Wake Island (1942) is a English,Japanese movie. John Farrow has directed this movie. Brian Donlevy,Robert Preston,Macdonald Carey,William Bendix are the starring of this movie. It was released in 1942. Wake Island (1942) is considered one of the best Action,Drama,War movie in India and around the world.
In November 1941, Major Caton takes command of the small Marine garrison on Wake Island. His tendency toward spit and polish upsets the men's tropical lassitude, but Pearl Harbor changes everything. Soon the island is attacked and the Marines pull together day by day; but how long can they hold out?
Fans of Wake Island (1942) also like
While nowadays this may seem quite indistinguishable from the many flagwavers rushed into production in its day, at the time WAKE ISLAND was very well received garnering 4 major Academy Award nominations (Best Film, Best Direction, Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor - William Bendix); true, the characters and situations are pretty stereotypical but even so, it is certainly well enough made and well-cast (Brian Donlevy, Macdonald Carey, Albert Dekker, Robert Preston, Walter Abel) to be remembered when WWII films are discussed. Once the Pearl Harbor attack gets underway, it becomes an engrossing and poignant depiction of men-in-war facing insurmountable odds; the downbeat ending was quite fresh at the time and seems to have led to a spate of similarly pessimistic WWII movies like BATAAN (1943), SAHARA (1943), THEY WERE EXPENDABLE (1945), etc.
"Wake Island" is a battle for a small atoll in the Central Pacific Ocean west of Honolulu, which was attacked by the Japanese on December 7, 1941, hours after Pearl Harbor... The small U.S. marine garrison held out until the Japanese overran the island on December 23... It is a story of sacrifice of the gallant and doomed defenders, movingly portrayed by William Bendix, Robert Preston, Brian Donlevy, MacDonald Carey and others... The battle scenes are chillingly photographed in Black and White, and the movie blows the clarion call for a new heroism... It is the 'Alamo of the Pacific,' the cry of 'Remember Wake Island," with the same stirring effects as 'Remember the Alamo,' one hundred years previously... Well done within its limits, the film bears the unmistakable stamp of truth, and hails as a realistic portrayal of brave men in war...
The battle for Wake Island concluded just before Christmas of 1941 and news from the place was pretty sketchy. It would not be known until after the war ended exactly what happened on the place. In many ways it was worse than what's shown here. With no help coming at all from the mainland USA or from Pearl Harbor which was licking its own wounds, there was an unconditional surrender declared. The construction workers who were building a base on the island when war broke out were all summarily executed as spies. The few Marines who did survive, survived in horrible captivity, probably made worse by the fact that America never tried to take the island back. When they had the overwhelming naval superiority, the Japanese were starved out, but so were the prisoners they had. So with an incomplete story at best, the writers at Paramount had free reign to do an Alamo like story and proceeded to do just that. Brian Donlevy is a stalwart Marine Colonel who clashes repeatedly with Albert Dekker the head of the construction workers. Comic relief is provided by Robert Preston and William Bendix as a pair of tough marines who joke about Bendix's impending discharge which occurs right on the day of Pearl Harbor. Bendix was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and while he's pretty funny in the part, when you consider he did a highly effective dramatic role in The Glass Key that same year, I'm wondering if the Academy put him up for the wrong film. He lost that year to Van Heflin for Johnny Eager. Wake Island is a dated story, dated but entertaining. Maybe someone will do a film of the real story there, the horrible captivity of our prisoners, just like what they endured in the Phillipines.
Three plots are going on simultaneously in this movie. (1) The conflict between the Marines manning the small garrison at Wake Island and the no-nonsense Pan American construction crew preparing a berth for the Pan Am clipper. (2) The horseplay and bonding between Robert Preston (who must have had one of the longest careers as a supporting actor in Hollywood) and William Bendix as the Marine enlisted man who wants to unenlist so he can marry the delectable Myrtle. (3) Then there are all the Americans fighting against overwhelming Japanese naval and air forces. This was one of the first war movies ground out after Pearl Harbor but it doesn't look especially hastily done. The Salton Sea location gives a good imitation of a flat, sandy Pacific island, which is pretty much what Wake Island was. The garrison was so tiny that only 47 enlisted men were available. The Marines and the Navy pilots fly F4F Wildcats, and this was crucial to the defense of the island. Most of them were destroyed on the ground or in accidents. But the few fighters available and the handful of relatively small caliber coastal defense guns inflicted serious damage on the first Japanese fleet, mostly by lying low until the invasion force was well within range. A second invasion attempt succeeded, after all the Wildcats were destroyed. The commander surrendered, along with the few survivors; they didn't sacrifice themselves to the last man as shown in the film. (What would that have accomplished?) But the movie was a great morale raiser at a time when the country desperately needed some morale raising. The conflict in goals and styles between the Marines (all discipline and training) and the construction men (shabby, rough-and-ready improvisers) is, I suppose, designed to teach us that we all have to work together now that war is upon us. It's rather clumsily done. Albert Dekker as the construction boss is unnecessarily nasty and contemptuous, and Brian Donlevy as the commander of the Marine forces is the soul of patience and reason. The subplot gets the job done but it's something like having your kindergarten teacher beat the letters of the alphabet into you. I rather liked the comedy relief provided by Preston and Bendix. Preston keeps trying to talk Bendix into reenlisting in the Corps but Bendix is determined to become a married civilian. Extolling Marine Corps life, Preston urges Bendix to close his eyes and think of what he REALLY wants. "All I see is Moitle," Bendix says. "No, no, no. Forget Myrtle. Close your eyes and put your hand over them and think -- now what do you really SEE?" Replies Bendix, "Nope. It's still Moitle." This is the kind of friendship you see only in the movies. They fall into fist fights at the drop of an insult, but are willing to sacrifice their lives for one another. It is a bit tedious in parts. But the end, some hyperdramatic touches aside, sticks pretty close to the historical facts. No, we didn't mount a successful defense of Wake Island. How could we, with so few supplies and men? But, like Pearl Harbor, it was the kind of defeat that could almost be depicted as a victory, both honorable and inevitable. And check out the cast! So many faces that were later to become so familiar, many of them uncredited. Dane Clark, James Brown. It's worth watching, though there is little about it that's gripping. The photography is notable -- crisp, clear, sunny black and white, with the sun scintillating on the surface of the sea. And the war scenes are unusually well done for such an early example of the genre.
"Wake Island" is one of those movies that cannot be dismissed as mere World War Two propaganda. The fact is that the battle for Wake Island actually happened, which is what this movie is about. Okay, some of the characterizations are pure Hollywood and the conflict between the military and civilian personnel is contrived, yet what is NOT contrived is the event itself. A small detachment of Marines and civilian contractors did hold the Japanese at bay for about two weeks and did this knowing that they were on their own and that there would be no reinforcements. So let's give credit where credit is due, and take the time to watch this movie. The men on Wake Island were heroes and this movie does them credit.