Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Bob Is Expended Once Again

Okay, most of you have already seen They Were Expendable (1945), probably even have a DVD of it.  I know, I know.  And you're not excited about it being shown again on TCM (this Thursday at 5:30 ET/2:30 PT).  Sorry, folks, please bear with me while I urge the remainder of you to give this movie a try, or a second viewing if you did not care for it the first time.

It is, after all, one of Mr. Montgomery's best movies.  True, it is not your typical Bob movie.  He never once wears civvies,  much less a tuxedo.  No double entendres, no ladies on his arm and never more than a slight smile for the entire movie.  This is one of the very few times he was given the chance at a serious role in an "A" movie.  And he does such an excellent job of it.

Now, the class of the man still shows through.  Take the scene where Sandy (Donna Reed), Rusty's (John Wayne) girl visits the camp and is feted by the officers.  They are served biscuits to go with the soup.  Bob (excuse me, Brick) takes his and with some effort breaks it into.  To save Sandy the same bother, he places the pieces of his biscuit on her plate and sets hers aside.  That wasn't scripted.  That was just class.  

If that's a bit on the minutiae side of appreciating a movie, take note of two scenes that help establish the basic theme of the movie, that most were expendable, being asked to "lay down the sacrifice to let others hit the home runs."  In the first scene, the war has just begun.  Brick goes to headquarters for orders, and is left to stand to the side and watch as others rush off with their assignments. 

Later, Brick is called to headquarters for new orders.  His hopes of action are trounced on when he is informed his unit will be little more than a messenger service.  The disappointment is overwhelming, the silent Brick is almost in tears.  Great scenes, fun to watch Mr. Montgomery in his understated performance.

There are just so many reasons to enjoy They Were Expendable.  It's a John Ford movie.  One of the best war movies ever made.  An excellent musical score.  John Wayne finds love in Bataan.  AND it has Robert Montgomery!!!

TCM, this Tuesday, 5:30 ET/2:30 PT.  Do hope you give it a try.


Debbie said...

Great post! I would assume that the folks that read this blog are Bob fans, but if not, this film should be watched for the most important reason listed. IT IS ONE OF THE BEST WAR FILMS EVER MADE!!!!!!!!! (And of course it is Bob at his best (along with "Night Must Fall", just sayin). So, if you haven't seen it, WATCH IT!!!!. If you have, WATCH IT AGAIN!!!

Kathy said...

Why, thank you. And I like the way you got right to the point, WATCH IT!!!!!