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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Beachhead (1954)

Set in 1943 WWII on a Japanese held Pacific island, four marines (Tony Curtis, Frank Lovejoy, Skip Homier, Alan Wells) embark on a mission to verify a report about a secret Japanese minefield which came from a French planter (Eduard Franz). But after verifying the report, there is still the arduous and dangerous trek through the jungle for the survivors to rendezvous with U.S. forces if they are to be rescued. Directed by Stuart Heisler (THE GLASS KEY), this is a standard WWII actioner whose chief attraction is the lush island of Kauai which stands in for Bougainville Island, nicely shot by Gordon Avil (THE CHAMP). Drawbacks include the ingenue played by Mary Murphy (THE WILD ONE). Not that she's bad but as "the girl", she provides the usual romantic conflict as Curtis and Lovejoy fight over her and, of course, while fleeing the Japanese she sprains her ankle thus slowing them down. For a moment, the film seems like it might surprise us and have the girl end up with the older Lovejoy but it follows the usual path. There is a disturbing sequence involving a Japanese prisoner of war (Akira Fukunaga) that raises questions that are never addressed. With John Doucette.

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