Baby Blue Marine (1976)

PG | 90 mins | Drama | 28 April 1976

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HISTORY

On 12 Feb 1975, an HR news item announced that Stanford Whitmore’s screenplay, Baby Blue Marine, had been purchased by Spelling-Goldberg Productions. An article in the summer 1976 edition of Liberty stated that Whitmore derived the story from personal experience, as a seventeen-year-old Marine enlistee in San Diego, CA. While being processed at a Marine base, he saw a bus of Marines dressed in baby blue uniforms, who had been rejected from basic training. Whitmore told Liberty that the young men’s sadness at being “emasculated” had haunted him for years to come.
       A 5 May 1975 HR brief reported that principal photography was scheduled to begin that day, with CA locations including Los Angeles, Oceanside, and Mt. Shasta. Liberty stated that the small town of McCloud, CA, near Mt. Shasta, was used to depict the film’s locale of Bidwell, and that Jan Michael-Vincent performed “his own water stunts” at the McCloud River. On 25 Jun 1975, DV announced that filming had been completed.
       As noted in the 10 May 1976 New York review, the film took place in 1943, but it portrayed a 1939 picture, Dark Victory (see entry), on screen at the town’s movie ... More Less

On 12 Feb 1975, an HR news item announced that Stanford Whitmore’s screenplay, Baby Blue Marine, had been purchased by Spelling-Goldberg Productions. An article in the summer 1976 edition of Liberty stated that Whitmore derived the story from personal experience, as a seventeen-year-old Marine enlistee in San Diego, CA. While being processed at a Marine base, he saw a bus of Marines dressed in baby blue uniforms, who had been rejected from basic training. Whitmore told Liberty that the young men’s sadness at being “emasculated” had haunted him for years to come.
       A 5 May 1975 HR brief reported that principal photography was scheduled to begin that day, with CA locations including Los Angeles, Oceanside, and Mt. Shasta. Liberty stated that the small town of McCloud, CA, near Mt. Shasta, was used to depict the film’s locale of Bidwell, and that Jan Michael-Vincent performed “his own water stunts” at the McCloud River. On 25 Jun 1975, DV announced that filming had been completed.
       As noted in the 10 May 1976 New York review, the film took place in 1943, but it portrayed a 1939 picture, Dark Victory (see entry), on screen at the town’s movie theater.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
12 Feb 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 May 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jun 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Apr 1976
p. 6.
Los Angeles Times
27 Apr 1976
p. 1.
New York
10 May 1976.
---
New York Times
6 May 1976
p. 45.
Variety
28 Apr 1976
p. 28.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Camera by
ART DIRECTORS
Norman Rockwell illustrations courtesy of
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Conts mgr
COSTUMES
Glynnis O'Connor's Wardrobe
Ward supv
Ladies cost
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus ed
SOUND
Dubbing mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title des
MAKEUP
Hair stylist
Jan-Michael Vincent's hair des by
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec Prod mgr
A.F.I. intern
Scr supv
Prod coord
Post prod supv
COLOR PERSONNEL
DETAILS
Release Date:
28 April 1976
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 28 April 1976
Production Date:
5 May 1975 to June 1975
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Copyright Date:
28 April 1976
Copyright Number:
LP46209
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

During World War II, Marion Hedgepeth is fails Marine basic training. His desire to be a Marine creates anxiety that prevents him from learning basic drills. Marion explains to another recruit, Pop Mosley, that his father was a Marine and his whole town is rooting for him. Pops confesses that he is pretending to be a bed wetter so he can avoid going to war. Weeks later, Marion still has not learned to march or fire a weapon. One day, Pop and Marion play an impromptu game of catch with a canteen. Marion goes out for a long pass and collides with a colonel. The next day, he and the other misfits are discharged and forced to wear demeaning “baby blue” uniforms to return home. Before they separate, Pops assures Marion that when the war is over, it will not matter who was a hero, it only matters who is still alive. At the bus terminal, Marion endures jeers from passing soldiers. He enters a bar where he meets, Andy, a twenty-year-old Marine Raider with white hair and a chest full of medals. Twice wounded, Andy is disgruntled at being sent back to combat after only thirty days of medical leave. After getting Marion intoxicated, Andy takes the boy into an alley, knocks him out, and steals his uniform and bus ticket. When Marion regains consciousness, he is naked. When he dons Andy’s uniform, he is treated like a hero, and he hitchhikes east. Along the way, Sheriff Wenzel gives Marion a ride into the small town of Bidwell, and they ... +


