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They Were Expendable

They Were Expendable(1945)

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teaser They Were Expendable (1945)

SYNOPSIS

They Were Expendable is based on the real-life heroics of PT Boat squadron leader John Bulkeley, and the defense of the Philippines from December 1941 through April 1942. During World War II, Lt. Brickley and Lt. Ryan put on a demonstration of PT Boat speed and maneuverability in combat for the top Navy brass. The Lieutenant and his commanding officer are frustrated that the PT boat squadron is assigned unimportant duties, even after Pearl Harbor and a Japanese attack on their base in Manila Bay. Lt. Ryan is wounded in the skirmish and sent to sick bay in Corregidor, where he recovers under the care of an attractive nurse, Lt. Davys. Despite a strong mutual attraction, the couple must face an inevitable separation due to their orders and the advancing Japanese troops.

Director: John Ford
Producers: John Ford, Cliff Reid
Screenplay: Frank Wead
Based on the book by William L. White
Cinematography: Joseph H. August
Costume Design: Yvonne Wood
Film Editing: Douglass Biggs, Frank E. Hull
Art Direction: Malcolm Brown, Cedric Gibbons
Original Music: Earl K. Brent, Herbert Stothart
Makeup: Jack Dawn
Cast: Robert Montgomery (Lt. John Brickley), John Wayne (Lt. J.G. "Rusty" Ryan), Donna Reed (Lt. Sandy Davys), Cameron Mitchell (Ensign George Cross), Jack Holt (General Martin), Ward Bond (Boots Mulcahey), Marshall Thompson (Ens. Snake Gardner).
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Why WERE EXPENDABLE is Essential

They Were Expendable was conceived by MGM and the Navy in 1942 as a vehicle for wartime propaganda, but by the time he directed it in 1945, John Ford had experienced war first-hand. As a result, he brought a solemn sense of purpose to the story of a PT Boat squadron leader and the defenders of the Philippines. The resulting film is a somber, poetic study of courage, loneliness, and sacrifice. In addition to Ford, a number of the men in the cast and crew had just returned from combat, lending the film a palpable authenticity. The performances are first-rate, the photography by Joseph August is crisp and immediate, but it is clearly John Ford's picture his eloquent authority colors every frame of the film. They Were Expendable is not only a great war movie, it shares with other Ford pictures like The Grapes of Wrath (1940) the universal themes of dignity, loyalty, and strength during grief.

As its title suggests, They Were Expendable does not try to push the same buttons as most war movies made during wartime. There are no stirring patriotic speeches about God and Country, no overt references to the home front and those waiting and praying for the soldier's safe return, and no depictions of the enemy as sub-human and godless. In fact, in They Were Expendable we never see a Japanese soldier - just the distanced enemy ships and a healthy respect for the power of their advance. Ford keeps the film focused on the men of the squadron and their duty and responsibility. If the result is a film that plays as somber and downbeat, Ford was unapologetic. As he told Peter Bogdanovich, "I despise happy endings - with a kiss at the finish - I've never done that. Of course, they were glorious in defeat in the Philippines - they kept on fighting."

Filming started February 1, 1945, Ford's 51st birthday. The location was Key Biscayne, Florida, which was a substitute for the actual Philippines. The Navy supplied actual PT boats for the filming and Navy officers would stop by occasionally to watch the filming. Robert Montgomery was able to draw on his activity as an actual PT commander at Guadalcanal and Normandy and Ford poured a lot of himself into the film as well. John Wayne said Ford "was awfully intense on that picture and working with more concentration than I had ever seen. I think he was really out to achieve something."

Near the end of filming, Ford broke his leg when he fell 20 feet off a scaffold. During his absence Robert Montgomery directed the remaining scenes, even though Ford had publicly upbraided him earlier for trying to suggest a different way to handle a scene. Montgomery wasn't the only future director observing Ford at work. John Wayne already had ideas for a film about the Alamo and was learning film technique from Ford, and future director Blake Edwards was an extra, playing a crewman aboard one of the boats. The postproduction work on They Were Expendable was performed while Ford was away in Washington and didn't sit well with him at all; in particular, he objected to some of the heavy music added (though you can still hear Ford's signature tune, "Red River Valley").

The acting in the film is naturalistic and convincing. That Robert Montgomery's technique is invisible should come as no surprise, as he had already spent years in the Navy as a PT boat commander. James Agee called his performance "sober, light, [and] sure... the one perfection to turn up in movies during the year." John Wayne, Ward Bond, and other Ford stalwarts also turn in solid work, occasionally providing welcome moments of humor and camaraderie. Donna Reed brings great humanity to a role in which she is not only required to be the quasi-love interest, but also personify civility and femininity in the desolate locale.

