Guadalcanal Diary (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Lewis Seiler|
|Produced by||Bryan Foy|
|Screenplay by||Lamar Trotti
|Based on||the book
by Richard Tregaskis
|Music by||David Buttolph|
|Cinematography||Charles G. Clarke|
|Edited by||Fred Allen|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
Guadalcanal Diary is a 1943 World War II war film directed by Lewis Seiler, featuring Preston Foster, Lloyd Nolan, William Bendix, Richard Conte, Anthony Quinn and the film debut of Richard Jaeckel. It was directed by Lewis Seiler and based on the book of the same name by Richard Tregaskis.
The film recounts the fight of the United States Marines in the Battle of Guadalcanal, which occurred only a year before the movie's release. While the film has notable battle scenes, its primary focus is on the characters and back stories of the Marines.
On July 26, 1942 the American Marine invasion task force is sailing towards Guadalcanal. The Marines land on Guadalcanal with no initial opposition. They find an abandoned village and capture an airfield, which the Americans work to complete. Based on a tip from a Japanese deserter, the Marines leave by boat for the village of Matanikau, where there are supposedly a large number of Japanese troops who want to surrender. On the way one boat is destroyed by a Japanese sub before it is sunk by onshore Marine artillery. The Marines walk into a trap and they are all killed except for Private Soose Alvarez who makes it back to the American lines. The Marines then march on Matanikau in force and on the way, Private “Chicken’ Anderson is wounded by a Japanese soldier who only pretended to be dead. The Marines enjoy mail call, but suffer through Japanese air force bombing raids. Army troops land to support the Marines. They launch a campaign to root Japanese troops out of a series of caves. They try to listen to the results of the game two of the 1942 World Series, but static unfortunately prevents them from hearing the final score. The Marines are both shelled by the Japanese navy and bombed by their air force. A force of Marine fighter planes land on the island. All the marines write letters home. They launch an attack on the Japanese, during which Pvt. Alvarez is killed. The marines are relieved and evacuated from the island.
- Preston Foster as Father Donnelly
- Lloyd Nolan as Gunnery Sgt. Hook Malone
- William Bendix as Corporal Aloysius T. "Taxi" Potts
- Richard Conte as Captain Don Davis
- Anthony Quinn as Private Jesus "Soose" Alvarez
- Richard Jaeckel as Private Johnny "Chicken" Anderson
- Roy Roberts as Captain James Cross
- Minor Watson as Colonel Wallace E. Grayson
- Ralph Byrd as Ned Rowman
- Lionel Stander as Sergeant Butch
- Reed Hadley as War correspondent / Narrator
- John Archer as Lieutenant Thurmond
- Production Dates: 14 May-late July 1943
- The majority of the film was shot on location at Camp Pendleton, near Oceanside, California. Many of the Marines stationed there were filmed while on maneuvers and a substantial number appeared in the picture in small speaking parts or as extras.
- The picture marked the screen debuts of stage actor Robert Rose and Richard Jaeckel, who was a studio messenger boy when he was cast in the production.
- On February 28, 1944, Foster, Bendix, Nolan and Jaeckel reprised their roles for the Lux Radio Theatre presentation of Guadalcanal Diary.
- Guadalcanal Diary at the American Film Institute Catalog
- Guadalcanal Diary at the Internet Movie Database
- Guadalcanal Diary at AllMovie
- Guadalcanal Diary at the TCM Movie Database
- Guadalcanal Diary trailer on YouTube