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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Cry Of Battle (1963)

The day after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese attack the Philippines. The son (James MacArthur) of a wealthy American who has business interests in the Philippines finds himself stranded in the outlying mountains. He is befriended by another American (Van Heflin), a dangerous loud mouth braggart who is taken with him and together, they take refuge with a band of guerrilla fighters. But a girl (Rita Moreno) will come between them.  This low budget programmer is a minor footnote in American history though not for its cinematic qualities. This was the film playing at the movie theater where JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was hiding and arrested. The film itself looks good (cinematography by Felipe Sacdalan), its B&W images giving a nice rendering of the Philippine locations. But it's difficult to find any sympathy for MacArthur's inexplicable loyalty to Heflin's character. The man is a racist raping murderer, so what if he saved his life? Had Heflin been raping white women and killing Americans instead of Filipinos, would MacArthur's character have been so forgiving? The film hints at but never explores Heflin's homosexual feelings toward MacArthur though it's clear Moreno's character is aware of it. Directed by Irving Lerner.

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