Thursday, September 04, 2008

Back to Bataan

Viidakon partisaanit / Djungelpartisaner / Urskovens partisaner. US 1945. PC: RKO. EX: Robert Fellows. D: Edward Dmytryk. SC: Ben Barzman, Richard H. Landau - from a story by Aeneas MacKenzie, William Gordon. DP: Nicholas Musuraca. M: Roy Webb. Starring John Wayne (Col. Joseph Madden), Anthony Quinn (Capt. Andrés Bonifácio), Beulah Bondi (Bertha Barnes), Fely Franquelli (Dolici Dalgado), Lawrence Tierney (Lt. Cmdr. Waite). 95 min. A DFI print with danske tekster viewed at Bio Carl, Filmens Hus, Copenhagen, 4 September 2008. - The story of the Philippines during WWII told as Hollywood entertainment. Japan conquers the Philippines from the US and grants them fake independence. The US manage to win even former anti-US Filipino freedom fighters to their side (the Bonifácio story). - An interesting feature is that the influential Filipino female speaker on the Japanese radio, Dolici Dalgado, is actually a counter-spy for the US. - John Wayne is very good in his role of the guerrilla leader. - It starts with desperate losses, and guerrilla warfare is punished with excessive retribution by the Japanese. - Wayne portrays convincingly the control needed in heated moments, when he is provoked, and especially when the arguments against him are valid: the terrible moral choice of carrying out guerrilla strikes while innocent civilians get sacrificed. Wayne can project leadership based on innate authority and dignity. - Beulah Bondi is also very good as the schoolteacher turned guerrilla. - There are fine action scenes, as the one where Andrés Bonifácio (Anthony Quinn) is rescued from the prisoners' terrible death march by ruse. - Maybe the finest sequence is the confession in the Catholic church, where Bonifacio disguised as a priest meets Dolici and first then realizes that she is on their side and not the Japanese propagandist everyone thinks she is. Also Fely Franquelli gives a fine performance.

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