They Were Expendable features some exciting and well-staged action sequences in which the speed and agility of the PT boats are convincingly displayed. Ford does not alter his shooting style for these scenes, whether it's a night raid or an airplane attack drenched in sunlight; Joseph August's photography is sharp and precise, Ford's attention is unblinking, and there is beauty even in the sprays of water erupting around the darting boats. The compositions are just as thoughtfully shot for every other type of scene - from a touching formal dinner party in a jungle hut, to the squadron visiting a dying skipper in a blackened Corregidor hospital corridor, to an impromptu funeral service in a remote island chapel - one powerful and poignant visual follows another.

Although it depicted events that had occurred only a few years earlier, They Were Expendable has immediacy and a documentary feel brought about by Ford's fresh exposure to the war. It was released on December 7, 1945, but with the war dying down, it was not as big a hit as expected. It did receive two Oscar® nominations for Best Sound and Best Special Effects. It also became entangled in two lawsuits. Commander Robert Kelly (the basis for John Wayne's character) sued MGM for libel and was awarded $3,000. Lieutenant Beulah Greenwalt (played by Donna Reed) said the portrayal of her in a fictitious romance was damaging and an invasion of privacy; she was awarded $290,000. Despite these setbacks, They Were Expendable is now recognized as one of the best war films and a high point in the careers of everybody involved with it.

by John Miller & Lang Thompson

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Pop Culture 101 - THEY WERE EXPENDABle

John Ford was a long-time friend of screenwriter Frank "Spig" Wead who wrote the screenplay for They Were Expendable. Wead had a colorful career, first as a Navy test pilot and later as a writer. He was one of the earliest proponents for military aviation, beginning before WWI. After serving in the War, he set many flying records for speed, duration, and distance all intended to push the design limits of Navy aircraft. In 1926 he broke his neck and was paralyzed, so he turned to writing for the screen. In this capacity he continued to tout military aviation, and he had a hand in the story or screenplay for almost every movie on the subject for almost 20 years, including Airmail (1932), Ceiling Zero (1936), Test Pilot (1938), I Wanted Wings (1941), and Dive Bomber (1941). Ford would later direct Wead's life story as The Wings of Eagles (1957), with John Wayne as Wead and Ward Bond as a movie director based on Ford.

They Were Expendable turned out to be the next-to-the-last film for cinematographer Joseph H. August, a two-time Oscar® nominee whose career of nearly 150 films stretched back to 1912. He died during the filming of Portrait of Jennie in 1947.

Although Ford was later to complain about the "heavy" scoring of They Were Expendable, even saying that he would have preferred almost no music at all, Herbert Stothart provided a varied, evocative score. In the tradition of several other Ford movies, it is peppered with snatches of popular tunes. "Anchors Aweigh", "My Country `Tis of Thee" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" are heard, as is one of Ford's favorite folk tunes, "Red River Valley."

by John Miller

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Trivia & Other Fun Stuff on THEY WERE EXPENDABLE

John Ford cast They Were Expendable himself, and as usual, had a part in mind for one of his regular players, Ward Bond. Shortly before shooting, however, Bond was struck by a car and almost incapacitated. Ford had the script altered so that Bond could maneuver through parts of the picture on crutches.

Robert Montgomery, who got his first chance to direct when Ford injured his leg on the set of They Were Expendable, went on to helm such features as Lady in the Lake (1947) and Ride the Pink Horse (1947). Montgomery wasn't the only future director observing Ford at work. John Wayne already had ideas for a film about the Alamo and was learning film technique from Ford, and future director Blake Edwards plays a crewman aboard one of the boats.

MGM had planned to release They Were Expendable in September 1945, but the Japanese surrendered aboard the battleship Missouri on September 2nd. Avoiding the awkward timing, MGM delayed the release until December 7th, the fourth anniversary of Pearl Harbor.

They Were Expendable became entangled in two lawsuits. Commander Robert Kelly (the basis for John Wayne's character) sued MGM for libel and was awarded $3,000. Lieutenant Beulah Greenwalt (played by Donna Reed) said the portrayal of her in a fictitious romance was damaging and an invasion of privacy; she was awarded $290,000.

