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A good movie very much of its time - But which copy to buy?
J. Bryce | Toronto, Canada | 07/23/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with Hawthorne, FL ... he's right on the money. The 4-star rating is for the movie not for the DVD quality.My problem with the reviews of this film is that Amazon has listed all the reviews underneath all the copies of this film. I have to assume it has fallen into public domain because there are many releases under various cheapo labels. I'd like to see the reviews appear against the specific versions/copies of the film so we can get a better idea of which ones have the better prints. We know from other public domain titles that some of these are going to be OK and others will be a chore to watch. The reviewer from Hingham, MA says his print is so dark as to be almost unusable. I wonder which one he was talking about? It's a shame that these fast buck artists are muddying the water by putting out DVDs that are in worse shape than most VHS tape versions.How about it Amazon? Is there some way you can let us know which ones to go with if we want to see the best prints? I'm not buying this one because there's a chance it's money wasted. If you can point me towards a decent print I'll gladly give you my business."
.........GUNG-HO WAS A HIT MOVIE IN 1943.....
Christopher E. Sarno | Boston, Massachusetts United States | 04/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"And I will tell you why...it showed the first offensive ground action taken against the Japanese Army...offensive action...the film/goers, both young and older rushed to see this Marine movie...you have to remember America wasn't even aware of year 1991 to the present...IT WAS 1943 and America was galvanized like an iron fist to crush the hated Japanese forces a far, far cry from how American's view of the war in Iraq...the USA was totally UNITED to eradicate Fascism off the face of the earth...WW2 movies were also utilized to educate us, slowly but surely, about two new words being bantered in the press and newsreels..United Nations...that is clearly seen in the final fadeout in a face to face lecture Randolph Scott declares to the nation...to the contraditions of other reviews in here, it most certainly was a clarion call...and that stirring fadeout scene was NOT a silly speech; rather, Scott's eloquent preamble of what this new United Nations unity is all about was very compelling, every word was important, every word ...yes, a new social order to prevent world wars in the future...it had a great and uplifting impact on everyone who left the showing...there was no television, no CNN, or cable media world-wide newscasts with hidden agendas, no phoney political correctness...just radio and the WW2 movies...kudos to Universal Studios and Producer: Walter Wanger in releasing, "GUNG HO"...Hollywood had much to do to keep morale up all throughout the loooong war, overseas and on the homefront...everyone pitched in to win WW2, in direct contrast to the fragmentation of our country today, which is wrought by the politically correct, ego/politicians and dilletantes which we have in today's America...this is a wonderful and fast paced movie in 1943 built around the US Marine Raiders [3 Marine Raider Bns]....it's an icon movie of the WW2 era and a heroic/tribute to those who SAVED the American way......Semper Fi, Mac.....SSGT CHRIS SARNO-USMC"
The Raiders were trained to operate as a guerrilla outfit
Christopher E. Sarno | 05/10/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'll agree with some of the reviews about the movie being a little cornball.Col. Carlson was sent to China by our government as an observer. He was not a Communist as implied. The Chinese term "Gung Ho" is still used by people in our military today. Remember, China and Russia were allies of ours in World War II. My high school coach was an observer with the Russian Army and he was no Communist.President Roosevelt's son James was executive officer of Carlson's Raiders and a good Marine. The Raiders were no more blood thirsty than any other Marine with a rifle in combat in WWII.I would have liked to seen more of the training the Raiders went through."
An inspiring but less than accurate look at Carlson's Raider
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 06/14/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I love a good war movie, but there's something extra special about a war movie filmed while the fight is ongoing - especially when it recounts the story of a major victory that has been largely forgotten by history. America's initial offensive thrust into Japanese-occupied territory took place at Makin Island (Butaritari atoll), and Gung Ho! is the story of that mission as carried out by the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion (Carlson's Raiders). The strategic importance of the mission is now a matter of some debate, but at the time it was seen as an important diversion intended to disrupt Japanese communications and draw some of their forces away from more important targets (particularly Guadalcanal and Tulagi). There was no attempt to actually occupy the island - this was a quick, decisive raid designed to take out every Japanese installation (especially the radio tower) and kill every Japanese soldier on the island - get in quick, get out quick, and leave nothing but destruction behind you.
