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Raoul Walsh, 1945
USA | 35mm | 142 minutes
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In the sixth of their seven collaborations, Errol Flynn stars for director Raoul Walsh as the captain of a platoon of Army paratroopers who land behind enemy lines in Burma with the mission of destroying a Japanese radar station. The mission is a success, but when the soldiers attempt to leave, they find the Japanese waiting for them and must devise an alternate exit strategy in the heat of the moment. Loosely based on the real-life activities of the Army special ops unit under the command of Brigadier General Frank Merrill (also the inspiration for Sam Fuller’s Merrill’s Marauders) and released in the immediate aftermath of WWII, this superior war film finds Walsh at the peak of his lean, economical direction, featuring Flynn in one of his finest performances, magnificent black-and-white cinematography by the legendary James Wong Howe and an Oscar-nominated Franz Waxman score.
“The prodigious raw vital energy of Raoul Walsh and his sense of telluric forces were the next steps in the concrete synthesis of our approach, building what I felt and knew was at once and together esthetics and ethics.”—Pierre Rissient
Images courtesy of WARNER BROS/FIRST NATIONAL / THE KOBAL COLLECTION