|FIRST TO FIGHT (director: Christian Nyby; screenwriter: Gene Coon; cinematographer: Harold Wellman; editor: George Rohrs; music: Fred Steiner; cast: Chad Everett (Jack Connell), Marilyn Devin (Peggy Sanford), Dean Jagger (Lt. Col. Baseman), Bobby Troup (Lt. Overman), Claude Akins (Capt. Mason), Gene Hackman (Sgt. Tweed), James Best (Sgt. Carnavan), Norman Alden (Sgt. Schmidtmer), Bobs Watson (Sgt. Maypole), Ken Swofford (O'Brien); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: ; producer: ; Warner Bros.; 1967)|
|"It plays the patriotism card.
The low-budget pic never moves beyond being a
watchable superficial B movie."
by Dennis Schwartz
WW II drama effectively directed by Christian
Nyby ("The Thing From Another
World"/"Six Gun Law"/"Operation CIA"). Gene Coon
flavors it with a romantic story while testing a
hero's courage to fight a war again after marriage.
Sgt. Jack Connell (Chad Everett)
is the lone survivor in a battle in Guadalcanal in
1942 and wins the Congressional Medal of Honor for his
heroics. As a reward he's promoted by his commanding
officer Lt. Col. Baseman (Dean
Jagger) to a 2nd Lt. and sent home to
go on a war bond tour with other military heroes.
He courts his attractive PR tour guide for the heroes
Peggy Sanford (Marilyn Devin) and
marries her. Jack eventually lives on an Army base and
trains recruits for combat as a drill instructor. When
Jack learns his war buddy marine is killed, he
volunteers for combat. Peggy reluctantly releases him
from his pre-marriage promise not to volunteer for
combat duty. On Jack's first mission, he returns to
the Pacific and freezes in combat from fear. But soon
he overcome his fear and once again becomes a warrior.
Jack wins the men over again when he leads them on a
risky raid on a heavily fortified Japanese island.
low-budget pic never moves beyond being a watchable
superficial B movie, as it noisily plays
the patriotism card.
REVIEWED ON 7/10/2015 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