During World War II, Marion Hedgepeth is fails Marine basic training. His desire to be a Marine creates anxiety that prevents him from learning basic drills. Marion explains to another recruit, Pop Mosley, that his father was a Marine and his whole town is rooting for him. Pops confesses that he is pretending to be a bed wetter so he can avoid going to war. Weeks later, Marion still has not learned to march or fire a weapon. One day, Pop and Marion play an impromptu game of catch with a canteen. Marion goes out for a long pass and collides with a colonel. The next day, he and the other misfits are discharged and forced to wear demeaning “baby blue” uniforms to return home. Before they separate, Pops assures Marion that when the war is over, it will not matter who was a hero, it only matters who is still alive. At the bus terminal, Marion endures jeers from passing soldiers. He enters a bar where he meets, Andy, a twenty-year-old Marine Raider with white hair and a chest full of medals. Twice wounded, Andy is disgruntled at being sent back to combat after only thirty days of medical leave. After getting Marion intoxicated, Andy takes the boy into an alley, knocks him out, and steals his uniform and bus ticket. When Marion regains consciousness, he is naked. When he dons Andy’s uniform, he is treated like a hero, and he hitchhikes east. Along the way, Sheriff Wenzel gives Marion a ride into the small town of Bidwell, and they pass a Japanese internment camp. In Bidwell, Marion meets Rose Hudkins, a young waitress in a diner. When local Virgil Elmore buys Marion’s breakfast, Rose confides that Vigil’s son was killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor. A small young man in an Army uniform, Pvt. Danny Phelps, interrupts and Rose explains that Danny just finished basic training. She claims that Danny is going into the Army’s typing school, but Danny insists he is going drive tanks. After Danny leaves, Marion asks if there is a hotel in town and Rose invites him to stay her family. As Marion waits for Rose’s shift to end, he walks through the woods and comes upon the internment camp as the American flag is lowered for the night. Marion is shocked to see Japanese prisoners standing at attention with their hands over their hearts. Later, at Rose’s home, Marion is welcomed into the family. After dinner, Marion plays board games with Rose’s little brother, Barney, and joins Tom and Helen Hudkins, Rose’s parents, in a family sing-a-long. That night, Marion rooms with Barney, who asks about combat. Marion mimics the answers Andy gave him when they met at the bar. The next day, Marion accompanies the family to a high school football game, where he is introduced to Mrs. Townsley, the mother of a Marine deployed in the Pacific. When she asks if he knows her son, Marion comforts her by claiming that he met her son in chow line and he is doing fine. Relieved, Mrs. Townsley hugs Marion as Rose and her family watch. That night, Tom and Helen discuss their suspicions about Marion and note that he seems too innocent for a man who has seen combat. However, they are relieved he is treating their daughter like a lady. The next morning after church, Marion tells Rose that loves her, but confesses the truth about his involuntary discharge and admits his fear about going home to face his father as a failure. Rose promises to keep his secret and they embrace in a field of wildflowers. That night, Tom and Marion learn that three Japanese boys escaped the internment camp and go to the diner, where Capt. Bittman, an army officer, asks for help capturing the runaways. Although Bittman claims the Japanese boys are armed, Tom, fears someone might kill the boys in the heat of the moment, and suggests that they do not load their guns. Bob, the town barber, wants to kill the Japanese boys, claiming they cannot be trusted after Pearl Harbor, but Virgil insists the boys are Americans. As they leave, Danny orders Marion to leave one boy alive for him to kill. The men pair up and Marion finds himself with Virgil, who asks what Danny said. When Marion tells him, Virgil leaves him to find Danny. Later, Marion finds the three Japanese boys, unarmed and on the opposite side of a roaring river. Marion convinces them to surrender and as they navigate the wet stones, Marion extends his rifle to help them across. Danny arrives, and mistakenly believes the boy is pointing a rifle at Marion. As Danny shoots, Marion is accidently wound and topples into the rapids, where he is dragged down river. The Japanese boys leap in the water to save Marion as the townsfolk rush down the banks. Although Marion slams into the rocks and is stuck under water, the boys drag him ashore with the townsfolk’s help. As, Marion is transferred into a car, Rose arrives and he makes her promise to tell everyone that he is not a Marine. After the war, a Greyhound bus passes the deserted internment camp and pulls into Bidwell. Virgil smiles as he sees Marion, dressed in an Army uniform, descend from the bus and run into Rose’s arms. +

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.