So Proudly We Hail!, 1943

Army nurses set out to Hawaii to provide medical support in December 1941, but the attack on Pearl Harbor leaves them no other choice but to help out in the Philippines. Their time in Bataan changes the nurses. They have to learn how to cope with constant Japanese bombardment and the daily loss of life around them. When their part of the jungle is overrun by Japanese, the nurses must flee to the island of Corregidor. Romance tempts many of the men and women who struggle together. Though they try to keep up with each other, communication isn’t always possible.

The movie starts with the realization that not everyone was able to leave the island. These army nurses found out they were the only female survivors from Corregidor. As the movie progresses, we find out why the strength of their leader, Lt. Janet ‘Davy’ Davidson, waned.

Claudette Colbert as Lt. Davidson showed compassion and strength to her nurses. Her romance with Lt. Summers, played by George Reeves, gave a picture of how difficult it was for nurses to keep their hearts protected. Damage from the realities of war was demonstrated on the face of Lt. D’Arcy, played by Veronica Lake. Paulette Goddard as Lt. O’Doul gave us the example of nurses who gave every effort to keeping up morale even if it meant wearing a nightgown as an evening gown for a party.

The film received four Oscar nominations: Best Actress in a Supporting Role/Paulette Goddard, Best Cinematography in a Black and White, Best Special Effects, and Best Writing of an original Screenplay.

This was the first time this important story was told on film. The war wasn’t even over so they couldn’t end the movie with the Japanese surrender. Instead, this film gave a window into the lives of humble army nurses who didn’t like being called heroines.

Glory Alley, 1952

In New Orleans, boxers have to face their fears like anybody else. When prizefighter Socks Barbarrosa, played by Ralph Meeker, runs out on his career, no one knows the real reason why. Having lost confidence in himself as a boxer, Barbarrosa joins military and fights in Korea, winning the Congressional Medal of Honor for blowing up a bridge. He expects that war medal to change his life, but when he gets home, the parades eventually stop, and he’s no longer a hero. His insecurity resurfaces, and he must face the challenge of making a living so he can marry his girlfriend.

Blindness is shown in different ways. The Judge, the blind father of Barbarrosa’s girlfriend, is played by Kurt Kasznar. He forbids his daughter Angela, played by Leslie Caron, to see Barbarrosa after he runs out of the boxing ring like a coward. Other forms of blindness are found in the story.

This movie features songs performed by Leslie Caron and Louis Armstrong. Armstrong played Shadow Johnson who trained Barbarrosa when he was still a prizefighter, but he was also the Judge’s trusted friend who helped him travel.

Those who know Jack Teagarden will find him in the movie playing himself. If you listen to the title tune, you’ll hear Louis Armstrong and The All Stars (featuring Jack Teagarden).

Battle Strategy

In order to defend themselves in a battle against the Amalekites, Moses kept his hands raised with aid from Aaron and Hur. How is this a good battle strategy? Did Gen. MacArthur ever do this?

I’m looking at the battle with the Amalekites on Seek God With Me. In order to win your battles, there are a few things to keep in mind. Check out this battle that was won by simple obedience to God and see how Moses figured out how to triumph against any enemy.

Father Goose, 1964

As WWII heats the Pacific waters, the Japanese are starting to clear people out of the islands. Walter Eckland, played by Cary Grant, is doing whatever he wants, wherever he wants. He hopes to be unaffected by the war, but when he finds an old friend who needs a favor, he is forced to help out.

Trevor Howard, as Commander Frank Houghton, Eckland’s long-time friend, seems adept at getting people to do what he wants. In order to avoid getting his boat confiscated by the military, Eckland agrees to report Japanese sightings. The men know each other well, and their concern for each other keeps them from being too harsh.

Feeling too crowded when he aids a proper woman in charge of several young girls, the last thing Eckland wants is to deal with is a group of females who were left behind on a nearby island. They borrow his clothing, share his food, and hide his whiskey. The woman, Leslie Caron as Catherine Freneau, wants to return the girls to their parents, but together they survive a couple of narrow escapes when the Japanese come too close.

None of the girls are unaffected by Walter’s charm. He’s an odd hero because he starts out a grumpy old man, but by the end of the movie, his girls had won a place in his heart.