John Ford was concerned about appearing to profit from a commercial film during wartime, so he had his salary go to a recreation center for the 180 veterans of his Field Photographic Unit. At a cost of $225,000 he bought a twenty acre estate in the San Fernando Valley. The resulting Field Photo Farm was active from 1946 to 1966.

by John Miller

Famous Quotes from THEY WERE EXPENDABLE

Lt. Ryan (John Wayne) to Lt. Brickley (Robert Montgomery): It's wonderful the way people believe in those high powered canoes of yours.

Lt. Brickley: So you're really quitting the squadron, eh, Rusty?
Lt. Ryan: You can't build a Navy reputation riding a plywood dream.
Lt. Brickley: What're you aiming at - building a reputation, or playing for the team?

Admiral (Charles Trowbridge) to Lt. Brickley: Listen, son. You and I are professionals. If the manager says `Sacrifice,' we lay down the bunt and let somebody else hit the home run. Our job is to lay down that sacrifice. That's what we were trained for and that's what we'll do.

Sandy (Donna Reed): You'd better lie down and take it easy; you've got a temperature of 103.
Lt. Ryan: So I've heard.
Sandy: You Navy boys always run about two degrees above normal - must be that time you spend at sea.
Lt. Ryan (angrily): What is your rank?
Sandy: 2nd Lieutenant.
Lt. Ryan: Well I'm a J.G., so watch your language.
Sandy: Oh, I thought you were a motorcycle cop. Despite your gold braid, you don't tell us - we tell you. So lie down.

Lt. Brickley (to men in his Squadron assigned to the Army): You're a swell bunch. I'm glad to have been able to serve with you. I'd like to be able to tell you that we were going out to bring back help, but that wouldn't be the truth. We're going down the line to do a job, and you're going to Bataan with the Army. That isn't what you've been trained for, but they need your help. You older men with longer service records, take care of the kids. Maybe...That's all. God bless you.

Old Trader (guarding his post from the oncoming Japanese): I've worked forty years for this, son. If I leave it they'll have to carry me out.

Admiral: I have orders to fly you and Ryan to Australia.
Lt. Ryan: Why us? We're just a couple of snotty Lieutenants.
Admiral: You men have proved the PT Boats have some value in this war. Washington wants you back in the States to build them up.
Lt. Brickley: What about the men?
Admiral: There isn't room for them.

Lt. Brickley (to ensign as they take last plane out): Look, son, we're going home to do a job. And that job is to get ready to come back. Check?

Compiled by John Miller

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The Big Idea Behind THEY WERE EXPENDABLE

Director John Ford had the desire to start a motion picture unit for the upcoming war effort well before the United States entered WWII. After initial resistance, the Navy accepted Ford and his volunteer cameramen and editors as a reserve unit and broke them up into several combat camera teams. In time, John Ford was a captain in the Navy Photographic Field Unit, and won Oscars® for his documentaries The Battle of Midway (1942) and December 7th (1943). Ford personally saw action on several important front lines. In addition to Midway (where he was wounded and won a Purple Heart), Ford was with the Doolittle squadron in raids over Tokyo, filmed battles on Marcus Island and Wotje, and took part in the invasion of North Africa.

In 1942, MGM purchased the film rights to the then-current bestseller They Were Expendable, written by William L. White. Jim McGuinness was the executive put in charge of the project. He had the wisdom to hire Frank "Spig" Wead to write the screenplay. Wead had been one of the biggest proponents of military aviation, first through his test flights for the Navy, and later through stories and screenplays for motion pictures. He was also good friends with John Ford, the director that McGuinness hoped to persuade to direct They Were Expendable. White's book was dry and straightforward, composed primarily of interviews with John Bulkeley and other principal PT boat officers. Wead's script gave the story a grandeur and poignancy. Now McGuinness had the task of persuading Navy officer Ford to direct the picture.

McGuinness and Wead flew to Washington D.C. to make the offer to Ford, and convince him that the Navy picture would be as great a service to the country as his war documentaries had been. Ford was unconvinced and didn't want to take a leave of absence while his Field Photographic Unit was busy in many far-flung, dangerous locations. He was also worried about taking the salary for the work with MGM. Meanwhile, Eddie Mannix, the MGM production manager, had another writer, Sidney Franklin, do rewrites on Wead's script. Ford thought the new script weakened the intensity of the story, and used it as an excuse to back out of the project. In addition, he had a new Navy assignment in August of 1943 and was shipped off to the Far East Theater.

