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Purple Heart

1 rating: 3.0
A movie directed by Lewis Milestone

In this powerful piece of WWII agitprop, Dana Andrews stars as Capt. Harvey Ross, the ranking officer in a group of eight airmen who have been shot down by the Japanese during a key bombing raid, only to be exhibited in a show trial by their captors … see full wiki

Cast: Richard Loo
Director: Lewis Milestone
Release Date: 1944
MPAA Rating: Unrated
1 review about Purple Heart

The Purple Heart – 3-legged Race W/O

  • Jul 5, 2003
Rating:
+3
Pros: messages conveyed in story

Cons: ........

The Bottom Line: ________________

Please check my partner, Treeseed, who joined me in this three-legged race,
sponsored by
Pogomom
and Mind-full

The Story
It is during WWII and a group of 8 soldiers, pilot & crew, have had to abandon their plane over China. They had been on a bombing mission over Japan and inclement weather has caused the plane to run low on fuel as they become lost in the torrential rains. They can either bail ship or crash with the plane and take their chances.

Picked up by the Governor of a small province in China, they consider themselves safely on their way back to friendly hands when they suddenly find themselves shackled and locked into a Japanese prison. In addition, they are being held in civil court and charged with murder. This mild and meek Chinese Governor had turned on them and reported them to the Japanese forces, hoping to cover his own patootie.

From the beginning there is no doubt of the outcome of the trial, a mockery at best. The soldiers continue to refuse to divulge anything other than their name, rank & serial number, even though they are taken one by one and tortured for the information. In actuality, all they were asked at the end was to tell the name of their ranking officer, which both Diane and I thought they could have done easily by naming Dwight David Eisenhower or General McArthur. Had they done this, the Japanese were supposedly going to release them to a prisoner of war camp for the duration of the war.

Of course, that could have all been baloney, much like the trial testimony had been. Naturally, being red, white & blue Americans, Momma & apple pie, they held true to their honor and refused to give any names other than their own.

The Purple Heart received no awards. It was a black and white film but the quality is quite good, as is the sound. The film was released in 1944, which had to be a little troublesome, considering four of the soldiers were still being held captive in Japan. I am sure it had to bring both pain and pleasure to the families of the captive, and dead, soldiers depicted in this film.

A major feature I found was the use of English speaking Japanese & Chinese actors in the movie. I feel it would have detracted greatly had they used dubbing. I won’t say this is the best made film I have ever seen but the movie wasn’t made for the accolades anyway, or at least that is my take on it. During the time it was made I believe it was intended more as a message movie, and the message comes across loud and clear. Funny thing is, 59 years later the message is still loud and clear, and it still holds true.

Americans will go to war to defend their country and their families. They will go, knowing they may not return and even if they do, they could be mentally and physically changed. They will go, realizing what they have to do may not be what they believe in or stand for in every day life, but it really is what they believe in and stand for in every day life. If that sounds confusing – I meant to say – although they wouldn’t under normal circumstances pull a gun and shoot someone in daily life, they will in war, in defense of their spirit and home.

Even in conflicts that receive less than favorable press, Americans still go forward with the belief that in the end some good will result from their battle. Perhaps the only time we stepped back from that theory and belief was during the Vietnam Conflict, when no one really understood the battle.

I took a lot away from this film and none of it was hatred.

The stars involved were Dana Andrews as Capt. Harvey Ross, Richard Conte as Lt. Angelo Canelli, Farley Granger as Sgt. Howard Clinton, Kevin O'Shea as Sgt. Skvoznik, Don 'Red' Barry as Lt. Peter Vincent, Sam Levene as Lt. Wayne Greenbaum, Charles Russell as Lt. Kenneth Bayforth, and John Craven as Sgt. Martin Stoner. Richard Loo as Gen Mitsubi, Nestor Paiva as Francisco De La Santos, Peter Chong as Mitsuru Toyama, Keye Chang as Adm. Yamaguchi, and Benson Fong as Moy Ling.

Nuts & bolts
The Purple Heart was directed by Lewis Milestone and written by Jerome Cady and Darryl F. Zanuck. It was based on the factual account of the Doolittle Raid. The 8 soldiers involved were Lt. Robert Hite, Lt. William Farrow, Lt. George Barr, Sgt. Harold Spatz, Cpls. Jacob De Shazer, Dean Hallmark, Robert Meder & Chase Nielsen. The real trial was held in Shanghai on October 14, 1942 and the eight men were given death penalties.

Cpl. Hallmark, Sgt. Spatz & Lt. William Farrow were executed by a firing squad of the Imperial Japanese Army the following day. The other five were given the Imperial Commutation To Life In Prison. Cpl. Meder died in 1943 due to various diseases and gross mistreatment. The other four were freed with Japan’s surrender in August, 1945.

My condolences and gratitude go to the families of these men that stood for the glory and freedom that is America.

Peace and Happy July 4th :-)

Thanks,
Susi

http://home.earthlink.net/~epskids/team.html

This is part of the 3-legged Race Write-Off sponsored by Pogomom. The idea was, as a hatted reviewer, to find a non-hatted reviewer and run a 3-legged race to the finish line. Prizes were offered! Keeping in theme with the write-off since I was joined at the hip with TreeSeed, I looked for a movie with either tree or seed in the title.

All the really good ones [the trashy type I usually review … lol …] already had a posting. More points for something that is the first post, so I had to find something to compliment my partner. When she emailed me that she was doing Riders of the Purple Sage, I looked for a purple movie.

I must thank TreeSeed for leading me to this movie, and for taking the plunge with me. Gotta admit, she was probably a little afraid of what I would select – grin.


Recommended:
Yes

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