corman25thmass | Methuen, Ma. United States | 03/23/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have the movie in VHS, part of (I like to feel) a good collection of war films, in both VHS & DVD, from - "All Quiet on the Western Front '1930'" to "Saving Private Ryan '1998', some '140' war films. I can certainly use the 2 former as a benchmark for comparison & rating. If "Saving Private Ryan", the finest war film I have ever seen, with the most graphically realistic & brutal battle scenes, ever shown on film, has, without a doubt become the benchmark by which all later war films would be judged, then "Merrill's Marauders" is a '60's classic, with, in my opinion, some of the finest acting ever portrayed in a war film! Jeff Chandler, as an earlier review stated, gives one of his finest performances, (He truly is a gifted actor!)This movie portrays, as was intended the American involvement in the Burma Theater of Operations against the Japanese, a 3000 strong unit, put together of mostly seasoned troops, volunteers, for 1 mission against the enemy. From Jeff Chandlers gritty performance, such as when he tells his men - quote -"Everybody back into the swamp" instead of waiting for desperately needed food & ammo supplies, to avoid enemy troops searching for them, to a very poignant scene by actor Claude Akins. All the soldiers are completely exhausted from continuous battles with the enemy, and literally starving, from lack of food supplies that had run out, He's approached by an old Burmese woman & young boy, in a village they have just occupied after a brutal battle, the pair attempt to feed him the
only food they have, a bowl of rice. Overwhelmed by it all, he not only breaks down in tears, but in a gesture reminiscent of the generation, and considering the horrific battle he's just been through, removes his cap in a show of gentlemanly respect
to the old woman. To me the most touching & realistic scene I have ever seen him portray. As far as accuracy, I give the movie
"High Marks", there is a scene in the reservoir night battle scene when the Japanese are attempting to infiltrate the American lines, a Japanese soldier who tries to bayonet Claude Akins is stopped by him and flipped over the stone wall and killed. If you look closely at the Japanese soldiers footwear, as he is flipped over the wall(you may have to do it in slo-mo)you'll notice he is wearing the standard split-toe style shoe worn by Japanese troops during the war. The film makers, working for this type of accuracy, though it may well have not been noticed by the general public, only speaks for the realism that they worked to achieve. I agree with another review, in that the Japanese were, in many instances easy kills in the battle action, but I consider this a small slight against what I deem an excellent movie filled with gritty realism, good battle action, and an excellent look at the common American soldier in action and the constant fear, hunger & deprivation he faced, exemplified by the courage & tenacity with which he persevered and eventually triumphed over the enemy!
Sure it's meant to rous the American public of the "60's" with the unbeatable fighting spirit of the Ameircan G.I., and that's exactly what it does, and does well! To all who read this, I am fairly new to the internet, and just learning my way around, but at age 48, I've seen most every war film shown, and I feel I am a fair judge. I give this film and the director & cast a solid "4 STARS ****!!!
gobirds2 | New England | 08/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a rugged and gritty WWII film set in the CBI Theater directed by Samuel Fuller. The action concerns Jeff Chandler, in his last screen portrayal, as Brig. Gen. Frank Merrill. Merrill leads a band of battle fatigued GIs (Ty Hardin, Peter Brown, Claude Akins, Will Hutchins and others) against the Japanese in the Burmese jungle. It is beautifully photographed in color and CinemaScope by William Clothier. Fuller co-wrote the script with Milton Sperling. This film has been highly underrated. It is a good depiction of the stress, determination and humanity experienced by the average GI in everyday face-to-face confrontation with the enemy. Jeff Chandler gives an accurate performance of the real Merrill. Jeff Chandler truly was a gifted actor and deserves more recognition for his talents as this film demonstrates. The VHS copy is in Full-Frame, but it retains the images in vivid color and is very enjoyable. It was released theatrically in 1962."
Reasonably good WWII action from Fuller
gobirds2 | 05/20/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Not in the top rank of war pictures, Merrill's Marauders is still a great way for fans of the genre to spend a couple of hours. I would rank one particular scene, the fighting in the oil refinery among the concrete bases for the huge tanks, as one of the best and beautifully choreographed action sequences I have ever seen. I thought that Jeff Chandler's performance was excellent and that the rest of the cast was quite up to the task. Weak points in the film include the rather stock military band music used throughout and a sudden ending with some "modern" footage pasted on that makes one wonder if Fuller didn't just run out of money."
Another great war movie from Sam Fuller
T O'Brien | Chicago, Il United States | 06/28/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Merrill's Marauders is an excellent WWII movie dealing with a topic often ignored in war movies covering the Pacific Theater. In 1944, the 5307th Composite Unit, Merrill's Marauders, 3,000 seasoned jungle fighters, march into Burma with the objective of the supply depot at Walawbum and the airfield at Myitkyina. The Marauders must march across hundreds of miles of dense jungle, pushing themselves to their mental and physical limits, battling Japanese troops all the way. Like most Fuller movies, Marauders has plenty of great action scenes as the 5307th trudges across Burma. Along with the excellent battle scenes, Fuller includes several very powerful and moving scenes, specifically when the Marauders are resting in a Burmese village and are approached by the villagers. At a compact 99 minutes, Merrill's Marauders is a quick-paced, action-packed, exciting war movie from Samuel Fuller.
Jeff Chandler gives one of his best performances as Brigadier General Frank Merrill, the commander of the 5307th who must push his men to their absolute limit, physically and mentally. Unfortunately, Chandler died before the film was released in theaters. Ty Hardin matches Chandler with his performance as Lt. Lee Stockton, Merrill's long-time friend and leader of the 5307th's scout platoon. Andrew Duggan plays Captain Kolodny, the doctor accompanying the unit. Stockton's platoon includes Peter Brown as Bullseye, the platoon's sharpshooter, Claude Akins as Kolowicz, the tough sergeant, Will Hutchins as Chowhound, Charles Briggs as Muley, the mule-packer, and Pancho Magalona as Taggy, the Filipino scout. Unfortunately, there is no DVD release of Merrill's Marauders, although this is one film that definitely deserves a release. The VHS copy is of decent quality in pan-n-scan. The VHS copies are getting harder to find, so if you locate one, pick it up. Overall, Merrill's Marauders is an exciting, moving look at the invasion of Burma that has been unfairly looked over since its release. Well worth it if you can find a copy."