American Civil War Game Club (ACWGC)

Movie Review - Wake Island (1942)
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Author:  Blake [ Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Movie Review - Wake Island (1942)

Wake Island (1942). Paramount Pictures. Dir: John Farrow.


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Wake Island was one of Hollywood's first "War" movies after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. With few positive stories coming after the immediate Japanese attack the stand on Wake Island managed to capture the attention of many in America. Although the account of the battle for Wake Island is greatly thwarted in this movie the stand made by those on the historical island was brave and commendable. The Japanese Navy was forced to divert a large force to capture the small outpost which held little strategic value for them in the long run. The film is shot from a propaganda standpoint (for obvious reasons). It also includes a refugee Polish mechanic and a US Army German-born officer fighting for the Americans. This was often a reoccurring trend in WW2 films of this era. Hollywood strove to show that America was a great Melting Pot that helped Americanize the immigrants of other lands. And, to be honest, thats probably true in many ways (social cohesiveness has always been a hallmark of America during wartime). Sadly, such honorable recognition of the Japanese-American soldiers would take many more decades to be portrayed in Hollywood films. The film ends with the Americans fighting to the last man against waves of Japanese soldiers. In reality the Americans held out as long as possible until ammunition and hope were exhausted before surrendering. But, as the old saying goes, "when the legend becomes fact - print the legend."

The film was nominated for Best Picture in 1942 but thankfully lost to the much finer Mrs. Miniver (although I think Yankee Doodle Dandy is probably the most-popular and long-lasting film to come from 1942).

Overall I would give the film:
:idea: :idea:
Out of:
:idea: :idea: :idea: :idea:

Not a great film but worthy of watching on a lazy Sunday afternoon or on a Memorial Day Marathon on TCM.

Sidenote: Look for Robert Preston as a Private in this movie. Preston went on to fame as a Broadway actor and the long-time star of the hit play and movie The Music Man.

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