6.8/10
1,647
21 user 16 critic

Wake Island (1942)

Approved | | Action, Drama, War | 11 August 1942 (USA)
December, 1941. With no hope of relief or re-supply, a small band of United States Marines tries to keep the Japanese Navy from capturing their island base.

Director:

John Farrow

Writers:

W.R. Burnett (screenplay), Frank Butler (screenplay)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Brian Donlevy ... Maj. Geoffrey Caton
Macdonald Carey ... Lt. Bruce Cameron
Robert Preston ... Pvt. Joe Doyle
William Bendix ... Pvt. Aloysius K. 'Smacksie' Randall
Albert Dekker ... Shad McClosky
Walter Abel ... Cmdr. Roberts
Mikhail Rasumny ... Ivan Probenzky
Rod Cameron ... Capt. Pete Lewis
Bill Goodwin ... Sgt. Higbee / Narrator
Damian O'Flynn ... Capt. Bill Patrick
Frank Albertson ... Johnny Rudd
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Storyline

In November 1941, Major Caton takes command of the small Marine garrison on Wake Island. His tendency toward spit and polish upsets the men's tropical lassitude, but Pearl Harbor changes everything. Soon the island is attacked and the Marines pull together day by day; but how long can they hold out? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Leathernecks . . writing another glorious chapter of purposeful courage in America's history! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Japanese

Release Date:

11 August 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Heldenlegioen See more »

Filming Locations:

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$826,061 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shot on location at the Salton Sea--which isn't actually a sea but a large inland body of water--in Southern California, ably standing in for an atoll in the Pacific Ocean. See more »

Goofs

Wake island defenders did not have a dog. See more »

Quotes

Pvt. Aloysius K. 'Smacksie' Randall: Any you guys who don't like this hat, you can come out here and try to knock it off.
[looks at Doyle]
Pvt. Aloysius K. 'Smacksie' Randall: ... that includes you.
Pvt. Joe Doyle: I think you're beautiful. Go on, on your way, civilian!
See more »


Soundtracks

Marine Hymn
(uncredited)
Music by Jacques Offenbach ("Gendarme's Duet") 1867
Heard under opening credirs
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Enemy on island; issue in doubt
12 June 2005 | by jay_hawk_clintSee all my reviews

I have actually been to Wake Island and was able to explore the history that took place there in December, 1941. A sign stating "Where America's Day Really Begins" greets you on the airstrip as you disembark, reflecting the fact that they are on the other side of the date line. Inside the terminal, a small museum containing relics of the war tells the story of the Marines and civilian contractors stationed there.

I began viewing the relics with no knowledge of what had occurred, and was originally only interested in them as an antique novelty. It was after I began reading the stories that accompanied the items, put together by survivor's, as I stood there on no more than a couple hundred yards of sand, that the magnitude of what they must have faced hit me. On each subsequent visit I would try to learn more about the battle, exploring the dunes and eventually reading a few books containing survivor's reports. With that said, the viewing of the film was a bit spoiled.

I have a difficult time seeing the film as little more than propaganda designed to feed an already salivating audience looking for revenge in post-Pearl Harbor America. The true story of Wake Island is not one of a Marine Battalion's last stand, it is one of a reeling Pacific Fleet following the Pearl Harbor attacks that called off a rescue effort. It is a story of civilian contractors that were forced into labor, then executed. It is a story of Marines that would spend years as POWs enduring treatment unimaginable to most people reading these comments. It is the story of the families that would wait with uncertainty about the fate of their loved ones.

Wake Island is a good war drama, but other than location and date it offers little in the way of historical accuracy. To treat it as realistic does an injustice to the brave Americans who fought there.


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