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

    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.

    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.

    Hi Todd,

    Thanks for that information.

    I haven't seen the film you mentioned,
    but will certainly look out for it.
    There are certainly many web-sites
    (similiar to the one I posted for Vera)
    relating to the 'March' and the
    details in those, makes for pretty horrific reading!


    Hi Vera,

    Apparently in later life Ford admitted that he never wanted
    to make, this film, but was ordered to do so,
    by the studio bosses who had supported his war documentaries.
    He didn't have any confidence in MGM to come up with
    a substantial war film, and his distaste for non-serving
    Hollywood actors, including Duke)
    had to be overcome!!
    Fort had an accident, towards the end of filming, and gave directional roles to Montgomery,
    a final swipe at Duke and his War service record.

    The film was artfully made, but the timing of it's release was unfortunate!!

    From my Initial review,


    Unfortunately, the war was over, when the film was released in December 1945,
    the public were tired of war.The film flopped.
    Had it been released a few months earlier, it would have been considered
    morale boosting, and part of the war effort,it's success, would have been much greater.

    Did you know, that there are no Japanese Soldiers or Sailors,
    seen anywhere in the film!!!!!

    Best Wishes

    Hi Vera,

    Arthur has mentioned the windscreen incident,
    which was part of Ford's constant, riding of Duke.
    Ford resented the fact, that Duke's only uniform
    was one issued by the wardrobe department.
    It was Stagecoach re-visited, with the golden boy,
    in this case Montgomery doing no wrong.
    Everything, Duke did, was wrong, with Ford,
    constantly calling him a 'clumsy B*******',
    and a 'big oaf'.
    Ford even said that Duke did not how to walk, or talk like a sailor,
    which really upset Duke, cause if nothing else.he moved well!!
    It was total humiliation, about the saluting,
    which resulted in Montgomery,
    leaning over Ford's chair and saying,


    Don't ever talk to Duke like that. You ought to be ashamed

    As Arthur has pointed out, the film was not a happy
    experience for anyone concerned with it


    Yes it is the Death March, that is depicted in
    Back to Bataan

    Here is a link, not nice reading however, with some information for you

    Bataan Death March

    About Duke crying!
    I've not read that anywhere, but according to John Wayne:American
    Ford kept getting on Duke's back about not saluting correctly, so much so
    that Montgomery intervened to such an extent, that he reduced FORD to tears!!

    Quite correct Vera, Ford donated his entire $300K salary, to build a living memorial,
    for his Field Photographic Unit, a tribute for comrades who had died defending their country.

    Best Wishes

    Hi Vera,

    Unfortunatley, the ones left behind,
    were left to the mercy, or lack of mercy
    of the invading forces.
    Many suffered at the ends of enemy,
    as P.O.W.s, with many never making it.
    However, of course, many did survive,
    until the islands were re-taken,
    and live to tell their stories.

    Best Wishes

    They Were Expendable is a 1945 American war film directed by John Ford
    and starring Robert Montgomery and John Wayne and featuring Donna Reed.

    The film is based on the book by William L. White, relating the story of the exploits
    of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three, a PT boat unit defending the Philippines
    against Japanese invasion during the Battle of the Philippines (1941–42) in World War II.
    It features the unit's commanding officer and Medal of Honor recipient Lieutenant John D. Bulkeley,
    and Lieutenant (j.g.) Robert Kelly, one of his boat skippers.

    The characters of John Brickley (Montgomery) and Rusty Ryan (Wayne)
    are fictionalizations of the actual subjects.
    Both the film and the book – which was a best seller and had excerpts published in Reader's Digest and Life
    – depict actions which did not occur, but were believed to be real during the war;
    the film is noted for its verisimilitude.

    A great war movie, well acted and directed,
    following some, real life stories, as written by Frank 'Spig' Wead.

    Although Duke was relegated in the cast list, Ford's little
    way of reminding Duke, of his 'lack' of military service,
    he acquitted himself well, once again proving his worth,
    of acting a leader, if not one in practice.

