Battle Cry (1955)

Battle Cry (1955)

“What do we owe this lousy war? What do we owe the Marines?”

During World War II, a Marine Sergeant (James Whitmore) reflects back on his experiences with other new recruits in radio school, including an all-American athlete (Tab Hunter) who has a girlfriend (Mona Freeman) back home but engages in an affair with a lonely wife (Dorothy Malone) on base; a womanizing lumberjack (Aldo Ray) who falls for a kind widow (Nancy Olson); and a bookish young man (John Lupton) who befriends a beautiful woman (Anne Francis) during his regular outings on the Coronado Ferry. Will the men be given a chance by their Major (Van Heflin) to experience combat duty?

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Aldo Ray Films
  • Anne Francis Films
  • Dorothy Malone Films
  • Fess Parker Films
  • James Whitmore Films
  • Nancy Olson Films
  • Raoul Walsh Films
  • Raymond Massey Films
  • Tab Hunter Films
  • Van Heflin Films
  • World War II

This hugely popular wartime melodrama — directed by Raoul Walsh — was based on a novel by Leon Uris, who also wrote the screenplay. While it’s easy to see the film’s appeal for audiences at the time (who were just ten years out from their experiences actually living through the war), the storyline is little more than a soaper featuring various romantic entanglements and character arcs:

We see some of Heflin’s leadership challenges:

… and evidence of how well the men perform in battle when given a chance, but none of this can compare in intensity or thematic scope to other, better films on the same topics. Watch for Raymond Massey as a higher-up:

… and too-brief glimpses of Navajo “code talkers” (Jonas Applegarth and Felix Noriego) in action:

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • The intriguing snippets of Navajo “code talking” at work
  • Impressively filmed crowd scenes

Must See?
No, though it’s worth a one-time look for its all-star cast.


One thought on “Battle Cry (1955)

  1. Agreed; not must-see.

    So-so war drama which, yes, does emphasize ‘the love stuff’ (until the battle sequence within the last 20 minutes). The narration peppered throughout gets to be a bit much.

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