Merrill's Marauders (1962)

98 mins | Drama | 13 June 1962

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HISTORY

The 30 Jun 1959 DV announced producer Milton Sperling’s plans for a cinematic version of The Marauders, author Charlton Ogburn, Jr.’s 1959 account of the 1944 Burmese campaign by the U.S. Army’s 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), nicknamed “Merrill’s Marauders.” The 30 Sep 1959 DV noted that screenwriter Charles Schnee consulted with former “Marauders” Colonel Charles Hunter and Lieutenant Colonel Logan E. Weston. The 25 Oct 1959 LAT reported that their comrade in arms, Lieutenant Colonel Samuel V. Wilson, would serve as technical advisor. Schnee completed his screenplay approximately three months later during a visit to Puerto Rico, as stated in the 12 Feb 1960 DV. According to the 21 Nov 1960 DV, Sperling assigned writer Elliott Arnold to “polish” the screenplay. Later that month, the 30 Nov 1960 DV reported that Sperling, director Samuel Fuller, and production supervisor William J. Magginetti were embarking on a two-week visit to the Philippine Islands to scout locations. Principal photography began 21 Feb 1961, as stated in 24 Feb 1961 DV production charts. The 5 Jun 1961 issue noted that the title had been changed to Merrill’s Marauders.
       The 19 Jun 1961 DV announced the funeral service that day for star Jeff Chandler, who died two days earlier following surgery for a “back ailment.” The suspected cause of death was blood poisoning. Sperling told the 30 Jun 1961 DV that he still had to shoot approximately one reel of film before the picture was complete, and had to find a stand-in for ... More Less

The 30 Jun 1959 DV announced producer Milton Sperling’s plans for a cinematic version of The Marauders, author Charlton Ogburn, Jr.’s 1959 account of the 1944 Burmese campaign by the U.S. Army’s 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), nicknamed “Merrill’s Marauders.” The 30 Sep 1959 DV noted that screenwriter Charles Schnee consulted with former “Marauders” Colonel Charles Hunter and Lieutenant Colonel Logan E. Weston. The 25 Oct 1959 LAT reported that their comrade in arms, Lieutenant Colonel Samuel V. Wilson, would serve as technical advisor. Schnee completed his screenplay approximately three months later during a visit to Puerto Rico, as stated in the 12 Feb 1960 DV. According to the 21 Nov 1960 DV, Sperling assigned writer Elliott Arnold to “polish” the screenplay. Later that month, the 30 Nov 1960 DV reported that Sperling, director Samuel Fuller, and production supervisor William J. Magginetti were embarking on a two-week visit to the Philippine Islands to scout locations. Principal photography began 21 Feb 1961, as stated in 24 Feb 1961 DV production charts. The 5 Jun 1961 issue noted that the title had been changed to Merrill’s Marauders.
       The 19 Jun 1961 DV announced the funeral service that day for star Jeff Chandler, who died two days earlier following surgery for a “back ailment.” The suspected cause of death was blood poisoning. Sperling told the 30 Jun 1961 DV that he still had to shoot approximately one reel of film before the picture was complete, and had to find a stand-in for Chandler. Four weeks later, the 26 Jul 1961 DV noted that editing was underway.
       Merrill’s Marauders opened 13 Jun 1962 in New York City, and 1 Aug 1962 in Los Angeles, CA, to generally positive reviews. In the 27 May 1962 LAT, critic Philip K. Scheuer lamented that Chandler’s last picture was also his best. The 18 Jul 1962 DV noted that, despite such critical acclaim, first-run theaters in Minneapolis, MN, refused to rent the film, relegating it to second-run venues. The 7 Aug 1962 DV expected receipts totaling $100,000 from the picture’s opening week in Los Angeles.
       Casting announcements included Edd Byrnes (13 Oct 1959 DV), Ricardo Montalban (27 Oct 1960 DV), and Paul F. Edwards (13 Mar 1961 DV).
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
30 Jun 1959
p. 1, 4.
Daily Variety
30 Sep 1959
p. 4.
Daily Variety
13 Oct 1959
p. 2.
Daily Variety
12 Feb 1960
p. 8.
Daily Variety
27 Oct 1960
p. 2.
Daily Variety
21 Nov 1960
p. 3.
Daily Variety
30 Nov 1960
p. 2.
Daily Variety
21 Feb 1961
p. 10.
Daily Variety
24 Feb 1961
p. 6.
Daily Variety
13 Mar 1961
p. 2.
Daily Variety
5 Jun 1961
p. 11.
Daily Variety
12 Jul 1961
p. 3.
Daily Variety
19 Jun 1961
p. 1, 8.
Daily Variety
30 Jun 1961
p. 2.
Daily Variety
26 Jul 1961
p. 11.
Daily Variety
8 May 1962
p. 3.
Daily Variety
18 Jul 1962
p. 1.
Daily Variety
7 Aug 1962
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
25 Oct 1959
Section E, p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
27 May 1962
Section A, p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
27 Jul 1962
Section C, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
3 Aug 1962
Section C, p. 8.
New York Times
13 Jun 1962
p. 47.
New York Times
14 Jun 1962
p. 25.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Marauders
Release Date:
13 June 1962
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 13 June 1962
Los Angeles opening: 1 August 1962
Production Date:
began 21 February 1961
Copyright Claimant:
United States Productions
Copyright Date:
7 July 1962
Copyright Number:
LP24662
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
98
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1944, Brig. Gen. Frank Merrill's 5307th Composite Unit, known as Merrill's Marauders, is deep behind Japanese lines in the dense Burma jungle. Even though the 3,000 men suffer from exhaustion, illness, and starvation, they are ordered to capture a gun emplacement, an enemy arsenal, and a railway yard. Merrill realizes that his men cannot be an effective fighting force without rest, but he also knows that they must make the 500-mile trek to Myitkyina to prevent Japanese and German armies from merging in India. Following an enemy raid, however, the Marauders are virtually walking dead men, physically and mentally incapable of launching a new attack, and Merrill himself collapses from a heart seizure. He arises from the stretcher, however, and urges the men to keep moving. They watch in silence as he staggers among them and falls unconscious, until Lieut. Lee Stockton, inspired by Merrill's indomitable spirit, rallies the men for one last campaign and drives them forward. When Merrill regains consciousness, fresh troops and supplies are landing on the Myitkyina airfield, which has been liberated by the ... +


In 1944, Brig. Gen. Frank Merrill's 5307th Composite Unit, known as Merrill's Marauders, is deep behind Japanese lines in the dense Burma jungle. Even though the 3,000 men suffer from exhaustion, illness, and starvation, they are ordered to capture a gun emplacement, an enemy arsenal, and a railway yard. Merrill realizes that his men cannot be an effective fighting force without rest, but he also knows that they must make the 500-mile trek to Myitkyina to prevent Japanese and German armies from merging in India. Following an enemy raid, however, the Marauders are virtually walking dead men, physically and mentally incapable of launching a new attack, and Merrill himself collapses from a heart seizure. He arises from the stretcher, however, and urges the men to keep moving. They watch in silence as he staggers among them and falls unconscious, until Lieut. Lee Stockton, inspired by Merrill's indomitable spirit, rallies the men for one last campaign and drives them forward. When Merrill regains consciousness, fresh troops and supplies are landing on the Myitkyina airfield, which has been liberated by the Marauders. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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