Guadalcanal Diary (1943)


[In dugout waiting out a heavy artillery barrage] I don’t mind the one with my name on it. It’s the one that says, ‘To whom it may concern’ that I don’t like.” – Cpl. Aloysius T. ‘Taxi’ Potts

Number of Times Seen – 1 (20 Jun 2019)

Brief Synopsis – As the US Marine forces move towards a small island in the Pacific known as Guadalcanal, we get to see first hand how they try and prepare themselves for the first major attack on Japanese forces during World War II.

My Take on it – This is a film that I knew very little about before watching it, but being a fan of the history of World War II, I was quite curious to see how they would depict this battle especially given the fact that this movie was made not long after the real events occurred.

They are able to create a very interesting and realistic portrayal of the way that this particular battle was fought.

The film has a bit too much wartime propaganda thrown in that at the time probably seemed quite appropriate, but now it causes a few scenes to seem humorous especially given the way that some of these characters were portraying overly patriotic characters.

The characters are mostly stereotypes and caricatures that we all have seen in so many war movies, yet in this case it actually helps things a bit since it allows us to see the kind of diversity among the troops that were required to put their differences aside and find a way to work together when engaging the enemy on their “home” territory.

The way that this film depicts the battle scenes is done quite well especially based on the fact that this was made back in the 1940’s and comes across as being pretty realistic.

This film has a very clear patriotic stance just like most war films of the time that makes this feel less profound now than it probably did back when this was made.

They do a great job showing us the various difficulties that these brave men were forced to face as they did their duty to try and stop Fascism on the Pacific Front during World War II.

The cast of this film is also quite good with Preston Foster and Lloyd Nolan leading the way. Anthony Quinn and William Bendix are also both great in significant supporting roles.

Bottom Line – Really interesting film despite the fact that there is a bit too much wartime propaganda thrown into the mix.  Most of the characters feels like stereotypes but that in ways helps give us the feeling of the kind of diverse soldiers that needed to work together when engaging the enemy on their own territory. The depiction of battle scenes are done quite well and seem pretty realistic for the time that this film was made. The film has a very patriotic slant to it that makes it less profound now than it probably was back when it came out. The movie does a nice job showing us the various hardships that these brave men faced when trying to stop the threat of fascism on the Pacific front.  Great cast led by Foster and Nolan and it was great seeing Bendix and Quinn in some very significant roles. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – William Bendix once told “The Saturday Evening Post”‘s “The Role I Liked Best” column in 1946 that his character of Cpl. Aloysius T. ‘Taxi’ Potts was his favorite of all the roles he had played, as it had given him “the widest range of opportunity” for an actor. Moreover, Bendix stated that he was moved by the letters he had received from military personnel who recognized his gutsy performance as a soldier. Bendix also added that he and his fellow cast members enjoyed the experience of working with the US Marines based at Camp Pendleton. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (7/10)

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2 thoughts on “Guadalcanal Diary (1943)

  1. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1943 | MovieRob

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