powered by AFI
DVDs from TCM Shop
In the wake of Japanese attacks on Guadalcanal, Captain Dan Craig of the Paramarines and Major Steve Lockhard of the U.S. Marine Corps report to the island and are ordered to repel the Japanese troops. When Dan discovers the body of one of his men, Lt. Tony Hewitt, sadistically tortured and murdered by the Japanese, he goes berserk and charges into the jungle. After restraining Dan, Steve warns his friend that he must learn to control his impulses. With their mission completed, the troops are relieved and board a ship bound for Australia. In an Australian bar, Dan meets Ellen Foster, a member of the Woman's Airforce Auxiliary. Sensing Dan's restlessness, Ellen is sympathetic to him, and he asks to take a drive in her car. As they drive along the beach, Ellen confides her concerns about her two brothers who are serving in Africa. After dancing away most of the night, the couple walk along the beach and realize that they have fallen in love. When Dan tells Ellen that he is leaving on duty the next morning, she suggests they immediately marry, but Dan demurs, claiming that wartime life is too uncertain to make such a serious commitment. When Ellen protests that, despite the uncertainty, she is still willing to take a chance, Dan reconsiders, and they search out a minister. Before they can reach the minister, however, Dan is wounded in a surprise air attack and hospitalized. After Ellen leaves Dan's bedside to go on duty, Steve visits his friend with orders to return to the U.S. When Dan informs him of his impending marriage, Steve thinks that his friend has succumbed to the charms of a woman while in an emotionally unstable state and arranges for him to be shipped out with the rest of the troops. Upon returning to the hospital, Ellen learns that Dan has gone and watches as his ship disappears into the night. Steve's actions cause Dan to renounce their friendship, and as a result, when the two arrive at the naval base in San Diego, they are barely speaking to each other. When they are both assigned to teach the raw recruits of Camp Elliott the art of modern combat, Dan protests that he would rather go back to the front, but his request is denied. While in town one night, Dan unsuccessfully tries to contact Ellen, and afterward, he overhears Jimmy Fowler and Sally Parker tearfully record their farewells before Jimmy is sent overseas. On the drive back to camp, Jimmy asks Dan's advice about marrying Sally, and Dan asserts that, as participants in the war, women are fully aware of the dangers. At the base, Steve is ordered to lead the troops into action, but a general, sensing Dan's instability, assigns him to a desk job in Washington, D.C. Steve defends Dan's behavior, claiming that he caused his friend's unhappiness by breaking up his romance. The general accepts Steve's explanation, and the two men return to Australia to spearhead the invasion of an enemy island. With less than forty-eight hours before the start of their mission, Dan finds Ellen and they are finally married. The next morning, Ellen introduces herself to Steve as Dan's wife. In the last hours before shipping out, Steve, Dan and Ellen celebrate, and as Steve goes to lead his troops, Ellen offers him her friendship and he comes to accept her as one of his family. Early the next morning, Ellen bids Dan a tearful farewell and he joins his men. As Dan takes to the air with his Paramarines, Steve commands the landing forces at sea. Dan and his men parachute over the island, their mission to block the roads and delay enemy reinforcements so that the Marines can land. When Dan's troops are outflanked by enemy forces, Steve orders them to pull back to the beach, but in a daring maneuver, Dan rallies his men to overtake the enemy machine guns firing from the hills. With the enemy firepower eliminated, the U.S. forces land and secure the beachhead. In Australia, as Ellen listens to a radio broadcast announcing the success of Dan's mission, she steps onto the airstrip and utters words of inspiration to her husband across the sea.