appeared as recommendations here. It has been a worthwhile and interesting project on the whole, some not so good films but also a good deal of decent-great ones.

    Despite not being the best of actors in a way, Curtis was always immensely watchable and a very likeable presence in even his weakest films. Some of his early films didn't always see him look completely comfortable and there are settings of some films and some of his roles where suspension of disbelief is needed, but he had charm, charisma, very nice comic timing and when his acting chops were stretched in more dramatic and at times darker roles he surprisingly came over very well.

    'Beachhead' is an interesting film. Not a great one and there are issues, but a nice way to pass the time and an inoffensive watch.

    Starting with the good things, 'Beachhead' looks pleasing enough mostly. The setting is attractive and has atmosphere and the photography doesn't look cheap. The music fits well, not being intrusive, too low-key or tonally jarring, and is a pleasantly orchestrated and atmospheric score in its own right.

    There is tension and excitement in the storytelling, there are very few dull stretches. The direction does the job more than adequately, not always inspired but everything is correct, and the action is riveting and well choreographed. Curtis, in one of his more relaxed and grittier early roles, and especially Frank Lovejoy, coming very close to stealing the film, fare very well in their roles.

    It is a shame that the rest of the cast are not very distinguished, most being very forgettable, and Mary Murphy is very bland as an underwritten character that easily could have not been included and nobody would notice, her only purpose being to serve as the obligatory love interest. The romance doesn't really sparkle or move all that much, not that much to it and it didn't serve much point.

    A few silly parts that don't ring true, while one does cringe at the hokey dialogue and the under-budgeted effects that undermine the impact of the climax. The characters don't have an awful lot to them.

    In summary, passes the time just about though not a must watch. 6/10 Bethany Cox
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I give it 5 Stars because it's too bad to be really good, yet so bad it is. Too many things to mention, so I'll hit some of the stand outs. Production, Direction, Writing, Acting, Sound & Effects are all bad, but the location looks great! See how many thing you can find wrong with this picture. No wasting a shot because a cloud went over. Or because the acting was bad, or a scene looks like it was lit with a flashlight. The wind may be blowing like crazy in a scene, but you'll hear nothing but bad dialog and the occasional bird chirp. And isn't it amazing that only a gunshot saves Tony Curtis from walking on the booby-trapped step on the radio shack, but he can miss it and successfully lure the enemy soldiers in without being told which step it is. That a an a few other things like stopping in the middle of the mission to make out with the missionary's daughter make this one of those So-Bad-It's-Good Movies. Yes, "Yondda lies the castle of my Fodda." is the quintessentially bad Tony Curtis line, but you'll find plenty of lines in this film to rival it.
  • In war you can't change sides or provide comfort to the enemy ... the marines were easy cannon fodder in ww2 because they were given the toughest jobs against an enemy that had zero empathy ... i've seen frank lovejoy in plenty of westerns but this was the only war film ... he did good as the platoon sgt ... tony curtis on the other hand played the spoiled child soldier to perfection ... it gave me some good insight into why janet leigh divorced him 2 children and 8 years later ...