When Ford returned to California in March of 1944, McGuinness again took up the cause. According to Dan Ford's biography of his grandfather, McGuinness told Ford that the depiction of Bulkeley and the PT boats would be "...part of America's heroic tradition. It's like the Alamo or Valley Forge. It would be like recreating a great moment of history while it's still fresh in people's minds. It would be available for our youth, generation after generation." The pleadings were still in vain - Ford was not swayed.

In April 1944, Ford left for London and preparations to film the upcoming secret D-Day invasion. The head of the London branch of the Field Photographic Unit was Mark Armistead - he and his men had been photographing the beaches of Normandy for months. Helping the reconnaissance effort, as the officer in charge of the English Channel squadron of PT boats, was none other than John Bulkeley! In a now famous incident, Armistead brought Bulkeley to Ford's hotel to introduce the two men. Ford had been asleep, but when he learned who had just stepped into his room, he leapt to his feet to salute the Medal of Honor recipient - without a stitch of clothing on.

Two months later, Ford found himself on the U.S.S. Augusta as part of the great armada that took part in the Normandy invasion. He wanted to get closer to the combat, and had Armistead and Bulkeley pick him up in their PT boat. They patrolled the beachheads, including Omaha Beach where some of the thickest fighting occurred. Ford spent five days on the patrol, and developed a rapport with Bulkeley. Dan Ford described the irony: "Here he was at Normandy with John Bulkeley, the subject of a best-selling book that half the people he respected in Hollywood wanted him to make into a film. But he wasn't making that film because he was too busy fighting the war - with Bulkeley!"

Experiencing the war side-by-side with Bulkeley convinced Ford to finally direct They Were Expendable. Upon his return to Los Angeles, he told McGuinness he would start, as long as he could throw out the latest version of the script and have Wead do the revisions instead. The producer agreed, and Ford went on detached duty from the Navy in October 1944. After two years of uncertainty and delays, shooting began on February 1st, 1945. That day was also John Ford's fifty-first birthday.

by John Miller

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Behind the Camera on THEY WERE EXPENDABLE (1945)

The filming location for They Were Expendable was Key Biscayne, Florida, with a lot of design and set work giving it a passable resemblance to the Philippines. The Navy supplied actual PT boats to the company and Navy officers would stop by occasionally to watch the filming. Robert Montgomery was able to draw on his activity as an actual PT commander (at Guadalcanal and Normandy), as could Jim Havens, one of the second unit directors and the film's explosives expert. Perhaps due to his cumulative experiences in the war, Ford poured a lot of himself into the filming. John Wayne said Ford "was awfully intense on that picture and working with more concentration than I had ever seen. I think he was really out to achieve something."

Ford was quick to show newcomers to his set who was in control. Robert Montgomery would later direct some fine films, but he received an amusing rebuke from Ford early in the shooting for They Were Expendable after suggesting a different way to compose a shot. Ford listened, then made the shot Montgomery's way. Asking if he thought it went well, Montgomery replied that the shot went fine. Ford asked, "Did you really like it?" and Montgomery replied that he did. Ford then opened the camera, yanked the film out, and handed it to his actor, saying, "Here - take it home with you."

John Wayne later recalled the re-creation of an intense chapter in Navy history, the evacuation of General MacArthur and his family from the Philippines. As Wayne related, "there were a number of top Navy brass at the location, and there were quite a few disparaging remarks like `This is where the old bastard ran out' and that sort of thing. But by God, when the scene started and the guy who was playing MacArthur walked out... you could see the look in their eyes change. Jack had created such a sense of awe that even among these Navy men there was a feeling of respect for this man."

Since Ford had surrounded himself with so many fellow Navy personnel during the filming, Wayne, being a civilian, felt out of place at times. In particular, he perceived a favoritism occurring on the set regarding his co-star. As he later said, "Bob Montgomery was [Ford's] pet on that picture. He could do no wrong. ...Jack picked on me all the way through it. He kept calling me a `clumsy bastard' and a `big oaf' and kept telling me that I `moved like an ox'."

Screenwriter and Ford pal Frank Wead was kept close at hand for any required rewrites, as Ford would delight in changing scenes or taking advantage of breaks. One day a fire broke out on nearby Key Biscayne, so Ford sent a second unit there to film it for the attack on Manila Bay. "Ford was always taking unexpected shots, like this one of Manila burning," Wayne later remembered. "He would use any situation that developed. If it was raining when the script did not call for rain, he shot it in the rain and changed the script. He had this blueprint, sure, but he was always looking to change it."

