Retrospective 2014

They Were Expendable

John Ford
USA 1945
131min
V'14

John Ford's poetic adaptation of William White's book about a PT boat squadron in the South Pacific during World War II may be the best feature film on the war and is considered by some scholars as Ford's greatest work. Lt. John Brickley is assigned to take his Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron to Manila Bay to defend against a possible Japanese attack in the Philippines. Once there, he finds that the general, amused by the idea that the small crafts can be of use in combat, relegates the PT boat to messenger duty. Angered by that reaction, Brickley and his crew must wait for the war to begin to show what they can do. When it does, they shoot down three Japanese planes during an attack on their base, but when the base is closed Brick's squadron is reassigned to Bataan, where they once again are ordered to run messages, and Brickley's fiery executive officer, Lt. Rusty Ryan, fed up with such meaningless duties, asks to be transferred to a destroyer. Ford's elegiac film pays tribute to all who wore a uniform during the war, whatever their role was.

Credits
  • John Wayne - Henry, genannt «Ringo Kid»
  • Ward Bond
  • Robert Montgomery
  • Donna Reed
  • Jack Holt
  • Marshall Thompson
  • Paul Langton
  • Leon Ames
  • Arthur Walsh
  • Donald Curtis
  • Cameron Mitchell
  • Jeff York
  • Frank Wead
  • Douglas Shearer
  • Joseph H. August
  • Douglass Biggs
  • Frank E. Hull
  • Herbert Stothart
  • Cedric Gibbons
  • Malcolm Brown
  • Yvonne Wood
  • «They Were Expendable» von William L. White
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
35 mm
bw
Related Movies