[September 14, 2018] On occasion, I like to watch old war movies. I watch them for the action and to get a small glimpse into what made them so popular back in the day they were made. Movies are made to make money but they are also a look into the minds of those who lived at that time and what influenced popular culture.
A couple of years ago I wrote about the Top 20 War Movies. At the time, I got a lot of recommendations for this list. The most common that readers wanted to be added was Gung-Ho!: The Story of Carlson’s Makin Island Raiders (1943) starring Robert Mitchum, Randolph Scott, and many other famous actors. I was intrigued by Bosley Crowther who wrote in the New York Times movie review section that “Gung Ho! Is for folks with strong stomachs and taste for the submachine gun.”
Old war movies never fade. At least the good ones don’t anyway. They can provide us with valuable lessons that are reinforced if the director has the right actors, a good budget, and an ample supply of military experts. Director Ray Enright had the right ingredients for a great movie and it worked.
The movie about Carlson’s Raiders was featured right here several years ago at theLeaderMaker.com (see link). This 1942 early-war raid on Japanese held island of Makin was a tactical failure; the objective of gathering intelligence bore little fruit. But it was a boost to troop spirits and the people back home got a temporary lift in morale.
If you get a chance to watch the movie, please do so. It can be seen in its full-length on YouTube (at this link, 1:26 minutes). Occasionally you can find it on television. These old black and white war movies had a special effect in making me who I was as a kid. Wilson, my childhood friend, used to say we would one day grow up to be U.S. Marines. Wilson was too smart, he went into business. I went into the Army.