Near the end of filming, Ford broke his leg when he fell 20 feet off a scaffold. While Ford spent two weeks in traction in the hospital, Robert Montgomery directed the remaining scenes - mainly inserts for the battle sequences. When shooting wrapped, Ford returned to his Field Photographic Unit in Europe, just in time to cross the Rhine with Allied forces at war's end. Ford left the post-production and scoring of They Were Expendable to others. He later objected to some of the "heavy music" added, but the leisurely, assured pace of the editing is clearly in keeping with Ford's wishes.

By the time They Were Expendable was finished the Japanese had surrendered, so MGM pushed the release date back to December 1945. With the war over, the film opened to enthusiastic reviews but low turnout at the box office. As John Wayne later said, "People had seen eight million war stories by the time the picture came out, and they were tired of them."

by John Miller

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The Critics' Corner on THEY WERE EXPENDABLE

"The most thrilling and electrifying passages in the film are those which show the torpedo-boat action - the midgets closing boldly on their prey, slamming their 'fish' out of the raked tubes then wheeling around in their white wakes, Mr. Ford and his watchful photographers have caught battle action at the full, even to the dying appearance of spent cartridge cases on the decks. But the drama and essence of the story are most movingly refined in those scenes which compose the pattern of bravery and pathos implicit in the tale. Mr. Ford, and apparently his scriptwriter, Frank Wead, have a deep and true regard for men who stick to their business for no other purpose than to do their jobs. To hold on with dignity and courage, to improvise when resources fail and to face the inevitable without flinching - those are the things which they have shown us how men do. Mr. Ford has made another picture which, in spirit, recalls his 'Lost Patrol.' It is nostalgic, warm with sentiment and full of fight in every foot." - Bosley Crowther, The New York Times, December 26, 1945.

"Produced and photographed excellently, it's highly interesting if too long. Regardless of any actual or supposed reaction against war films, this one is virtually certain to go over big. It has as a box-office aspect in the fact that the book on which it's based was a bestseller. Also, it's the first pic for Robert Montgomery since he was mustered out of the Navy, with which he served as a lieutenant-commander...The battle scenes in which the P-Ts go after Jap cruisers and supply ships were exceptionally well directed and photographed...Running time of 135 minutes could have been cut way down." Char., Variety, November 21, 1945.

"For what seems at least half of the dogged, devoted length of They Were Expendable all you have to watch is men getting on or off PT boats, and other men watching them do so. But this is made so beautiful and so real that I could not feel one foot of the film was wasted. The rest of the time the picture is showing nothing much newer, with no particular depth of feeling, much less idea; but, again, the whole thing is so beautifully directed and photographed, in such an abundance of vigorous open air and good raw sunlight, that I thoroughly enjoyed and admired it. Visually, and in detail, and in nearly everything he does with people, I think it is John Ford's finest movie." James Agee, The Nation, January 5, 1946.

"Ford...has framed sequence after sequence with such consummate skill and knowledge that one is given a key to recent conflict as well as a fiercely moving account of that conflict. [The film] is way up in the top brackets of movie making...The actors have obviously had something to do with this. Montgomery is especially striking as the commander of the expendable little squadron He plays with a quiet authority which always defines a scene in its human aspects. John Wayne is excellent as another skipper and so are too many performers to list here..." Howard Barnes, New York Herald Tribune, December, 1945.

"...the film is not flag-waving propaganda or hero worship. It does have an almost reverential attitude toward the armed services...At the same time, though, Ford is aiming for a degree of realism that films made earlier in the war lacked...If John Wayne and Donna Reed have the most emotional dramatic moments, the film rests on Robert Montgomery's understated work. When the film was made, Montgomery had just left the Navy. Perhaps that experience gives him the aura of quiet conviction that provides the balance to Wayne's louder, more bellicose character. Ford works with the difference between the two throughout, but brings it to the surface only in the final scene, where he plays against all of the audience's heroic expectations. It's an unusual conclusion to an unusually complex film." - Mike Mayo, Videohound's War Movies: Classic Conflict on Film.

"The tugs of docudrama, emotionalism and sheer timing produced a major work of surprisingly downbeat romanticism...A curious movie, whose premises Ford would obsessively rework in his subsequent cavalry pictures, with the luxury of historical distance." - Paul Taylor, TimeOut Film Guide.

