Objective, Burma! 720p Torrent
A platoon of special ops are tasked to parachute into the remote Burmese jungle and destroy a strategic Japanese radar station, but getting out isn't as easy. In 1944, Capt. Charlie Nelson leads a platoon of paratroopers into Burma to blow up a Japanese radar station in advance of the allied invasion. They're accompanied on the mission by Mark William, an American journalist who is there to write about their exploits. The mission goes off without a hitch and without the loss of any men. The plan was for them to be picked up by two transport airplanes at an old landing strip but a Japanese patrol prevents them from doing so. The men are now forced to march towards the front lines, however the closer they get, the greater the number of Japanese troops they will face. With the Air Corps dropping them supplies at agreed locations, the men move on but few of them remain after encounters with the enemy. Eventually, they are all presumed lost just as the invasion is launched. A good example of a Warner Brothers war drama, it's full of clichés appropriate to the times. The Japanese are "moral idiots," "savages," and "monkeys" (three times). Men shout and wave at a search plane two or three miles away (three times). The men are the usual congeries of ethnicity -- "Gabby" Gordon hollers "Mazeltov" at the departing Sweeney. (Hold on a moment. I'll have to think that one over. I'll also have to figure out how Lt. Sidney Jacobs acquired a Catholic dog tag.) Franz Waxman's music is just catchy enough, without being in the least distinguished. The jungle looks like a dressed-up Santa Anita with eucalyptus trees instead of ebony. The dialogue tends to run along lines like -- "Here we are in the muck and mire." "Hi, Muck!" "Hi, Mire!" Just at the end, when the remaining handful of paratroopers are in despair, the cavalry comes riding to the rescue.<br/><br/>I guess that gets the time-trapped stuff out of the way. This is far from an insulting cartoon of a movie. At its best, it captures the kind of utter physical exhaustion that Norman Mailer caught in his novel, "The Naked and the Dead." It's essentially a "journey" movie. Flynn, who is not bad, and his men are parachuted into Burma to destroy a radar station. Mission accomplished without casualties, they find their pick-up airfield swarming with enemy soldiers and must slog their way out through swamps and over mountains, the trip punctuated by bloody encounters with the Japanese.<br/><br/>Not that the battles are literally bloody. I don't think a drop of blood is spilled in the entire movie despite multiple opportunities. "Saving Private Ryan" is one way to tell a horrifying story -- very explicitly -- but the suggestion that is used in this film is equally effective, as hard as that may be to believe. Maybe the most jarring and moving moment in the film is when Flynn's group finds their friends tortured and killed by the Japanese. Flynn's friend, Jacobs, is barely alive. We see only his legs as Flynn kneels over him and identifies himself. The viewer can only imagine what Jacob's face -- and his eyes -- must look like as he whispers, "Nelson? Is that you, Nelson? Will you do me a favor, Nelson? Kill me?" The movie is a long one but it really needs to be long or we wouldn't so readily feel the agony and the desperation of these dying men. It's long enough for us to get to know the men as more than just anonymous soldiers too.<br/><br/>And the dialogue has its redeeming moments. When the middle-aged journalist is found dead near his foxhole, a supporting player, James Brown, stands over the body and says sincerely but not overdramatically, "Gee, I'm sorry, Mister Williams. Awfully sorry." And when Flynn leads his pitiful group of survivors finally into the base, his commanding officer shakes his hand, gives him a light, and tells him, "You don't know how important it was for you to take that radar station." Flynn says simply, "Here's what it cost," and hands him a fistful of identity tags.<br/><br/>It's an example not of art but of Hollywood craftsmanship. Engaging, and nicely done. A WWII film made during the war years with a runtime of almost 2 1/2 hours could be quite a drag if it wasn't unusually good. Fortunately, this one was! Several things elevate it above some of the more run-of-the-mill war films of its era.<br/><br/>First, the story is somewhat unique. The setting in which it takes place (Burma) is unusual in film. Beyond that, however, the plot is not so much about accomplishing the military objective (although the film does not minimize the importance of it) as it is about getting home from the mission. This plot line naturally focuses less on the "rah, rah, rah" permeating most war films of the period and more on the duties, hardships and sacrifices of the soldiers engaged in the battle on foreign soil. This view was refreshing and engaging.<br/><br/>Secondly, the film evokes an aura of realism seldom found in 40's war films. This is not due to graphic violence, but rather (at least in part) to attention to detail in film-making, a lack of melodramatic scripting and avoiding indoor sets. The movie takes the time to show many things (such as the soldiers carefully burying parachutes & supply boxes) that add to the feeling of "being there" as opposed to simply telling a story for dramatic effect. The script does not go overboard, but allows the characters to act and react in a realistic way for soldiers placed in the situation presented. The dress and equipment used for the film also makes you feel like this is soldier's gear, not something pulled from a Hollywood dressing room.<br/><br/>Third, the movie is remarkably lacking the stereotypes found in so many wartime movies. The film is unmistakably patriotic, yes (as were the soldiers and the nation in that generation), but not so much so as to be unrealistic flag-waving, feel-good, propaganda. Yes, the Japanese are the undisputed bad guys and the Americans are the undisputed good guys... however, the reality of the Japanese torture of American prisoners during the war compared to the much more merciful and humane American treatment is a vignette of a larger picture which should undoubtedly justify and vindicate such a position. I worried when the "reporter" character entered the picture, because of the expected stereotyping and melodramatic influences, but I was pleasantly surprised. His character did not become unrealistic nor was it inserted merely for flag-waving purposes.<br/><br/>All-in-all a very enjoyable war film with excellent performances and interesting events. Very much recommended!
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