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Guadalcanal Diary (1943) 
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Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:53 am
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Location: Woodstock, IL
During World War II, there were a number of Hollywood movies made about what was going on the front lines. The basic purpose of these films was to boost public morale. Many of these flicks had no lasting value after the end of the war and have since been consigned to the vaults of obscurity. However, there were a few of these movies that proved to have lasting value. One such quality contemporary production from the war years is the motion picture at hand, 1943's Guadalcanal Diary.

Unlike most Second World War era morale boosting flicks, Guadalcanal Diary was based on a book of the same name by a war correspondent named Richard Tregaskis. Tregaskis was an eyewitness to the events depicted in both book and movie. This gave Guadalcanal Diary a much firmer grip on the reality of what was really happening on the front lines than most other war morale boosting flicks.

The focus of Guadalcanal Diary is on the operations of the 1st Marine Division during the 1st half of the Guadalcanal Campaign. This phase stretched from the capture of the island from the Japanese in August, 1942 to the relief of the Marines by the troops of the U.S. Army's XIV Corps in 1943. As you can expect, the movie portrays the Marines as being the exemplar of the American fighting spirit.

Guadalcanal Diary uses an ensemble cast to tell the story of a Marine platoon. The focus of this movie, unlike the vast majority of the morale boosting flicks of WWII, is not on the fighting and battles, but on the soldiers themselves. This movie portrays the war's violence realistically without being graphic. Like most of the other wartime war movies, it was shot in beautiful black and white. Unlike what passes for war movies nowadays, this flick is not a roller coaster ride of slick action sequences coupled with pulsating music and massive vulgarity. This movie depicted the fear felt by the troops and the fact that death can come to even the bravest soldiers. The battle cinematography by Charles Clarke is visually exciting. The language used by the soldiers in this movie is reflective of how actual soldiers spoke including such notions that would strike many ivory tower types today as being politically incorrect such as referring to Japanese
soldiers as "monkeys" and "monkeymen."

One notable aspect of Guadalcanal Diary is the narration of Reed Hadley who would later be known as Captain John Braddock of the 1950-1953 TV series Racket Squad. Hadley's narration makes the film's atmosphere gel quite well. The script of Hadley's narration is quite formal and as such contrasts with the everyday language of the soldiers dialogue.

Guadalcanal Diary is an excellent motion picture from the World War II era. It proved a hit at the box office and provided a major boost to many of the actors who appeared in it including Richard Jaeckel (who made his debut in this movie), Lloyd Nolan & Anthony Quinn.

Guadalcanal Diary is well worth your time.

Thu Feb 02, 2017 3:29 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2001 2:48 am
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Location: Brighton, MI
Guadalcanal Diary was also a very good band back in the 80s....But I cannot make another post so soon after my last.

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Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:52 pm
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