Awards and Honors:

The film received only two Academy Award Nominations in lesser categories: Best Special Effects and Best Sound Recording.

by John Miller

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teaser They Were Expendable (1945)

Set at the start of World War II, They Were Expendable (1945) follows a PT boat captain (Robert Montgomery) and his commanding officer (John Wayne) as they try to convince the Navy that PT boats are in fact useful weapons, good for more than just the military equivalent of errands. Donna Reed provides a love interest while the cast is populated with several of director John Ford's regular actors such as Ward Bond. Even though They Were Expendable was created more or less as propaganda, the title clues you in that this won't be your usual war film. Ford told Peter Bogdanovich, "I despise happy endings - with a kiss at the finish - I've never done that. Of course, they were glorious in defeat in the Philippines - they kept on fighting."

The story behind They Were Expendable goes back to 1942 when MGM bought the rights to a best-selling book about PT boat commander John Bulkeley, a Medal of Honor recipient. When the time came to bring it to the screen, John Ford was already a captain in the Navy Photographic Field Unit, having won Oscars for The Battle of Midway (1942) and December 7th (1943). MGM and the Navy put Ford on leave in October 1944 so he could direct the film, even though he always insisted he didn't want to do it and was under orders. It helped that the writer was his old buddy, Frank "Spig" Wead (Ford would later direct Wead's life story as The Wings of Eagles, 1957), who really convinced Ford this movie would be a good deed for the war effort. Still concerned about appearing to profit from a commercial film during wartime, Ford had his salary go to a center for veterans of his unit, the Field Photo Farm, which was active from 1946 to 1966. Oddly enough, in the summer of 1944, while Ford was resisting making the film, he spent several days actually fighting alongside the real-life Bulkeley aboard a PT boat during the Normandy invasion.

Filming started February 1, 1945, Ford's 51st birthday. The location was Key Biscayne, Florida, with a lot of design and set work giving it a passable resemblance to the Phillippines. The Navy supplied actual PT boats for the filming and Navy officers would stop by occasionally to watch the filming. Robert Montgomery was able to draw on his activity as an actual PT commander at Guadalcanal and Normandy, as could one of the second unit directors. Perhaps due to his cumulative experiences in the war, Ford poured a lot of himself into the film. John Wayne said Ford "was awfully intense on that picture and working with more concentration than I had ever seen. I think he was really out to achieve something." Even with his reputation, Ford hadn't been allowed to use men from his photographic unit in the crew. They Were Expendable turned out to be the next-to-the-last film for cinematographer Joseph H. August, a two-time Oscar nominee whose career of nearly 150 films stretched back to 1912.

Near the end of filming, Ford broke his leg when he fell 20 feet off a scaffold. During his absence Robert Montgomery directed the remaining scenes, even though Ford had publicly upbraided him earlier for trying to suggest a different way to handle a scene. Montgomery wasn't the only future director observing Ford at work. John Wayne already had ideas for a film about the Alamo and was learning film technique from Ford, and future director Blake Edwards supposedly plays a crewman aboard one of the boats. The postproduction work on They Were Expendable was performed while Ford was away in Washington and didn't sit well with him at all; in particular, he objected to some of the heavy music added (though you can still hear Ford's signature tune, "Red River Valley").

The film was released on December 7, 1945, but with the war dying down, it was not as big a hit as expected. It did receive two Oscar nominations for Best Sound and Best Special Effects. It also became entangled in two lawsuits. Commander Robert Kelly (the basis for John Wayne's character) sued MGM for libel and was awarded $3,000. Lieutenant Beulah Greenwalt (played by Donna Reed) said the portrayal of her in a fictitious romance was damaging and an invasion of privacy; she was awarded $290,000. Despite these setbacks, They Were Expendable is now recognized as one of the best war films and a high point in the careers of everybody involved with it.

Producer: John Ford, Cliff Reid
Director: Robert Montgomery, John Ford
Screenplay: Frank Wead
Art Direction: Malcolm Brown, Cedric Gibbons
Cinematography: Joseph H. August
Costume Design: Yvonne Wood
Film Editing: Douglas Biggs, Frank E. Hull
Original Music: Earl K. Brent, Herbert Stothart
Principal Cast: Robert Montgomery (Lt. John Brickley), John Wayne (Lt. J.G. "Rusty" Ryan), Donna Reed (Lt. Sandy Davyss), Cameron Mitchell (Ensign George Cross), Jack Holt (General Martin), Ward Bond (Boots Mulcahey), Marshall Thompson (Ens. Snake Gardner).
BW-135m. Closed captioning. Descriptive video.

by Lang Thompson

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