Next up, we have the 1965 war movie None But The Brave.
Coming Up Shorts! with… All’s Fair At The Fair (1947)
(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 2 from Warner Archive Collection)
Disclaimer: On the disc case, it is noted that the set is intended for the adult collector, which is because these shorts were made at a time when a lot of racist and sexist stereotypes were prevalent. All I’m trying to say is, parents, be careful about just sticking these on for your kids.
(Length: 7 minutes, 19 seconds)
At a carnival with Popeye, Olive catches the eye of hot air balloonist Bluto, who tries to get her away from Popeye. As usual, Bluto makes Popeye look bad, until he gets Olive alone and loses his charm. The overall Bluto vs. Popeye idea may not be new here, but I had some fun, especially since I have a stronger recollection of seeing this one when I was younger. Another fun cartoon making this set feel well worth it!
And Now For The Main Feature…
During World War II, Lieutenant Kuroki (Tatsuya Mihashi) and his men are staunchly defending the island they have been stationed on, but at this point they have essentially been cut off from the rest of the Japanese army. One day, a plane of marines crashes on the island after being shot down by a Japanese zero. The marines, led by their pilot Captain Dennis Bourke (Clint Walker), make themselves at home while they try to fix the radio and make contact again. The two groups are aware of each other, and fighting breaks out when the marines try to get at the fresh water supply and then unsuccessfully attempt to take a boat the Japanese had been putting together. A truce is called when Lieutenant Kuroki asks for help from Chief Pharmacist Mate Maloney (Frank Sinatra) in amputating one of his men’s legs in exchange for access to the fresh water and some food. An uneasy peace is brokered, with each group promising only to resume the fighting if either group reconnects with their respective armies to become part of the war again. However, the peace is only really held together when they all have to band together to save the water supply during a monsoon. But will the peace hold, even if either group is brought back into the war?
None But The Brave is mainly known for being the only movie directed by Frank Sinatra. At the time, the executives at Warner Brothers were wary of giving him this chance, but his business partner Howard Koch was able to convince them to let him direct. The movie was the first American-Japanese co-production shot in the U.S., done on location at the island of Kauai. The movie wasn’t a big hit, and reviews were mixed to favorable about it. However, it was the last time Frank Sinatra directed, for whatever reasons he had.
I very much enjoyed this movie. Up to this point, I have seen four of Frank Sinatra’s war films (if he made any more, I haven’t learned of them yet), and I would rank this second of the four (trailing only Von Ryan’s Express). For me, it was fun seeing Clint Walker, whom I mainly know as Cheyenne Bodie from the classic Warner Brothers TV western Cheyenne, in one of the leading roles, as he works well as the leader of the marines. Of course, Sinatra has a few good moments here, but it’s nice seeing him take a bit of a backseat to the leaders of the two sides. But I definitely like seeing how both sides are humanized here, as we get to know the Japanese men too, and done way before Clint Eastwood would do something similar with his two films Flags Of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima. Admittedly, there’s not much character work here beyond the leaders on either side, but it’s still nice to see the two groups trying to get along, and it’s heartbreaking when they feel they have to go back to fighting. As I said, the movie is far from perfect, but I liked it, and find it worth recommending!
This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Archive Collection. As usual with these Warner Archive releases, the movie looks fantastic in high-definition, with everything looking as crisp and colorful as I could hope to see. Easily a release worth recommending with this transfer!
Film Length: 1 hour, 45 minutes
My Rating: 8/10
List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
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