    Robert Montgomery, on leave from the forces, and Donna Reed, played well in their parts.
    Ward Bond, re-covering from a shattered leg, which you never see, did well.
    Unfortunately, the war was over, when the film was released in December 1945,
    the public were tired of war.

    The film flopped.

    Had it been released a few months earlier, it would have been considered
    morale boosting, and part of the war effort,it's success, would have been much greater.

    User Review


    A film about following orders no matter how painful
    31 January 2002 | by chisum (Hartlepool England)

    One reveiwer critices this film about lack of action he misses the point,all the characters are well developed which makes the ending so painfull. The acting is first rate every part is played with a great belief,,there are so many great scenes that touch the heart.The men are bonded together by their actions and when the bonds are broken through death or orders it hurts us all. Donna Reed is gorgeous to look at ,only a small role but well acted. At the end of the film you feel a lump in your throat and a tear forms in your eye,I love this movie.9/10


    and ROBERT MONTGOMERY-uncredited

    Photo with the courtesy of lasbugas


    Plot Summary
    The fall of the Phillippines to the Japanese in World War II, and the heroism and tragedy of the defenders, as exemplified by the story of one American PT boat squadron.
    Summary written by Jim Beaver

    Shortly after Pearl Harbor, a squadron of PT-boat crews in the Philipines must battle the Navy brass between skirmishes with the Japanese. The title says it all about the Navy's attitude towards the PT-boats and their crews.
    Summary written by Anonymous

    Based on the real life heroics of Lieutenants John Bulkeley (Brickley) and Robert Kelly (Ryan), the movie accurately depicts the defense of the Philippines by American PT Boats from December 1941 through April 1942 for which Lieutenant (later Vice Admiral) Bulkeley was awarded the Medal of Honor and Lieutenant Kelly the Navy Cross.
    Summary written by Jim Graslie

