None But the Brave Reviews
Movie Rating 0-1/3
scenarist John Twist and "Attack Squadron!" scribe Katsuya Susaki based their script on Kikumaru Okuda's story. They filter this politically correct saga through the diary of the Japanese officer commanding the troops on the island. Initially, the Japanese and the Americans are at each other's throats until they call a truce. No sooner has the tension between the two armies dwindled than they play a game of deception to mislead each other about their respective strengths. Mind you, this was the only feature film that Sinatra made. Although Sinatra received top billing, Clint Walker and Tatsuya Mihashi are the leads commanding the soldiers. Sinatra casts himself as a liquor guzzling medic and Tommy Sands has the best role in terms of character arc. He is the only person in the action who changes his mind. He goes from being a die-hard, kill-all-Japs lieutenant in the Marine Corps to a soldier reluctant to kill his mortal foe because he likes them. Meanwhile, Walker and Mihashi have the most developed, flesh-and-blood characters, even though they don't change.
Lieutenant Kuroki (Tatsuya Mihashi) feels that the war has left his men and he behind as they soldier on a forgotten island in the Solomon Islands because they have lost contact with their own forces and nobody has come to relieve them. Lt. Kuroki writes about their tribulations in a diary to his wife. Kuroki's second-in-command, combat veteran Sgt. Tamura (Takeshi Katô) has little respect for him because Kuroki hasn't seen as much action as he has. Nevertheless, Kuroki maintains a firm grip on his command. He has ordered his men to construct a boat so they can leave the island. A storm destroyed their radio so they cannot contact outside help. One day a Japanese Zero fighter plane tangles with a Navy fighter escorting a C-47 transport plane. The Zero shoots down the C-47, but both planes knock each other out of the sky. Captain Dennis Bourke (Clint Walker of "Gold of the Seven Saints") manages to crash land the two-engine cargo plane on the beach. He is transporting a squad of Marines and a chief Pharmacist Mate, Francis (Frank Sinatra of "From Here to Eternity") when the plane crashes. Among the Marines is a hot-shot, gung-ho lieutenant, Lieutenant Blair (Tommy Sands of "Ensign Pulver"), who thinks that he is in command until Captain Bourke informs him that he is in command. Blair has about as much respect for Bourke as Sgt. Tamura has for Lt. Kuroki. The two armies square off against each other in a game of cat and mouse until Kuroki offers a truce to Bourke. Since the Americans are starving and Kuroki has a seriously wounded soldier, the Japanese commander approaches Bourke with an offer to share food if Bourke will let Francis tend to his soldier. Of course, Francis hasn't amputated a leg before he lays eyes on the Japanese soldier who will die from gangrene until Francis cuts off his leg. The two commanders cleverly try to deceive each other as to their strength. Eventually, they give up the pretense and share the island in harmony until Bourke's radio man, Air Crewman Keller (Tony Bill of "Come Blow Your Horn"), repairs the damaged transmitter and establishes contact with the U.S. Navy. Up until this time the two armies have lived in harmony, but when a Navy destroyer shows up, the soldier dispense with the truce and resume war as usual.
Oddly, Sinatra doesn't appear in every scene and his role is more of a supporting character than a lead. Virile Clint Walker is well-cast as the captain. The special effects look good except for a fake mountain in the Japanese back story scene. Nevertheless, this is a thoughtful and provocative drama that doesn't pull any punches. "None But the Brave" was lensed on location in Hawaii. Future "Star Wars" composer Johnny Williams provided the orchestral score.
Anti war? Too right. Shows just how stupid war really is.