Hell to Eternity Reviews
I know, a Memorial Day full of war movies. Maybe I've seen far too many of them in my life.
It was kind of refreshing to see this movie starring child actor, Richard Eyer, as young Guy Gabaldon, an orphaned child who gets adopted by a Japanese American family and later, as grown up Jeffrey Hunter, becomes a Marine who can speak Japanese.
It covers a lot of the hazards of Nisei families during the second world war; being sent to concentration camps while many young Japanese American men joined the Army and fought in Europe.
Since Guy can speak Japanese and is aware of Japanese culture he's perfect to talk the Japanese soldiers and civilians to surrender safely, and is nicknamed the pied piper of Saipan.
Veteran silent actor Sessue Hayakawa plays the Japanese General Matsui who is trying to talk his men into doing a suicide Banzai charge.
This film struggles to find it's identity. It seems as though it can't decide whether it wants to be a socio-political drama or an action-packed war picture. The two concepts never effectively merge. They just seem stacked, one on top of the other. The result is a film that sometimes flows, sometimes flounders.