Skip to comments.HBO returns to the battlefield with 'The Pacific'
Posted on 02/27/2010 7:34:06 AM PST by Saije
To prepare for the filming of HBO's epic, $200-million World War II miniseries "The Pacific," screenwriter Bruce C. McKenna accompanied a locations crew to a tiny coral island near Guam known as Peleliu. A ridge there is laced with hundreds of caves -- undisturbed for more than half a century -- where Japanese troops hid out from U.S. Marines during one of the war's deadliest conflicts.
"There are still skeletons in the caves, and we saw them," McKenna remembers with amazement. "At the first cave we found, we walked in and there was the rib cage of a dead Japanese soldier. Up in the hills, every square inch is covered with shell casings and rusted machine guns. The place is unbelievable."
And -- unlike Iwo Jima, Okinawa and Guadalcanal, whose names still ring in the popular lexicon -- Peleliu is also largely unremembered, a fact troubling to surviving veterans who fought there. If the oversight deserves fixing, justice will be delivered when "The Pacific," the long-awaited companion piece to HBO's Emmy-winning 2001 miniseries "Band of Brothers," begins airing on March 14. The 10-part production, probably the most expensive miniseries in television history, will run on consecutive Sundays at 9 PM, presenting the war in the Pacific from the days following the attack on Pearl Harbor to the emotional return of troops after final victory over Japan.
A full quarter of the series -- 2 1/2 of the 10 hours -- unfolds on Peleliu, compared with, for example, less than a single hour on Iwo Jima. For the filmmakers -- notably, executive producers Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Gary Goetzman -- the beaches and jungles of Peleliu turned out to be a convenient place to show the horrors of battle as experienced by the real-life soldiers whose stories they are telling.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
This looks to be quite interesting.
Based on the mini-series of The Pacific.
Just got it yesterday.
So am I. Judging from the trailers it looks to be pretty good.
Ditto, BoB is one of the few movies/series I can watch over and over and enjoy it each time. I don’t get HBO, but can’t wait to see Pacific when it hits DVD.
Don’t know if everyone has access to it but HBO did have about a eight minute excerpt from the series that showed the Marine assault across an airfield, presumably what would become Henderson Field on Guadalcanal.
It was extremely intense.
“This trailer looks really good.”
Thanks for posting. I hadn’t seen that one.
I am so sick of hearing liberals and Leftists trash the military - now, after getting away with lying about Vietnam, they declare all wars meaningless, including WWII. And why? Because yet again, they are trying to undermine the resolve of the people's support of the military fighting now.
Leftists are all for fighting, as long as it's against a free people. But when America goes against totalitarian murderers, Hollywood fires up the trembling horror machine, and fronts actors intoning fear and grief at military families. And of course, the subtext is that the troops are too stupid to know their sacrifice is pointless, if not evil. It's war alright - war of the mind, and the enemy made the movie - yet again.
I will watch this and so will my brother and sister. Our dad (USMC) was there and his rare accounts of his service in WW2 to us kids were unbelievable.
It depends on the approach they take. If this is done like Band of Brothers, great. But if we start in on portraying the “Japanese heroically defending their unique culture” nonsense....
Thanks for the book recommendation - Dad’s Honorable Discharge paper states he saw, “battles, engaments, skirmishes, expeditions: participated in action against the Japanese on Peleliu, Okinawa(wounded), and occupaton of China”. I will see if I can order this from Amazon today.
Semper Fi ... that trailer is intense.
The Pacific is partly based on that book and also, “I’m Staying With My Boys: The Heroic Life of Sgt. John Basilone, USMC”
I don’t see anything of what you’re saying in what he said. I saw it in a “it was strategically unimportant to the overall Pacific campaign” light.
I don’t know anything about the battle or it’s historical significance, so I can’t comment either way, but that’s what it sounded like he was saying.
I guess the Japenese could care less about collecting their war dead and bringing them home.
Why do you say that?
Sledge died March 3, 2001.
The article states that they saw a rib cage and lots of skeletons still there. I assumed that they are the remains of Japanese soldiers. If a small bone of an American soldier is found in Vietnam it is brought home immediately with full military honors.
John Costello, The Pacific War 1941-1945. "Bloody Peleliu" p496.
In 1976, while at a Xmas eve party, I listened to an older gentleman relate his WWII experiences as a Navy Corpsman serving with the Marines as he slowly slipped a tumbler of whisky on the rocks. Tears filled his eyes as he told of the daily acts of courage and bravery that his Marines showed. When he was done I told him that I was a former Marine, and that I had served with Senior Enlisted Marines that were Pacific veterans. They had told me similar stories with one exception .. The heroes in their tales were most often than not that of the Courage and Bravery of their assigned Navy Corpsman. That man completely broke down at the realization of his Brothers in Arms recognition and admiration. I shall always hold the high respect that these men have in my heart for their service to our nation and the world.
I think that his book served as advice for this series.
There are so many stories that have never been told of brave men and heroic deeds by men whose names are but remembered by a small few, made even smaller by mortality.
Uncommon valor was a common virtue, as was said of those on Iwo Jima.
The WW2 vets I knew growing up weren’t great story tellers.
But they always said: the real heroes were the ones that made the ultimate sacrifice.
Captain Dale Dye was the senior military advisor on BoB and he served the same on The pacific.
“For Mazzello, the needless waste of so many lives makes the sacrifice all the more moving. “They did what was asked of them hoped it was important,” he said. “Just because it wasn’t, doesn’t mean we should forget about it.”
