“He’s over 38 — he don’t need to be here!”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
… and for casting 150 paid, real-life infantrymen who were about to be shipped back out to the Pacific:
Wellman’s sure directorial hand — assisted by DP Russell Metty — is in evidence throughout, and thankfully we don’t seem to be given a sugar-coated version of the unit’s harsh existence. There is a cute dog that hops on board near the beginning of the film:
… but he primarily serves to remind us how many simple pleasures and comforts these boys have left behind. Some sections feel slow and deliberate — but that’s likely precisely the point, given that plenty of interminable wait time was always intermingled with fear, high-octane fighting, and loss of compatriots. Be sure to check out TCM’s article for a detailed overview of the film’s production and reception, and this page for additional info as well as numerous photos of Ernie Pyle himself on the set of the film — including several of him standing side-by-side with Meredith.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments: