I’m not a huge war movie fan, but there are a few I love. One of them is SO PROUDLY WE HAIL, about the nurses at Bataan. In this film, Veronica Lake plays a nurse whose fiance was killed in the war. At one point near the end, the Japanese are getting close to a tent where the nurses are and they’re about to be found and probably raped and killed, it’s a very scary moment. Veronica silently takes a grenade and walks out, beautiful and frail and blonde, hair shining in the moonlight, attracting the Japanese soldiers until they flock around her, and she pulls the pin and explodes, killing them and the other nurses run to freedom. Quite a film.
There are a couple of other war movies I love, but that one and DESTINATION TOKYO, are my two very favorites. SINCE YOU WENT AWAY is one of my favorite WWII home front films, though I like many others.
My links to the films are from Wikipedia because some of what they say there gives you a good glimpse into what the films are about but I have to comment on a few things they talk about at the end of each blurb about the film. SO PROUDLY WE HAIL’s Wiki link talks about the film, then adds “Although the love-story plot line is the primary thrust of the film, the difficulties and emotional toll of war are also shown.” Fair enough, but it’s WAR, does that need to be sad? SINCE YOU WENT AWAY’s Wiki account is fine and then they add “Though sentimental, Since You Went Away is more somber and realistic about the carnage of war and the pain of separation than some other homefront movies made during World War II.” That’s fair too, but I have not seen a WWII movie that didn’t deal with ‘carnage of war,’ have you? Get the DIGS they have to get in at WAR in general? Or maybe I’m too sensitive, which I might be guilty of.
DESTINATION TOKYO’s blurb adds “The film’s screenwriter, Albert Maltz, was later brought before The House Committee on Un-American Activities on the premise that some lines of dialogue in the film reflected Communist sympathies.” Those of you who know me know how sensitive I’d be to any lines remotely sympathetic to Communists and, trust me, nothing has ever stuck out at me that seemed like that (and I’ve probably seen that film 8 times). If any of you who know the film and did have lines stand out to you, please let me know.
In DESTINATION TOKYO, they despise the Japanese. Let’s face it, that’s probably very realistic during the war and in the Pacific theater. I’d take a chance here to say the Japanese probably hated the Westerners, right? Our sailors even say “Japs!” which I doubt they could say today in any war film. The dialogue is clearly about hating the enemy in this film and it kept making me think “Boy, with terrorists today, as hideous as they are, we’d NEVER portray sailors saying things like that against our enemies the Muslims in a 100 years…too politically incorrect! The men talk about women’s curves and flashing eyes, and I thought that, today, that’d be considered sexist. But isn’t it realistic? And, as one of their sailors dies and has a burial at sea, Cary Grant reads from THE BIBLE, they say The Lord’s Prayer, and he even adds something like “in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ” at the end of his words. Imagine THAT being said today? It would be considered far too offensive, right? But in that film of 1944, the men bow their heads and pray for their dead mate. It’s so touching! One of the sailors even says he’d probably be considered an atheist at the beginning of the film and another sailor says “I’ve never seen an atheist when times get tough.” And, sure enough, the young sailor admits he’s not an atheist anymore at the end. Do you think anything like that would be said today? It’s very touching to me, but no…..not today.
As I watched that great film (by the way, Wiki also adds that none of our subs actually did get into Tokyo Bay, kind of taking a bit of joy from my utter enjoyment of that film!), I kept thinking “They wouldn’t say THAT today!” to some of those things I mention just above. WHY?
My question is, yes, I KNOW it’s political correctness…but check out the sexism, the Christianity, using terms toward the enemy sailors realistically thought back then….it would NEVER HAPPEN! Are we better or weaker for it?
And, oh, it just solidified my disgust in women on submarines, big time. Talk about an unhealthy situation for young men and women together. Of course, I’m biased because I’m quite sure I couldn’t last five minutes on a submarine down under, which probably makes this film all the more intriguing to me.