What a stupid statement by an ignorant liberal. This little Jurassic Park kid doesn’t know anything. To say the Pacific War was a “needless waste of lives” and not important is the absolute height of stupidity.
Pearl Harbor, Bataan death march, killing our POW’s - this wasn’t important??? This wasn’t worth fighting for??? America isn’t worth fighting for???
Mazzello is either a Communist, a Socialist, or a liberal Dimwit - and perhaps all three.
Some vets need to give this dumb red-headed kid an education. And I would call for a loud boycott of any movies he happens to be in - with “The Pacific” miniseries as a lone exception.
I don’t have cable, and I don’t watch television. I knew there was a mini series out there called “The Pacific”, but as I said, I don’t have television, so I just figured I would buy it when it came out on DVD.
I have difficulty reading now for some reason, so I primarily listen to audiobooks. I was looking for a new book to listen to, and I saw this Robert Leckie book, “Helmet For My Pillow”. I am very well read with regard to WWII, and I would wager I have read more WWII military history than 95% of my countrymen. I always thought that the book “The Old Breed” was a book that had conveyed the barbarity, horror and deprivation of the Pacific war in a way that was very difficult not to dwell on.
I have also read five of Robert Leckie’s books, but for some reason, not “Helmet For My Pillow”. So I downloaded it and am just a little way into it, but...I must say, it is an astonishing, book. Just unbelievable. I have never read anything quite like this. It seems completely different from his other books, and quite unlike anything else I have read.
William Manchester in “Goodbye Darkness” related experiences that were just as macabre and horrible, such as the time he related the story of the Marine urinating in the open head of a dead Japanese soldier. That is a very grim tale.
But for some reason, the horror that Leckie is able to convey simply makes Manchester sound like he is narrating from an article in a newspaper. I just finished listening to his description of the Battle of The Tenaru, and its aftermath.
I had heard the story of the Marine nicknamed “Souvenirs” from a variety of books about Guadalcanal or the Pacific war. But I have never heard it described as he does in this book, not even in his other books he wrote (I do think he mentioned this subject in one or more of his other books, but I could be wrong) In Leckie’s description of “Souvenirs”, it isn’t the ghoulish aspect of pulling teeth from bodies that is most disturbing. It is something about the way he says the guy would “peer into their mouths with “...the solicitude of a Park Avenue dentist...” that conveys something more gruesome and disturbing. I have read enough books on warfare to recognize the truth in what Robert Leckie says when he states that the face of war is still the same, whether it is Hector taking Achille’s armor from the fallen Patroclus, or a Marine taking binoculars from a slain Japanese soldier.
Equally as disturbing (again, because he conveys it in such a way that you cannot duck or evade it) is his description of fear, and how men handled it. When someone began to show the deep primal fear they were all incessantly bathed in, men tended to be charitable, would look the other way or cough politely, because in the loss of control that one man showed, every other man knew that they were all close enough that tomorrow, he himself might be the one losing it.
Anyway, after listening to the first few chapters of this book, I thought “I must see if there are others on FR who can discuss this book with me...” and found this thread. When drilling down on some of these links...I realized the series, or at least some part of it, is based on this book. I know Hanks and Spielberg are both liberal hacks, but I think they sure chose the right book. Hope they do it justice, because it is one of the most remarkable war books I have ever encountered, and I am only fraction of the way into it.
That is what it seems like to me as well.
In my previous job, one of the benefits of that job was that it brought me into extended contact with a huge variety of people, many of them older veterans. Due to the nature of that work, I often had a chance to spend several hours in casual conversation with them, which served both of us a benefit of passing time in pleasant conversation which might have otherwise been tedium for each.
Back in the Nineties, I spent several hours with a gentleman passing the time in this way, and at some point, I asked if he had served. When I asked him when and where, he said “I was the ship’s doctor for the USS Indianapolis”. The shock must have shown on my face, and I kind of stuttered “Were you on her when she went down?” He said yes, and without my asking, he just began talking. Not in graphic terms, but generally, and as he calmly spoke about being in the water that long, experiencing all those terrible things that he said he just could not describe, there was one thing that stayed with him all these years, that he could not forget. he said “To this day, I cannot bear to hear The Lord’s Prayer aloud...” and his face turned red, his lips began to quiver, and he began to tear up.
I stopped him and said “Please, don’t talk about it anymore...” It was awful to see. He gently interrupted me, and said he wanted to talk. He said he hadn’t talked to anyone about it in years, and he wanted to.
I always wonder how long it had been since he spoke to anyone about it, and the things I see online look like there might have been something he wrote back in the Eighties, and I know he was interviewed in 1997, which was a few years after I met him.
What struck me, and was something I see in many of the vets I have had the privilege of meeting, is the strong, powerful emotions that reach out, across half a century, and can still grab their very heart and whisk them away. It as if a scar from an old childhood injury is restored to its original raw, painful state by the simple, quick rip of a bandage to uncover an old memory.
What I saw in his face was both awful, and awesome to see. It was as if I could actually feel for a fleeting second the emotion that he did, through the sheer power and force of it. I seemed to come right over through the air between us. The closest thing to it would be the powerful recollection you sometimes get when you smell something. In that same way, for an amazingly brief flash I understood just how terrible something must have been for him.
I didn’t provoke it, it just happened and I never saw it coming. It was a shock to me.
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