Posts from Stumpy in thread „They Were Expendable (1945)“

    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.

    The actors of today on another hand think that just because they make movies that they are right in there thinking and that we should listen to them even though most have probably never researched on the stuff they are talking about.

    I remember an incident in the early eighties that was totally ridiculous. In those days, a lot of family farms were going under because of various circumstances. Congress called Jessica Lange, who had played in a movie about family farms called "Country", to testify about the plight of family farms. She probably didn't know any more about family farming than my 3-year-old granddaughter, who lives in a Dallas suburb. But that was so typical of what passes for our political "leadership".

    One of my other great cinematic interests is the musical star Gene Kelly. (I know; he couldn't be much more different from John Wayne, but there you have it.) Though it pains me a bit to say it about someone whose work I admire so much, he was known for being very left-wing and even got accidentally entangled in communism through his first wife, who was far more hard-core liberal than even he was. I used to post quite frequently at a GK forum and occasionally the conversation drifted into politics. I am more right-wing and conservative myself, and I tended to just ignore those conversations. It's not worth getting involved in something ugly, and risk alienating yourself from a great discussion about a common interest. Everyone's entitled to their opinion and I'm not about to change anyone's mind over night, so I let stuff go.

    Just to relate this all to JW, I don't know about any time Duke met with Gene Kelly, though I do know that GK praised him in writing once for how gracefully he moved in spite of (or perhaps because of) his masculinity. He was always trying to prove that dancing could be masculine, and that men who danced should always maintain their masculinity. He didn't like that people always associate dancing with being a sissy.

    I never knew Gene fell on the left side of the political spectrum - in fact, that's the first I'd heard of it. That's what I liked about the older generation of movie stars; they kept their political opinions to themselves. I've read that Burt Lancaster, Gregory Peck and of course
    Paul Newman were/are extremely liberal but you'd never have known it from their movies.

    I've also never thought dancing was sissified - I'd give anything to be able to dance like Gene or Fred could.

    BTW, Jen, Gene has what I think was one of his best movies out on DVD - "The Three Musketeers"