Friday, November 11, 2011

The Gallant Hours

I love watching war movies. Mostly movies from World War II. I wish there were more movies about the American Revolution and the Civil War, but there are not. From a cinematic perspective, it's good that World War II occurred when it did because film photography was finally advanced enough to get great footage of the actual war, and to recreate many of the battles that had occurred only months or years prior.

The Gallant Hours is a World War II movie about Admiral "Bull" Halsey. I think the most significant observation of this movie is that James Cagney looks remarkably similar to the actual person he portrayed in the movie. I wonder if the two men ever met. (I just looked it up and they did meet on the set of the movie!)

The movie starts off with Halsey getting ready to retire from the Navy, then goes into a reflection of his years as an Admiral in the Pacific Fleet. The film highlights a critical era in the War in the Pacific as the United States tries to stave off the Japanese in the Philippines.

Counter to the story of Admiral Halsey is the story of Japanese Admiral Yamamoto. What I found interesting is that the dialog in those scenes was in Japanese with no subtitles. The movie is narrated by Robert Montgomery (close friend of Cagney and father of Samantha from Bewitched, Elizabeth Montgomery). During the Japanese dialog, Montgomery only provides what I assume to be cursory narration.

The Gallant Hours, which was made in 1960, is just under 2 hours long. It was made in black and white. Also starring in the movie are Dennis Weaver (McCloud and Gunsmoke), Les Tremayne, Richard Burton, and Raymond Bailey, whom you may remember as Mr. Drysdale from the Beverly Hillbillies.

The Gallant Hours is a great World War II-era movie, though the film depicts no battle scenes. I read that the movie was very accurate except for a few minor details. Cagney and The Gallant Hours were good enough for me to give them the coveted 5 stars. This is a great movie to watch for Veteran's Day!

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