    Full Cast
    Robert Montgomery .... Lt. John Brickley
    John Wayne .... Lt. (j.g.) 'Rusty' Ryan
    Donna Reed .... 2nd Lt. Sandy Davys
    Jack Holt .... Gen. Martin
    Ward Bond .... 'Boats' Mulcahey
    Marshall Thompson .... Ens. 'Snake' Gardner
    Paul Langton .... Ens. 'Andy' Andrews
    Leon Ames .... Maj. James Morton
    Arthur Walsh .... Seaman Jones
    Donald Curtis .... Lt. (j.g.) 'Shorty' Long/voice on radio announcing fall of Bataan
    Cameron Mitchell .... Ens. George Cross
    Jeff York .... Ens. Tony Aiken
    Murray Alper .... 'Slug' Mahan
    Harry Tenbrook .... Squarehead Larson
    Jack Pennick .... Doc
    Alex Havier .... Benny Lecoco
    Charles Trowbridge .... Adm. Blackwell
    Robert Barrat .... Gen. Douglas MacArthur
    Bruce Kellogg .... Elder Tompkins
    Tim Murdock .... Ens. L. D. Brant
    Louis Jean Heydt .... Captain 'Ohio' Carter
    Russell Simpson .... 'Dad' Knowland
    Vernon Steele .... Army doctor
    Pedro de Cordoba .... Priest (scenes deleted)
    Philip Ahn .... Army orderly (uncredited)
    Steve Barclay .... Naval officer (uncredited)
    Bill Barnum .... Boat crew member (uncredited)
    Betty Blythe .... Officer's wife (uncredited)
    Danny Borzage .... Boat crew member (uncredited)
    Al Bridge .... Lieutenant Colonel (uncredited)
    George Bruggeman .... Man in admiral's office (uncredited)
    Charles Calhoun .... Man in admiral's office (uncredited)
    James Carlisle .... Man in admiral's office (uncredited)
    John Carlyle .... Lt. James (uncredited)
    Jack Carrington .... Officer at airport (uncredited)
    Bruce Carruthers .... Man in admiral's office (uncredited)
    Tony Carson .... Man in admiral's office (uncredited)
    Jack Cheatham .... Commander (uncredited)
    Fred Coby .... Officer at airport (uncredited)
    Roger Cole .... Officer at airport (uncredited)
    Jane Crowley .... Officer's wife (uncredited)
    William B. Davidson .... Hotel manager (uncredited)
    Marjorie Davies .... Nurse (uncredited)
    Patrick Davis .... Pilot (uncredited)
    Gary Delmar .... Man in admiral's office (uncredited)
    Larry Dods .... Boat crew member (uncredited)
    Ernest Dominguez .... Filipino boy (uncredited)
    Frank Donahue .... Man in admiral's office (uncredited)
    William 'Red' Donahue .... Officer at airport (uncredited)
    George Economides .... Bartender's child (uncredited)
    Michael Economides .... Bartender's child (uncredited)
    Blake Edwards .... Boat crewman (uncredited)
    Frank Eldredge .... Officer at airport (uncredited)
    John Epper .... Officer at airport (uncredited)
    Jim Farley .... (uncredited)
    Charles Ferguson .... Officer at airport (uncredited)
    Leonard Fisher .... Man in admiral's office (uncredited)
    Lee Tung Foo .... Asian bartender (uncredited)
    Wallace Ford .... (uncredited)
    Art Foster .... Boat crew member (uncredited)
    Almeda Fowler .... Officer's wife (uncredited)
    Mary Jane French .... Lost nurse (uncredited)
    Jon Gilbreath .... Submarine commander (uncredited)
    Duke Green .... PT-41 boat starboard torpedoman (uncredited)
    Sherry Hall .... Marine major (uncredited)
    Del Hill .... Boat crew member (uncredited)
    Robert Homans .... Bartender at Manila Hotel (uncredited)
    Vincent Isla .... Filipino schoolteacher (uncredited)
    Dick Karl .... Man in admiral's office (uncredited)
    Michael Kirby .... Boat crewman (uncredited)
    Michael Kostrick .... Man in admiral's office (uncredited)
    Paul Kruger .... Man in admiral's office (uncredited)
    Stubby Kruger .... Boat crewman (uncredited)
    Jack Lee .... Man in admiral's office (uncredited)
    Donald S. Lewis .... Officer at airport (uncredited)
    Jack Lorenz .... Man in admiral's office (uncredited)
    Leota Lorraine .... Officer's wife (uncredited)
    Trina Lowe .... Gardner's girlfriend (uncredited)
    Jack Luden .... Naval Air Captain (uncredited)
    Ted Lundigan .... Boat Crew Member (uncredited)
    James Magill .... Man in Admiral's Office (uncredited)
    George Magrill .... Man in Admiral's Office (uncredited)
    Eve March .... Nurse (uncredited)
    Kermit Maynard .... Airport Officer (uncredited)
    Merrill McCormick .... Wounded Officer at Airport (uncredited)
    Frank McGrath .... Slim, bearded CPO (uncredited)
    Leonard Mellin .... Man in Admiral's Office (uncredited)
    Karl Miller .... Man in Admiral's Office (uncredited)
    Henry Mirelez .... Filipino Boy (uncredited)
    Margaret Morton .... Bartender's Wife (uncredited)
    Jack Mower .... Officer (uncredited)
    Forbes Murray .... Navy Captain (uncredited)
    Charles Murray Jr. .... Jeep Driver (uncredited)
    Bill Neff .... Submarine Skipper/Boat Crew Member (uncredited)
    Bill Nind .... Officer at Airport (uncredited)
    Wedgwood Nowell .... Man in Admiral's Office (uncredited)
    Robert Emmett O'Connor .... Silver Dollar bartender (uncredited)
    Max Ong .... Mayor of Cebu (uncredited)
    Franklin Parker .... Naval Officer (uncredited)
    Frank Pershing .... Boat Crew Member (uncredited)
    Nino Pipitone Jr. .... Bartender's Child (uncredited)
    Dan Quigg .... Man in Admiral's Office (uncredited)
    Robert Shelby Randall .... Boat Crew Member (uncredited)
    Clifford Rathjen .... Man in Admiral's Office (uncredited)
    Joey Ray .... Boat Crew Member (uncredited)
    William McKeever Riley .... Boat Crew Member (uncredited)
    Jack Ross .... Officer at Airport (uncredited)
    John Roy .... Man in Admiral's Office (uncredited)
    Harold Schlickenmayer .... Man in Admiral's Office (uncredited)
    Phil Schumacher .... Boat Crew Member (uncredited)
    Ernest Seftig .... Naval Officer (uncredited)
    Jack Semple .... Man in Admiral's Office (uncredited)
    Brent Shugar .... Officer at Airport (uncredited)
    Sam Simone .... Man in Admiral's Office (uncredited)
    Reginald Simpson .... Man in Admiral's Office (uncredited)
    Leslie Sketchley .... Marine Orderly (uncredited)
    Ralph Soncuya .... Filipino Orderly (uncredited)
    Leonard Stanford .... Man in Admiral's Office (uncredited)
    Larry Steers .... Man in Admiral's Office (uncredited)
    Sammy Stein .... Sammy, Boat crewman (uncredited)
    Jack Stoney .... Boat Crew Member (uncredited)
    Robert Strong .... Officer at Airport (uncredited)
    Roy Thomas .... Man in Admiral's Office (uncredited)
    Bob Thom .... Man in Admiral's Office (uncredited)
    Dick Thorne .... Man in Admiral's Office (uncredited)
    Pacita Tod-Tod .... Nightclub singer (uncredited)
    Brad Towne .... Man in Admiral's Office (uncredited)
    Jack Trent .... Officer at Airport (uncredited)
    Tom Tyler .... Captain at airport (uncredited)
    Emmett Vogan .... Naval Doctor (uncredited)
    Eleanore Vogel .... Officer's Wife (uncredited)
    Hansel Warner .... Officer at Airport (uncredited)
    Billy Wilkerson .... Sgt. Smith (uncredited)
    Roque Ybarra Jr. .... Bartender's Child (uncredited)

