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Battle Cry

Battle Cry(1955)

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Voice-over narration by James Whitmore as "Sgt. Mac" is heard throughout the film. A dedication at the end of the film reads: "Our grateful appreciation to the United States Marine Corps without whose assistance this picture could not have been possible." A January 1954 Variety news item reported that the Marines, fearing negative propaganda, had been hesitant to back an earlier production featuring the Corps, the 1954 United Artists film Beachhead . There was therefore some question as to whether they would be interested in supporting Battle Cry, as Leon M. Uris's novel was, according to an October 1953 Los Angeles Daily News article, considered by some people to be an indictment of the Corps. However, Marine authorities were pleased with the positive public reaction generated by Beachhead and assured director Raoul Walsh their full cooperation.
       Although their appearance in the film has not been confirmed, Hollywood Reporter news items add Meg Myles, Capt. Fred Lawton, Sgt. Edgar J. Howard and Mario De Re, the younger brother of Aldo Ray, to the cast. Although a January 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item reports that Martha Hyer was cast, she did not appear in the final film. Portions of the film were shot on location in California at Fort Pendleton and the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, both near San Diego, the Warner Ranch in Calabasas, and an area in the Simi Valley, according to Hollywood Reporter news items. A February 1955 American Cinematographer and several Hollywood Reporter news items reported that battle scenes were shot on location near Vieques Islands, Puerto Rico, where the night training maneuvers of the Second Battalion of the Second Marine Division were filmed.
       Mentioned briefly in the film was the work of the World War II Navajo "code talkers," who sent secret radio messages in their native language, undecipherable by the enemy. Although the recruits depicted in the film were sent to radio school, and several humorous references were made within the story about off-color limericks sent in Morse code, the battle sequences showed those characters fighting as a squad with a battalion of foot soldiers. The Variety review criticized other technical aspects of the picture, stating that real war footage intermixed in the film did "not blow up well to CinemaScope proportions, nor...match the staged battle." The reviewer also stated that the "unmussed uniforms and unscathed equipment" were "incongruous" to real war. Noting that the film emphasized romantic aspects of the plot, the Hollywood Reporter review and others praised the war film as "a great woman's picture." The running time of the film was erroneously reported as 140 minutes by the Hollywood Reporter review.
       Battle Cry marked the film debuts of Perry Lopez, Don Durant, ten-year-old Harold Knudsen and Justus E. McQueen. McQueen changed his name to L. Q. Jones in 1955. Max Steiner was nominated for an Academy Award for Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture, but lost to Alfred Newman, who scored the 1955 Twentieth Century-Fox film Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (see below).