The Makin Island operation provided an important boost to morale back home, and this film obviously was made to further bolster domestic support for the war. As a propaganda film (and I must say I hate calling any film that passionately espouses the causes of liberty and freedom propaganda), it's a real winner: we lost some boys on that island, but the mission was a complete success, and the patriotic speech at the very end puts a great big morale-boosting bow on the whole package. As history, the film doesn't hold much water. Not to take away from the bravery of Carlson's Raiders (which included FDR's son), but the whole mission was basically a mess. Just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong - but you won't hear any of this in the film: more elaborate plans had to be altered due to choppy seas and heavy rains (one boat never got the new orders); the landing was chaotic to say the least; overestimating the size of the Japanese forces on the island, Carlson chose to withdraw that evening but could not get his men back to the subs due to the inclement weather, which in turn led him to actually surrender during the night - until, that is, he finally learned that his men had all but wiped out Japanese resistance already; and nine men were unknowingly left behind (and eventually beheaded by the Japanese). Some of his men later questioned his leadership abilities.
Obviously, the true story of Carlson's Raiders would not make for a good movie, especially during war-time. As a morale booster and as entertainment, however, Gung Ho! is highly successful. It follows the volunteer recruits who made the cut all the way from their rigorous, unorthodox training to their overseas journey tucked inside two submarines (this was the only landing via submarine during the entire war) - pausing to take in the remains of the attack on Pearl Harbor on the way - to their landing and fierce combat on Makin Island. The acting is quite good from top to bottom and includes such well-known actors as Randolph Scott, Noah Beery, Jr., and a young Robert Mitchum (who is one fellow I would certainly want in my army). I was a little disappointed in the actual combat scenes, though - after hearing about all of this unconventional training for the mission (Carlson taught his men how to fight dirty, knowing full well that the Japanese would fight dirty at every turn), the actual fighting turned out to be fairly conventional for the most part (but the hand-to-hand combat does portray the viciousness of the fighting pretty effectively).
Gung Ho! is a notable wartime film from 1943, but it turns out that the true story of Carlson's Raiders and Carlson himself is much more interesting than Hollywood's version of the August 1942 raid on Makin Island. Carlson is a fascinating man, having fought in several foreign armies (including a stint with the Chinese Communist Army) before America entered World War II. His Gung Ho! battle cry reflected his training philosophy of ethical indoctrination; to him, every soldier was equal and was to be treated as an equal, for only then could the necessary sense of community make his men the most effective fighting force possible. He was quite a maverick in the military, in both tactics (drawing heavily upon Mao-ist guerilla warfare) and political philosophy (insofar as he leaned noticeably toward Communism)."
Gung Ho, Then and Now.
Child of the "40's | Cedar Falls, Iowa | 11/15/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I saw Gung Ho, the movie about the raid on Makin Island when I was small child; I do not remember whether it was in the early '40's or when it was reissued in the '50's. My reaction at that time was very positive and I was ready to join the Marines and fight the dreaded enemy. I saw it again in the '80's or '90's on TV. My reaction at the more recent viewing was that it was pretty hokey and cornball. It is a movie that was made in a very brief amount of time and for a very specific reason. It was propaganda, pure and simple, and designed to get the American public to support the war effort and contribute to U. S. Bond drives. It was also intended to demonstrate that the U. S. was prepared to take the war to the enemy. It really was not very different from other movies made during the early '40's, i.e., "Back to Bataan", and "60 Seconds Over Tokyo", to name only a couple. "Gung Ho", is an interesting story and is worth viewing as a depiction of an actual historic event. The acting is OK, given the script the actors had to work with. It is also interesting to watch actors who were later to make a mark in the world of cinema later.Gung Ho"