Wake Island (1942)
Front Cover Actor
Brian Donlevy Maj. Geoffrey Caton
Robert Preston Pvt. Joe Doyle
Macdonald Carey Lt. Bruce Cameron
Albert Dekker Shad McClosky
Barbara Britton Sally Cameron
William Bendix Pvt. Aloysius K. 'Smacksie' Randall
Mikhail Rasumny Ivan Probenzky
Walter Abel Cmdr. Roberts
Damian O'Flynn Capt. Bill Patrick
Bill Goodwin Sgt. Higbee
Rod Cameron Capt. Pete Lewis
Movie Details
Genre War; Drama
Director John Farrow
Producer Joseph Sistrom
Writer W.R. Burnett; Frank Butler
Studio Paramount; Universal Studios
Language English
Audience Rating Unrated
Running Time 1 hr 27 mins
Country USA
Color Color
Wake Island, a sandbar rising 21 feet out of the South Pacific, was among the first U.S. outposts to be hit by the Japanese, virtually simultaneously with Pearl Harbor. Wake Island the movie was among Hollywood's earliest responses to America's being attacked and drawn into WWII. The Marine Corps defenders of Wake became instant war heroes, akin to the martyrs of the Alamo. Nothing could be done to rescue or even to reinforce and resupply them, and they fought on through air attacks and naval bombardment for two weeks until, finally overrun, they were wiped out.

That searing historical context had a lot to do with the movie's impact in 1942, and the sight of the dark forms of enemy planes coming over the horizon for the first time still carries a shock. Wake Island's a decent film, and it doesn't dishonor its subject with sham heroics and grandstanding. But the New York Film Critics voted John Farrow best director of 1942, and that's a reach. The first half hour sets up the allegory of America as melting pot (there's even a corporal named Goebbels), establishes horseplay as the coin of democratic discourse (especially for gyrenes Robert Preston and the Oscar-nominated William Bendix), and fosters familiar friction between new commander Brian Donlevy and civilian construction supervisor Albert Dekker. Then shortly after a beaming Japanese peace envoy has stopped by for dinner, things get rough. The scenes of warfare are more than adequate, but they'd soon be outdone, sometimes in films much less worthy than Wake Island. --Richard T. Jameson

Personal Details
My Rating
Seen It No
Index 1362
Collection Status In Collection
Purchase Date 6/23/04
Store Copy
Owner NF
Links IMDB
Amazon US
Folder 011
Product Details
Format DVD
Region Region 1
Screen Ratio 1.33:1
UPC 025192501821
Release Date 5/25/04
Nr of Disks/Tapes 1