Father Goose received a Best Original Screenplay Oscar. It was also nominated for Academy Awards for Best Film Editing and Best Sound.

Success in Battle

I was watching America’s Got Talent with my kids and noticed that the judges couldn’t agree on which performers should go forward to the next level of competition. Auditions took a lot of time as thousands of people hoped for the best. Only the most talented people would survive the cut. After sorting through the acts, the judges came up with a list of possible winners. The judges’ priorities helped them decide why one male singer would win over another.

This reminds me of the army that Gideon took with him into battle. There were thousands of applicants and only 300 slots to fill. God’s priorities helped him pick one warrior over another.

Today on Seek God With Me, I’m sharing my thoughts on the way Gideon won the battle. He started out with the understanding that he couldn’t win without God’s help. That’s something we all should remember.

For more on Gideon’s army, read my devotional blog post at Seek God With Me.

Battleground, 1949

Before Band of Brothers, there was Battleground. This movie tells the story of the US Army 101st Airborne Division during the Battle of the Bulge in WWII. Some of the original “Screaming Eagles” of the 101st Airborne Division were hired to play themselves and train the extras.

Instead of going to Paris for a little R&R, the Screaming Eagles wake up to the sound of new orders. They must move out and dig in around Bastogne. The war was mean and dirty, but those who survived dealt with the experience in their own way.

This story was very much like Band of Brothers in that it was the same story told through the same eye witnesses. But there were many differences. It had the grit and pain a war movie should have, and it had humorous moments as well. There was a young one trying to fit in with those who already had relationships. There was a guy who had to put aside orders to go home to be with family because they were surrounded and had no way of leaving.

Van Johnson is Holley, and John Hodiak is Jarvess, the soldier who spoke French and German. They and their company battle the weather and the Germans with the few supplies they have. Ricardo Montalban is Roderigues, a soldier from Los Angeles who sees snow up close for the first time. James Whitmore is Kinnie, the sergeant who keeps them all in line. James Whitmore actually served in the Marine Corps during WWII, but the actor who had more WWII medals than others who worked on this film was James Arness.

Battleground won the Oscar for Best Cinematography in a Black and White and Best Writing of Story and Screenplay. It was also nominated for other Oscars: Best Supporting Actor/Whitmore, Best Director, Best Editing, and Best Picture. James Whitmore also won a Golden Globe for his supporting role. Another Golden Globe was won for the wonderful writing in the screenplay.

An Unusual Battle

How much do you trust God?

We say we trust in God, but would we obey him if he told us to march around our enemy’s fortress?

On Seek God With Me, I’m taking a look at the battle at Jericho. The walls came down at the command of God, not because of explosives. I can’t imagine the surprise on the faces of the people of Jericho. They couldn’t have guessed their walls would fall so easily. But they trusted in their walls instead of the Lord.

Join me for a look at Joshua’s encounter with the city of Jericho and ask yourself where you place your trust.

The Fighting Seabees, 1944

With support from the Navy, Hollywood created a movie to tell the story of how the Seabees, or Construction Battalions, were created. It was good to see the men working together as a team rather than supporting the valiant efforts of one man.

John Wayne plays Wedge Donovan, the owner of a construction company who welcomes his crew home from a job working for the Navy during WWII and throws a party that honors the men who didn’t make it home.

Susan Hayward is Connie Chesley, a news reporter whose boyfriend, Lt. Commander Yarrow, has been trying to convince the Navy to change the way they’ve been sending construction crews overseas. With construction boss Donovan’s help, Yarrow may be able to train those men to work in the Navy instead of for the Navy.

The romance thread in this braid (the other two threads are the history of the Seabees and the story’s main plot of creating and defending a refueling station in the Pacific) is the tried and true “two men in love with the same woman”. I enjoyed the spunk of the Connie, but she and Donovan had obvious flaws. The one person who I felt deserved a happy ending was the one who showed patience and control throughout the movie, Lt. Commander Yarrow. Yarrow was played by Dennis O’Keefe a talented actor who not only began his career as an extra in over 200 movies, but also later hosted his own TV show.

It was also fun to see William Frawley in his role as Eddie Powers. Frawley later became famous as Fred Mertz on the I Love Lucy TV show.