In 1818 Alabama, French settlers are pitted against greedy land-grabber Blake Randolph but Kentucky militiaman John Breen, who's smitten with French gal Fleurette De Marchand, comes to the settlers' aid.
Duke falls for Flaxen in the Barbary Coast in turn-of-the-century San Francisco. He loses money to crooked gambler Tito, goes home and PL: learns to gamble, and returns. After he makes a ... See full summary »
Col. Mike Kirby picks two teams of crack Green Berets for a mission in South Vietnam. First off is to build and control a camp that is trying to be taken by the enemy the second mission is to kidnap a North Vietnamese General.
Construction workers in World War II in the Pacific are needed to build military sites, but the work is dangerous and they doubt the ability of the Navy to protect them. After a series of attacks by the Japanese, something new is tried, Construction Battalions (CBs=Seabees). The new CBs have to both build and be ready to fight.Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The film's opening credits dedication states: "Proudly and gratefully we dedicate this picture to the Civil Engineer Corps and the Construction Battalions - the Seabees of the United States Navy who have fired the imagination of the world with their colorful exploits throughout the Seven Seas." See more »
Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »
"We Build So That Others Can Fight"..........."We Fight For What We Build"
Before writing this review I took a quick look at Wikipedia and the article they have on the Seabees. Despite the fanciful story that Borden Chase wrote here about how the service was founded, the Seabees were actually an idea already thought of by Admiral Ben Morreell the Chief of Navy Supply even before Pearl Harbor.
Unlike the war in Europe where the Allies would be looking to take an hold cities with facilities already there, like air fields for example, those planning the war in the Pacific knew that they would be starting from scratch. Airfields, fuel depots, etc. would have to be constructed on jungle islands in the Pacific. So the idea of a separate service for the construction trade was born.
Now that we know that the plot of The Fighting Seabees is so much hogwash, let me say that what the film does do very well is show the hazards of what the men in that service faced. Trying to build facilities at the same time as the enemy is firing on them. The scenario in this film is repeated many times over on the islands of the Pacific.
As to the story of this film, John Wayne reverses roles here. In most of his war films he's usually the professional military man, here he's the tough, but inpatient civilian who never seems to learn the value of military discipline. Of course being this is the Duke, he does redeem himself in the end in a spectacular manner.
A love triangle is tossed in here, rather unnecessarily in my opinion, a straightforward account of Seabee heroism would have been sufficient. Wayne and Navy Commander Dennis O'Keefe are both interested in war correspondent Susan Hayward. This was Hayward's second film with John Wayne, who along with Clark Gable, and Dean Martin, she once described as her three favorite leading men. Her big scene is when she's wounded and thinks she's cashing in, she declares her love for the Duke. Susan Hayward has always been a favorite of mine, but it's on the strength of her performances in her starring roles in the Fifties, not as the sex object in The Fighting Seabees.
The Fighting Seabees isn't one of the Duke's top 10 or even top 20, but it's a decent enough film to sit through even with the World War II heroic bravado that was obligatory at the time this was made. You even get to see John Wayne attempt the jitterbug. During that scene, the Duke looks mighty uncomfortable. He was never going to compete with Fred Astaire for roles.
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