    Writing credits
    William L. White (book)
    Frank Wead (screenplay) (as Frank Wead Comdr. U.S.N. [Ret.])

    Original Music
    Herbert Stothart

    Joseph H. August (as Joseph H. August Lt. Comdr. U.S.N.R.)

    Other crew
    Robert Montgomery .... director: rear projection plates (uncredited)

    Jack Stoney

    Robert Montgomery was a real-life PT skipper in World War 2. He helped direct some of the PT sequences for the film when John Ford was unavailable due to health reasons.

    Filmed in Miami, the closing shot with the lighthouse is the Cape Florida Lighthouse, in what is today the Cape Florida State Park. The lighthouse withstood and was the scene of an Seminole Indian attack in 1835.

    The movie was based on the real live exploits of John Bulkeley, a World War II Medal of Honor Recipient.

    This movie was based on William L. White's book "They Were Expendable", which covered the exploits of Lieutenants John Bulkeley and Robert Kelly. Lt. Robert Kelly and U.S. Army Nurse "Peggy Smith" sued MGM, John Wayne and Donna Reed for their portrayal of them in the film. Although the film follows the book fairly closely, it does portray Lt. Kelly as impetuous and "hell bound for glory." Nurse Smith is shown romantically involved with Lt. Kelly. Wayne, Reed and MGM settled out of court for a nominal sum (less than $5,000.00). This event prompted movies to start adding disclaimers such as "All characters are fictional. Any resemblance to actual people is purely by coincidence and any of their actions in actual historical events is not accurate".

