Skip to comments.Movie for a Sunday afternoon: "They Were Expendable"(1945)
Posted on 12/07/2014 12:12:55 PM PST by ReformationFan
Great movie in black and white. The colorized version sucks. In the colorized version the naval officers and chief petty offices are wearing blue dungarees instead of khakis.
What a great cast ---
I have this movie on a disc. I love how all the credits name the person’s rank or rate in the USN or USNR. This movie was made for B&W. Technical director knew Navy boat protocol and customs. Absolutely one of the best Navy WWII movies. Another one correctly done was “The Enemy Below”
VAW-116 aboard USS Coral Sea CVA-43
Member Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club 1968-69
One of the BEST movies EVER!
We watched it on Vets Day - so superb. IMO one of the The Duke’s finest.
And almost all the head creative guys - Ford, Montgomery, etc. served our country in WWII....
My, how low we have sunk in Follywood.
I am an aficionado of WWII movies. “They Were Expendable” was filmed in Southern California in black and white. If you look carefully at the PT boat combat scenes you can see the rock breakwater outside the old Long Beach naval station. A lot of scenes were probably filmed at Camp Pendleton with fake palm trees. It was amazing what those film makers did with black and white.
My favorite WWII movie made during the war was “A Wing and a Prayer. The navy let the film makers use the Essex class carrier U.S.S. Lexington off the coast of San Diego. The scenes showing the TBM torpedo planes landing on the carrier are the real thing.
Dangit! My ‘puter locked up an hour into the flick! Now I have to reload the thing. Phooey!
There's just something about this film that stands the test of time, particularly if we're familiar with the history.
And if you're too young, Robert Montgomery was Elizabeth's dad, "Samantha" from the 60's television sitcom "Bewitched."
Robert Montgomery served as a PT boat skipper at Guadalcanal and Normandy, so he was very well-versed in tactics and how crew members interacted. According to the TCM article on the film, Montgomery and Ford got into an argument at one point in the production because what the director wanted in a scene conflicted with actual PT boat operations.
Montgomery also got his first experience as a director on “They Were Expendable.” Late in the production, Ford fell of a scaffold and broke his leg. Robert Montgomery stepped in and finished the final scenes. It is also reported that Ford was not happy with the score and even suggested there be no music in the film, given its somber tone. He also donated his directing fee to charity, since he did not want to be viewed as “profiting” from a movie that depicted the sacrifice of so many military members.
With the possible exceptions of Clint Eastwood and Gary Sinise, I can’t think of anyone in today’s Hollywood who would make such professional sacrifices
Excellent war movie, must have seen it at least 20 times!