EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|RETREAT, HELL! (aka: YOU CAN'T STOP THE MARINES) (director: Joseph H. Lewis; screenwriters: Milton Sperling/Ted Sherdeman; cinematographer: Warren Lynch; editor: Folmar Blangsted; music: William Lava; cast: Frank Lovejoy (Lt. Col. Steve L. Corbett), Richard Carlson (Capt. Paul Hansen), Anita Louise (Ruth Hansen), Russ Tamblyn (Jimmy W. McDermid), Ned Young (Sgt. Novak), Lamont Johnson (Capt. 'Tink' O'Grady), Robert Ellis (Shorty Devine), Peter Ortiz (Maj. Knox), Paul Smith (Andy Smith), Joseph Keane (Lt. Ortiz); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Milton Sperling; Warner Bros. Picture; 1952)|
War propaganda film that's effectively directed by
Joseph H. Lewis."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Korean War propaganda film that's effectively
Joseph H. Lewis ("Gun
Crazy"/"The Big Combo"/"7the Cavalry"), who takes a
rare job working
for a big studio with a big budget and
seems like a fish out water from his usual shoestring
surroundings. Though the B/W shot pic is not a
nevertheless the standard old-fashioned war drama is
covers some of his familiar themes of authorities
interfering in the
lives of the innocent, as it mixes together tense
combat with personal
elements among the marines engaged in the Korean War.
and Ted Sherdeman keep things moving along at a
without humor, but with Hollywood-like familiar tales
of heroism under
The title for this grim war story is based on a defiant quote from General Oliver P. Smith. Here it's uttered by gung-ho marine battalion commander Lt. Colonel Steve Corbett (Frank Lovejoy), who further says after forced to leave to the Red Chinese soldiers the mountainous area in the Changjin (Chosin) Reservoir that "We're just attacking in another direction."
Out of the marines for five years, WW I I war vet and reserve Capt. Paul Hansen (Richard Carlson), a family man with kids, is recalled to active duty. In Camp Pendleton he's given command of a company by his no-nonsense battalion boss Lt. Colonel Corbett. The 'tough love' commander fears the retread Hansen will play it safe because he's older than most and is a family man, and therefore pushes him hard in training to be all that he can be. Tough veteran Sgt. Novak (Ned Young, blacklisted under the McCarthy witchhunt), the most skilled soldier in the battalion, rounds the recruits into shape. One of the recruits is the 17-year-old Jimmy W. McDermid (Russ Tamblyn), an eager-beaver warrior who comes from a family of marines and wants to prove he can also be a good marine and act with courage.
After bootcamp the
lands in the beach at Inchon and takes heavy fire. The
second half of
the film has the men, in 1950, valiantly fight their
way towards the
Changjin Reservoir, only to
find they are overwhelmed by Red Chinese soldiers. The
suffering heavy loses and many cases of frostbite,
then must fight
their way back to safety to rejoin their own forces.
Lewis makes heroes of
bloodied marines in their rearguard fight, who have no
quit in them
(the real marines are proud of that battle).
Throughout the marine
theme music of "The Halls of
Montezuma" plays, as you're either macho in this pic
and come to
realize you must make sacrifices for your country or
you just don't get
were much simpler
then in both real life and in Hollywood.
REVIEWED ON 11/12/2010 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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