    The real-life Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 3 in the Philippines at the beginning of World War II was equipped with six 77-foot Elco PT boats, all either lost in combat or destroyed to prevent capture. In the film, the Squadron 3 boats are represented by two 80-foot Elco and four 78-foot Huckins PT boats.

    "Dad" Knowlton, the shipwright who repairs the PT boats, has a poignant little scene in which he refuses to leave the place he's lived and worked for forty years, although the Japanese are advancing. Rusty Ryan, John Wayne's character, finally leaves Dad sitting alone on his porch with a rifle in his hands and a jug of moonshine between his knees, as "Red River Valley" plays in the background. How eerily reminiscent of The Grapes of Wrath (1940), which is particularly appropriate because Dad is played by Russell Simpson, whom John Ford directed as Pa Joad in 1940.

    During the shooting of this movie, John Ford had put John Wayne down every chance he got, because Wayne had not enlisted to fight in World War II. Ford commanded a naval photographic unit during the war rising to the rank of captain and thought Wayne a coward for staying behind. After months of heaping insults on Wayne's head, costar Robert Montgomery finally approached the director and told him that if he was putting Wayne down for Montgomery's benefit (Montgomery had served in the war), that he needed to stop immediately. This brought the tough-as-nails director to tears and he stopped abusing Wayne.

    When the officers are gathered around the dining table, they stand for a toast, Rusty misses and the drink goes down the front of his shirt, then quickly cuts.

    In a scene on the docks, a ship named the Lucien P. Libby is in the background. In the biography "John Ford: A Bio-bibliography" by Bill Levy, there is a reference to John Ford being influenced by two teachers during his four years at Portland High School. One was an English teacher, Lucien Libby, who "helped the boy with his writing, encouraged Ford's reading, and stimulated thinking with witty comic teaching."

    First war movie feature of John Ford.

    This is one of a handful of feature film movies that have featured the story of the World War II Battle of Bataan. They include Bataan (1943), So Proudly We Hail! (1943); They Were Expendable (1945) and Back to Bataan (1945).

    The film covers the World War II Battle of Bataan and the place Bataan which is a Central Luzon region province on Luzon island in the Philippines and occupies the whole of the Bataan Peninsula on the island.

    * Factual errors: Both American aircraft shown in the film (a Piper J5A observation plane and a Douglas C-47 transport) carry the national insignia markings of a white star in a blue roundel, which was authorized on August 18, 1942. This is incorrect for the period depicted in the film (early December 1941 through late April 1942), when U.S. insignia was a white star inside a blue roundel with a red ball in the middle of the white star.

    * Anachronisms: By the time this movie was made, the class of PT boat used in the Philippine Islands was not available. They substituted 80-foot ELCOs for the 78-foot ELCOs actually used in Manila Bay.

    * Continuity: When Lt. Sandy Davys attends the 'party', Lt. JG 'Rusty' Ryan takes a big swig of his drink, spilling some of it down his face and shirt, yet in the next scene, he's completely dry.

    * Revealing mistakes: The Japanese air attack at the beginning of the movie shows the aircraft strafing the PT boats. None of the aircraft flying in the scene are carrying bombs, nor are there attachments on the wings for carrying bombs.

    * Continuity: During the aircraft strafing scenes when LTjg Ryan is injured, the planes are attacking from astern of the boats. The bullet strikes on the boat start from the starboard bow and go across the boat to the port side, indicating a frontal attack.

    * Continuity: When Brick is briefing his officers on the route they are to take in evacuating McArthur, he draws the route on the map in a thick, heavy line. Seconds later, when the map is picked up to be folded, the lines are gone.

    * Factual errors: A frame at the end of the movie said, "We shall return - General Douglas MacArthur". In fact, the White House tried to get the general to change his famous quote to "we" but he refused, saying he failed to see the purpose. It should read, "I shall return."

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Locations
    Florida Keys, Florida, USA
    Florida, USA
    Key Biscayne, Florida, USA
    Melville, Rhode Island, USA
    Miami, Florida, USA

    Watch the Trailer:-