Gung Ho! (1943)

87-88 mins | Drama | 31 December 1943

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HISTORY

The opening title card reads: Gung Ho! The Story of Carlson's Makin Island Raiders. The film contains the following written foreword: "This is the factual record of the Second Marine Raider Battalion, from its inception seven weeks after Pearl Harbor, through its first brilliant victory." The attack on Makin Island by the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, under the leadership of Col. Evans Carlson, took place on 17 Aug 1942. This group of 210 Marines, later known as "Carlson's Raiders," killed 348 of the 350 Japanese soldiers stationed on the island, while suffering only thirty casualties. These raiders further distinguished themselves in various battles during World War II, particularly those at Guadalcanal. HR news items state that portions of Gung Ho! were shot on location at Camp Elliott, CA; Camp Pendleton, near Oceanside, CA; and at a Marine base near San Diego, CA. According to HR news items, actress Grace McDonald was voted "Sweetheart of Carlson's Marine Raiders" six months prior to her being cast in this film. Actor James Gleason was originally cast in the film, but was forced to relinquish his role due to scheduling conflicts with another film, M-G-M's A Guy Named Joe (See Entry). According to Var, international film financier Jacques Grinieft purchased a fifty-percent interest in Gung Ho! in 1952, along with three other Universal films produced by Walter Wanger. ...

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The opening title card reads: Gung Ho! The Story of Carlson's Makin Island Raiders. The film contains the following written foreword: "This is the factual record of the Second Marine Raider Battalion, from its inception seven weeks after Pearl Harbor, through its first brilliant victory." The attack on Makin Island by the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, under the leadership of Col. Evans Carlson, took place on 17 Aug 1942. This group of 210 Marines, later known as "Carlson's Raiders," killed 348 of the 350 Japanese soldiers stationed on the island, while suffering only thirty casualties. These raiders further distinguished themselves in various battles during World War II, particularly those at Guadalcanal. HR news items state that portions of Gung Ho! were shot on location at Camp Elliott, CA; Camp Pendleton, near Oceanside, CA; and at a Marine base near San Diego, CA. According to HR news items, actress Grace McDonald was voted "Sweetheart of Carlson's Marine Raiders" six months prior to her being cast in this film. Actor James Gleason was originally cast in the film, but was forced to relinquish his role due to scheduling conflicts with another film, M-G-M's A Guy Named Joe (See Entry). According to Var, international film financier Jacques Grinieft purchased a fifty-percent interest in Gung Ho! in 1952, along with three other Universal films produced by Walter Wanger.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
25 Dec 1943
---
Daily Variety
17 Dec 1943
p. 3, 11
Film Daily
20 Dec 1943
p. 6
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jul 1943
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 1943
p. 12
Hollywood Reporter
9 Aug 1943
p. 2
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 1943
p. 8
Hollywood Reporter
13 Aug 1943
p. 15
Hollywood Reporter
24 Aug 1943
p. 5
Hollywood Reporter
17 Dec 1943
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jan 1944
p. 4
Independent Film Journal
8 Jan 1944
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
25 Dec 1943
p. 1686
New York Times
26 Jan 1944
p. 23
Variety
22 Dec 1943
p. 12
Variety
14 May 1952
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
2d unit dir
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
Addl dial
Story
Based on the factual story "Gung Ho" by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
John B. Goodman
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Saul Goodkind
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
R. A. Gausman
Set dec
Set dec
MUSIC
SOUND
Dir of sd
[Sd] tech
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Gung Ho! The Story of Carlson's Makin Island Raiders
Release Date:
31 December 1943
Production Date:
9 Aug--late Oct 1943
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
31 December 1943
LP12423
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
87-88
Length(in feet):
7,878
Country:
United States
PCA No:
9775
SYNOPSIS

At Marine Headquarters in San Diego, a request is made for volunteers for a special battalion, one that will be trained for an overseas mission against the Japanese and calls for action "above and beyond the line of duty." The 15,000 prospective "raiders" include Southerner Rube Tedrow, minister John Harbison, troubled youth Frankie Montana, boxer "Pig-Iron" Matthews, and half-brothers Kurt Richter and Larry O'Ryan, who are rivals for the same girl. Meanwhile, the battalion's leader, Colonel Thorwald, tells his old friend, Leo "Transport" Andreof, that he had previously quit the Marines to join the Chinese army in their war against the Japanese. With the United States' entry into World War II, Thorwald returned to the Marines and plans to train his men in the same methods as those used by the Chinese. Upon his first meeting with the volunteers, Thorwald informs them that the battalion's motto will be the Chinese saying, "gung ho," which means to work in harmony, as teamwork will be required for their mission to be successful. The recruits are soon pared down to 900, and are put through vigorous physical training and taught various forms of self-defense, including judo. With their basic training completed, the remaining 600 Marines in the 2nd Raider Battalion ship out to Pearl Harbor in the South Pacific. Later, 210 of the men are sent on an eight-day submarine voyage to the Japanese-held South Sea island of Makin. As the submarines near the island, Thorwald tells his men that, though they will be severely outnumbered by the enemy, through careful planning, teamwork and surprise, they will be victorious. Their first contact with the Japanese happens ...

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At Marine Headquarters in San Diego, a request is made for volunteers for a special battalion, one that will be trained for an overseas mission against the Japanese and calls for action "above and beyond the line of duty." The 15,000 prospective "raiders" include Southerner Rube Tedrow, minister John Harbison, troubled youth Frankie Montana, boxer "Pig-Iron" Matthews, and half-brothers Kurt Richter and Larry O'Ryan, who are rivals for the same girl. Meanwhile, the battalion's leader, Colonel Thorwald, tells his old friend, Leo "Transport" Andreof, that he had previously quit the Marines to join the Chinese army in their war against the Japanese. With the United States' entry into World War II, Thorwald returned to the Marines and plans to train his men in the same methods as those used by the Chinese. Upon his first meeting with the volunteers, Thorwald informs them that the battalion's motto will be the Chinese saying, "gung ho," which means to work in harmony, as teamwork will be required for their mission to be successful. The recruits are soon pared down to 900, and are put through vigorous physical training and taught various forms of self-defense, including judo. With their basic training completed, the remaining 600 Marines in the 2nd Raider Battalion ship out to Pearl Harbor in the South Pacific. Later, 210 of the men are sent on an eight-day submarine voyage to the Japanese-held South Sea island of Makin. As the submarines near the island, Thorwald tells his men that, though they will be severely outnumbered by the enemy, through careful planning, teamwork and surprise, they will be victorious. Their first contact with the Japanese happens after one of the submerging submarines is forced to resurface when the sleeping Rube is left topside just as three Japanese fighters appear on the horizon. They survive that encounter and soon arrive at Makin Island. The raiders land on the island at sunrise, and are quickly under fire from the Japanese. After Transport and Private Kozzarowksi are killed knocking out the Japanese radio transmitter, Thorwald has his men pull back and lure the Japanese soldiers to the hospital building. A squadron of Japanese planes then arrives at the hospital area, and, seeing the American flags the Marines have painted on the roofs of the buildings, attack and the majority of the Japanese soldiers are killed by their own aircraft. With the enemy defeated and the Japanese oil depot destroyed, Thorwald orders his men back to the submarines as Japanese ships approach. As the submarines head back to Pearl Harbor, Thorwald reminds his men of their thirty fellow Marines who died on the raid, including John and Larry, and how they have helped to pave the hard road to victory with their achievement at Makin Island.

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.