Hell to Eternity
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|Hell to Eternity|
Original film poster
|Directed by||Phil Karlson|
|Produced by||Irving H. Levin|
|Written by||Gil Doud (story)
Walter Roeber Schmidt
|Music by||Leith Stevens|
|Editing by||Roy V. Livingston
|Distributed by||Allied Artists|
|Release date(s)||September 30, 1960|
|Running time||131 min.|
|Box office||$2,800,000 (US/ Canada)|
Hell to Eternity is a 1960 World War II film starring Jeffrey Hunter, David Janssen, Vic Damone and directed by Phil Karlson. This film biopic is about the true experiences of Marine hero Pfc. Guy Gabaldon (played by Hunter), a Los Angeles Hispanic boy raised in the 1930s by a Japanese American foster family, and his heroic actions during the Battle of Saipan.
In Depression-era Los Angeles, Guy Gabaldon gets into a fight at school when another boy snitches about his breaking into a grocery store. After Japanese-American Kaz Uni (the father of Guy's friend George) finds out Guy's mother is in the hospital and his father is dead, he invites Guy to stay with his family. As Kaz's parents speak little English, Guy begins to learn Japanese. Then, when Guy's mother dies, the Unis adopt him. He becomes especially close to Kaz's mother.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor and the US entry into World War II, Gabaldon's foster family is sent to an Internment Camp at Camp Manzanar. Gabaldon is drafted, but fails his physical exam due to a perforated eardrum. When Gabaldon goes to visit the Unis, he learns that George has allowed to join the army and is fighting in Italy. After making sure that "mama-san" does not object, he manages to enlist in the Marines on the strength of his language skills.
Gabaldon does not make a good first impression on Sergeant Bill Hazen at Camp Pendleton, but wins him over. When they are shipped to Hawaii to join the 2nd Marine Division, he gets himself, Hazen and Corporal Pete Lewis bottles of whiskey and dates with two Japanese-American women and standoffish reporter Sheila Lincoln. Sheila is disgusted by the behavior of the rowdy Marines, but eventually warms up to Gabaldon after a few drinks.
Going ashore on Saipan, he freezes at first when he comes under fire for the first time, but regains his composure. During the bloody campaign for the island, Gabaldon convinces the Japanese general to order approximately 1000 Japanese soldiers and 500 family members to surrender to the U.S.
- Jeffrey Hunter as Guy Gabaldon
- David Janssen as Sergeant Bill Hazen
- Vic Damone as Corporal Pete Lewis
- Patricia Owens as Sheila Lincoln
- Richard Eyer as Guy, as a boy
- John Larch as Captain Schwabe
- Bill Williams as Leonard
- Michi Kobi as Sono
- George Shibata as Kaz Une
- Reiko Sato as Famika
- Richard Gardner as Polaski
- Bob Okazaki as Papa Une
- George Matsui as George, as a boy
- Nicky Blair as Martini
- George Takei as George (as George Takai)
- Miiko Taka as Ester
- Tsuru Aoki as Mother Une (as Tsuru Aoki Hayakawa)
- Sessue Hayakawa as General Matsui
DVD release 
The DVD of the film was released on June 5, 2007 in the United States.
- "Rental Potentials of 1960", Variety, 4 January 1961 p 47. Figures are rentals as opposed to total gross.
- Hell to Eternity at the Internet Movie Database
- Hell to Eternity at AllRovi
- Hell to Eternity at the TCM Movie Database