They Were Expendable (1945)

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  • Hi Jim


    Its still can be your favourite. I just think the film could have been stronger. Maybe it was rushed or Ford was rusty with it being his first movie after the war who knows. It is definitely authentic with Spig Weade as one of its advisers.



    Mike

  • The Ghost Soldiers is an excellent book. It gives the true perspective of what was going on. Unfortunately we are losing over one thousand WWII Vets per day. Many came home and never told their families about what happened and what they went through. We are losing a large portion of untold history with each passing.


    If you have a dad or a grandfather and you haven't taken the time to ask them about the war, do it before its too late.

    The only time you bow down to someone is when you bend over to help them up!

  • I can certainly understand why some stories are not being told. I sat down with a WWII vet when I was in the military and the stories he told me ran shivers up my spine. The Japanese treated our guys horribly in their prison camps. Beaten, whipped, starved, dehydrated, manipulated and much more. I can see why many of our old vets won't tell the stories.


    My father-in-law served in WWII, he had a lot of friends that spent time in some of those camps. He hated the Japanese to the day he died. But he did leave me with a funny story that I tell where ever I can.


    He used to run an Old Texaco gas station which he later converted to a NAPA store. There is another business in town, a factory that makes bearings and such for big equipment. The factory saw some hard times about 20 years ago and was eventually bought by the Japanese. Shortly after they bought it, they sent a delegation to our city to check out the plant and to check things out so to speak. It kind of on the edge of town and not easy to find. As they wer driving down the main road they stopped in NAPA store to get directions. They asked my father-in-law: "Where is NTN" With their back accent it took him a couple times to figure out what they were asking. When he did figure it out, he looked at them with a straight face and replied: "You found Pearl Harbor easy enough didn't you?" They didn't say a word, just walked out and drove down the road. True story... I swear!

  • My father-in-law never accepted it... what was done to his friends, he swore he'd never allow them in his shop. He lived through it, we didn't, but I can see where he's coming from. I lost friends on 9/11 and since then in Iraq.

  • FRIEND
    Neither DO I

    I stand with your folks and will,ALWAYS.
    Take that to the bank.

    Rick

    SASS 39065 Life
    BOLD 114

  • I saw this one last night on TCM. The photography is fantastic. This movie is extremely realistic from a visual standpoint.

  • I can certainly understand why some stories are not being told. I sat down with a WWII vet when I was in the military and the stories he told me ran shivers up my spine. The Japanese treated our guys horribly in their prison camps. Beaten, whipped, starved, dehydrated, manipulated and much more. I can see why many of our old vets won't tell the stories.

    My father-in-law served in WWII, he had a lot of friends that spent time in some of those camps. He hated the Japanese to the day he died. But he did leave me with a funny story that I tell where ever I can.

    He used to run an Old Texaco gas station which he later converted to a NAPA store. There is another business in town, a factory that makes bearings and such for big equipment. The factory saw some hard times about 20 years ago and was eventually bought by the Japanese. Shortly after they bought it, they sent a delegation to our city to check out the plant and to check things out so to speak. It kind of on the edge of town and not easy to find. As they wer driving down the main road they stopped in NAPA store to get directions. They asked my father-in-law: "Where is NTN" With their back accent it took him a couple times to figure out what they were asking. When he did figure it out, he looked at them with a straight face and replied: "You found Pearl Harbor easy enough didn't you?" They didn't say a word, just walked out and drove down the road. True story... I swear!



    You know the main reason they treated our guys and the Brits so horribly? Because they had absolutely no respect for them. Why? Because they surrendered and to the Japanese, that was weakness and cowardly. They think they should've fought to the last man or killed themselves and die honorably. Honorably? Look how many Japs uselessly died and never saw home again because of honor.

  • "NO poor dumb B**tard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb B**tard die for his."
    Gen. Geo. Patton

    SASS 39065 Life
    BOLD 114

  • You know the main reason they treated our guys and the Brits so horribly? Because they had absolutely no respect for them. Why? Because they surrendered and to the Japanese, that was weakness and cowardly. They think they should've fought to the last man or killed themselves and die honorably. Honorably? Look how many Japs uselessly died and never saw home again because of honor.


