They Were Expendable (1945)

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  • Moderator Chester and I exchanged opinions in another thread that this was our favorite Duke war movie.

    I think the single most remarkable aspects of "They Were Expendable" were its' timing, plot and direction.

    As we know, there was a lot of effort by all parties in WW2 to show the rightness of their particular cause. Most films were pure propaganda pieces designed to raise the spirits of one's own citizens. Thus, most American war films made during the time actual combat was taking place (Dec '41 until Aug '45) invariably showed our side as the good guys and the other side as the bad guys. Usually, the movies showed our brave lads winning the contest (even when they weren't). "They Were Expendable" didn't do that -it showed MacArthur being evacuated from Corregidor to prevent his capture by the Japanese and Montgomery/Wayne being flown out to help train new PT crewmen and design better boats.

    According to the filmography, shooting began in March and ran through June 1945. The war with Japan didn't end until Aug '45, after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Therefore, neither the writer nor John Ford knew how the war would end when this movie was made. As Ford was a naval officer during WW2, he would have had every incentive to make the usual propaganda piece but he didn't, which was to his credit.

    De gustibus non est disputandum

  • I watched this one recently for the first time and I liked it a lot. I agree with the positive critics of this movie. Like in other Ford Movies the Black/White photography is excellent as well.

    "You're too good to give a chance to." John Wayne as Cole Thornton in El Dorado (1966)

  • best scene-dad[russell simpson]and his dog,smoking and holding his rifle in his rocker on his porch waiting for the jappanease

  • A really great Duke movie! It reminds me of the way our country USED to be! I am very sick of everyone always trying to be politically correct.
    We need more people like the Duke was. I am becoming quite concerned about the way our country is heading. Sorry for preaching but I am very concerned.

  • A great movie. Robert Montgomery was a Lt. Commander during WW3.
    John Wayne played his wonderful self. Who wouldn't like to have a fling with Donna Reed. Ward Bond has too small a part. I think he is great also.
    I have watched this movie over and over.

  • Ward Bond has too small a part.

    This may have been due to the fact that not long before the film,
    Ward had shattered a leg in a car accident, and had to be filmed from the waist up,
    therefore decreasing a more active role.

    I have also taken this opportunity
    to update the Trivia and Goofs section, in the initial review.

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited once, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Thank you for the info in regards to Ward Bond. I was a bit down when Ward Bond and the others walked off to who noes what. Perhaps a prison camp or worse.When I was in the service we had a teck. Sgt who was on the Bataan Death march. He was not all there and I felf sorry for him.

  • I always enjoy this film. Robert Montgomery, John Wayne and Ward Bond always seem to make things very believable.


    RACMP - For the troops With the troops

  • HAH, Larry, you found one with Ward in it......super. Thanks. I am looking for the one where he was on a crutch and he and Duke said their goodbyes.

    God, she reminds me of me! DUKE

  • You know, this is "minutia" at it's best, but the 2 real-life characters (Donna Reed's and John Wayne's characters) the movie circled around kinda "semi-romantically," allegedly sued everyone connected with ALL aspects of the film.

    According to the trivia section of IMDb, because of their objection to the "romantic" aspects of the film, studios had to add the familiar disclaimer "Any similarity to actual persons or events, is purely coincidental"

    Well...that's untrue. This "disclaimer" was shown at either the beginning or ending of films (sometimes BOTH) as early as 1930...

    I know its not earth-shattering, but I thought it was interesting!

  • Larry, Mon Ami, you found a big pic of Ward with Brick and are a doll! Thank you SO much....see the look on Duke's face, that is of a friend glad that his best friend can act again after a long hiatus of recooping from an almost severed leg! Now, if you EVER run into the one of Ward and Duke together just after that one, I would go to France to shake your hand..or give you a hug if you don't mind hugs, whenever I can afford it, LOL! Seriously, first large pic I have seen of that except for screen caps I make. LOVE IT, Thanks again, Larry!

    You are right, Russ, very interesting. KEITH WOW!

    God, she reminds me of me! DUKE

  • Not many movies out there about the PT boats, thats what made it a hit with me! It seems a little to long for me, but still a great war movie!