Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Date of Release: December 20, 1945
Running Time: 135 minutes
Director: John Ford
Screenplay: Frank Wead
                From the book by William L. White
Cinematography: Joseph H. August
Film Editing: Frank E. Hul and Douglass Biggs
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons and Malcolm Brown
Set Decoration: Edwin B. Willis
Costume Design: Yvonne Wood
Recording Director: Douglas Shearer
Producer: John Ford and Cliff Reid
Original Music: Herbert Stothart and Eric Zeisl
Assistant Director: Edward O'Fearna
Special Effects: A. Arnold Gillespie, Donald Jahraus and R.A. MacDonald
Sound Effects: Michael Steinore
Make-Up Artist: Jack Dawn
Awards and Nominations:
ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATION - Douglas Shearer, Best Sound Recording
ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATION - Best Special Effects
Note: Robert Montgomery took over the direction of this film at the request of
John Ford who had fractured his leg.
THEY WERE EXPENDABLE
CAST:
Robert Montgomery...
Lieutenant John Brickley
John Wayne...Lieutenant "Rusty" Ryan
Donna Reed...Second Lietenant Sandy Davyss
Jack Holt...General Martin
Ward Bond..."Boots" Mulcahey, "Irish"
Marshall Thompson...Ensign "Snake" Gardner
Paul Langton...Ensign "Andy" Andrews
Leon Ames...Major James Morton
Arthur Walsh...Seaman Jones
Donald Curtis...Lieutenant "Shorty" Long
Cameron Mitchell...Ensign George Cross
Jeff York...Ensign Tony Aiken
Murray Alper..."Slug" Mahan
Harry Tenbrook..."Squarehead" Larsen
Jack Pennick..."Doc", the storekeeper
Alex Havier...Benny Lecoco
Charles Trowbridge...Admiral Blackwell
Robert Barrat...General Douglas MacArthur
Bruce Kellogg...Elder Tomkins
Tim Murdock...Ensign Brown
Louis Jean Heydt..."Ohio", the flyer in hospital
Russell Simpson...Dad Knowland
Vernon Steele...Army Doctor
Philip Ahn...Army Orderly (uncredited)
Betty Blythe...Officer's Wife (uncredited)
John Carlyle...Lieutenant James (uncredited)
Pedro de Cordoba...Priest (uncredited)
William B. Davidson...Hotel Manager (uncredited)
Blake Edwards...Boat Crewman (uncredited)
Jim Farley...(uncredited)
Lee Tung Foo...Asian Bartender (uncredited)
Wallace Ford...(uncredited)
Michael Kirby...Boat Crewman (uncredited)
Stubby Kruger...Boat Crewman (uncredited)
Trina Lowe...Gardner's Girlfriend (uncredited)
Eve March...Nurse (uncredited)
Kermit Maynard...Airport Officer (uncredited)
Robert Emmett O'Connor...Silver Dollar Bartender (uncredited)
Max Ong...Mayor of Cebu
Sammy Stein...Boat Crewman (uncredited)
Pacita Tod-Tod...Nightclub Singer (uncredited)
Tom Tyler...Captain at airport (uncredited)
Billy Wilkerson...Sergeant Smith (uncredited)
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:
  It is in no wise depreciatory of Metro's "They Were Expendable" to say that if
this film had been released last year--or the year before--it would have been a
ringing smash. For then, while the war was still with us and the wave of victory
was yet to break, the national impluse toward avengement, for which it cries
out, would have been supremely stirred. Now, with the war concluded and the
burning thrist for vengeance somewhat cooled, it comes as a cinematic
postscript to the martial heat and passion of the last four years.
   But, for all that, it is a stirring picture of a small but vital aspect of the war
and, as now to be seen at the Capitol, it is a moving remembrance of things
past. For, in two hours and fifteen minutes, it captures upon the screen all of
the gallantry and daring of that handful of Navy men who threw their fast
PT-boat squadron against the Japanese int he first days of the war, picked off
the enemy shipping as it came down upon the Philippines and finally broke up
in scattered remnants down in the islands, still slugging to the end. It tells the
story substantially as related by William L. White in his book of the same title,
with the exception that the names of the character have been slightly changed.
   Quite clearly, the making of this picture was a labor of understanding and
love on the part of the men who produced it, from John Ford, the director, on
down. Most of those who worked on it were active or recent Navy personnel.
And the scenes of PT-boat action and all the "location" work was done with the
service's help. From the shots of sleek killers racing grimly through the water to
the scenes of personal life, complete authenticity and Navy "savvy" are notable
throughout.
   The most thrilling and electrifying passages in the film are those which show
the torpedo-boat action--the midgets closing boldy on their prey, slamming
their "fish" out of the raked tubes then wheeling around in their white wakes,
Mr. Ford and his watchful photographers have caught battle action at the full,
even to the dying appearance of spent cartridge cases on the decks.
   But the drama and essence of the story are most movingly refined in those
scenes which compose the pattern of bravery and pathos implicit in the tale.
Mr. Ford, and apparently his scriptwriter, Frank Wead, have a deep and true
regard for men who stick to their business for no other purpose than to do their
jobs. To hold on with dignity and courage, to improvise when resources fail and
to face the inevitable without flinching--those are the things which they have
shown us how men do. Mr. Ford has made another picture which, in spirit,
recalls his "Lost Patrol." It is nostalgic, warm with sentiment and full of fight in
every foot.
   It is hard to commend any actor above the rest. Each plays his part well.
Robert Montgomery and John Wayne, however, are the most frequently and
forcibly worked. Mr. Montgomery, who served in the Navy, makes a fine and
laconic officer, and Mr. Wayne is magnificently robust as his tenacious
executive. Donna Reed is extraordinarily touching in the role of an Army nurse
who figures into the story in a brief romance which is most tastfully and credibly
handled, by the way. And Ward Bond, Murray Alper and Harry Tenbrook are
worthy of particular mention among the rest.
   A bit of suspected sarcasm is notable in a sequence which recounts the
dispatch of "The General," as he is called, from Corregidor. But the manner is
not offensive. Indeed, it puts emphasis upon the boldness and bravery of all
our people who were in there, looking forward, from the start. --- Bosley
Crowther
THEY WERE EXPENDABLE PHOTO GALLERY
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