    I see what your saying but these atrocities were happening while the war was going on... there was no dishonor yet since they hadn't surrendered yet, but they were getting their butts kicked all over the Pacific. Once the war was over they just abandoned the camps and left our people to die or starve that's why we had to do a massive search for the camps because we knew the Japs abandoned all prisoners. They didn't even have respect for themselves, committing suicide was some sort of twisted honor to them.

  • As far as this film goes, I like it alot and it's in my top 20 favorite war movies. Great cast and great interaction with the characters. From the first time I saw this movie till recently, I have seen this one at least 30 times over the years and still never tire of it.

    I noticed that the Duke also had stubble in this film as it was mentioned elsewhere that the only movie he had hair on his face in was in: Back To Bataan.

    Es Ist Verboten Mit Gefangenen In Einzelhaft Zu Sprechen..

  • Hard to imagine the courage to be on a small boat attacking much larger ships.

    Greetings from North of the 49th

  • In our recent poll, this movie,
    was voted Duke's best war movie.
    Although the film flopped at the box office,
    let's hear your comments about it,
    particularly from members, who have yet
    to join in on this discussion.

    Best Wishes
    Keith
    London- England

  • It´s one of my two favourite War Movies! - The other one is "In Harm´s Way"...

    I like this kind of melancholic mood the movie creates, whenever I watch it. It is so sad to see the people, who are withdrawn from the Philippines, to leave their comrades and friends or to see their comrades die in war. The movie is a wonderful piece of art in black and white and I could not imagine it in color.

    "Never apologize. It´s a sign of weakness."

  • To me, They Were Expendable, is a reminder of just how unprepared America was going into WWII. With the major losses at Pearl Harbor, the Pacific Fleet was so decimated, that the Phillipinnes and the Asiatic Fleet (mostly little better than mothballed WWI ships) had to be abandoned, and the soldiers and sailors left to defend themselves as best as they could. Yet, at the same time the film DID have a message of hope - unlike what has been said in previous posts. The people of the Phillipinnes and Americans were united in a common struggle, there were new advances that would prove themselves in the Pacific War - the PT Boats, and through this struggle the brass in Washington with their WWI mindset saw that the PT Boat, and the submarine would be a decisive addition to fighting the war.


    The movie also showed the toll of all the elements in war - the people, the military, those left behind (and they included women and dependants - i.e. the Nurses), and what lay ahead in POW camps, and the WILL to come back and retake the islands and throw the invaders out. As it showed the toll of the old versus the new - perhaps best shown through Russell Simpson, the old man that came to the Phillipinnes when Americans first came there in 1898, and stayed and most likely perished - as the almost worthless Asiatic Fleet also mostly perished. This was a new war, and the old was gone, and a happier time was ended, and it was a salute to those times, yet acknowledging that they were over, and an all out effort would need to be made to turn everything around for victory.


    Unfortunately, in the end, the film did get released as the war closed, and Americans were tired of war, and that is the only reason, I believe, that it flopped. I suspect had the war lasted longer, this would have been perhaps the MOST remembered film for WHY are we fighting.


    I loved the film, and it certainly showed the spirit, resolve, and will to win of the people, and the indominatable American that can come back from great defeat and in a short short time send the Japs running. We could sure use an extra large portion of that resolve and spirit today methinks.


    The Quiet Man

  • This movie had a large effect on me as a young man. The hoplessness of the men,and women
    was awful. When the last plane left we all now NOW what happened to most of the men and women that were left behind. Don't we all wonder what happened to Donna Reeds character, and that in the future she and John Waynes Character ever met again.
    There really not knowing what happen to the other on was one of the realities of the
    time.

  • That was really an awesome story. I'm so glad you found it and shared it here. I didn't think, being made of plywood, that there were any PT Boats left after all these years. I would love to be able to step aboard that craft and feel the history. And to listen to their stories they would tell? Priceless!


    Mark

    "I couldn't go to sleep at night if the director didn't call 'cut'. "