None But the Brave
|None But the Brave|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Frank Sinatra|
|Produced by||William H. Daniels associate producer
Howard W. Koch executive producer
|Written by||Kikumaru Okuda (story)
|Music by||John Williams (as Johnny Williams)|
|Cinematography||Harold Lipstein (director of photography)|
|Editing by||Sam O'Steen|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Running time||106 minutes|
|Box office||$2,500,000 (US/ Canada rentals)|
None But the Brave, also known as Yūsha nomi (勇者のみ None but the brave men?) in Japan, is a 1965 war film starring Frank Sinatra, Clint Walker, Tatsuya Mihashi, Tommy Sands and Brad Dexter. This is the only film directed by Frank Sinatra, and the first Japanese-American co-production, produced by Sinatra for Warner Bros. and Kikumaru Okuda for Toho Studios.
Narrated in English by a Japanese officer named Kuroki (in the form of a journal he is writing for his wife), a platoon of Japanese soldiers is stranded on an island in the Pacific with no means of communicating with the outside world. Lieutenant Kuroki (Tatsuya Mihashi) keeps his men firmly in hand and is supervising the building of a boat for their escape.
An American C-47/R4D transport plane is shot down by a Japanese Zero, which in turn is shot down by an American F4U Corsair, on the same island with a platoon of U.S. marines led by Captain Dennis Bourke (Clint Walker), Sergeant Bleeker (Brad Dexter) and 2nd Lieutenant Blair (Tommy Sands). Confidante to Bourke is the chief pharmacist mate (Frank Sinatra). As both sides learn of each other's existence on the island, tension mounts resulting in a battle for the Japanese boat. The vessel is destroyed and a Japanese soldier is seriously injured. Calling a truce, Koruki trades the Americans access to water in exchange for a visit from their doctor to treat the wounded soldier, whose leg has to be amputated.
The truce results in both platoons living side by side, although a line is drawn forbidding one from encroaching on the other's side of the island. At first, there is some clandestine cooperation and trading and earnest respect and friendship. When the Americans establish radio contact and their pick-up by a US naval vessel is arranged they demand that the Japanese surrender. As the Americans proceed to the beach, the American captain orders his men to shoot to kill. They are ambushed by the coerced Japanese platoon, who presumably were also unwillingly acting on orders to shoot to kill. The Americans were given no option, but to retaliate in self-defense that results in an ensuing bloody and pointless firefight during which all the Japanese (including Kuroki) and most of the Americans are shot dead. The medic, Bourke, Bleeker, Blair and Ruffino are the only survivors of the skirmish. They move onto the beach and wait to be rescued by the American naval vessel, stationed just offshore. Kuroki's final narration calls what he is to do "just another day." The film ends with a long shot of the island, superimposed with the words "Nobody ever wins".
- Tatsuya Mihashi as Lt. Kuroki
- Takeshi Katô as Sgt. Tamura
- Homare Suguro as LCpl. Hirano
- Kenji Sahara as Cpl. Fujimoto
- Mashahiko Tanimura as Lead Pvt. Ando
- Toru Ibuki as Pvt. Arikawa
- Ryucho Shunputei as Pvt. Okunda (the fishermen)
- Hisao Dazai as Pvt. Tokumaru
- Susumu Kurobe as Pvt. Goro (as Susume Kurobe)
- Takashi Inagaki as Pvt. Ishi
- Kenichi Hata as Pvt. Sato
- Frank Sinatra as Chief Pharmacist Mate
- Clint Walker as Capt. Dennis Bourke
- Tommy Sands as 2nd Lt. Blair
- Brad Dexter as Sgt. Bleeker
- Tony Bill as Air Crewman Keller
- Sammy Jackson as Cpl. Craddock
- Richard Bakalyan as Cpl. Ruffino
- Jimmy Griffin as Pvt. Dexter
- Christopher Dark as Pvt. Searcy
- Don Dorrell as Pvt. Hoxie
- Phillip Crosby as Pvt. Magee (as Phil Crosby)
- Howie Young as Pvt. Waller
- Roger Ewing as Pvt. Swensholm
- Richard Sinatra as Pvt. Roth
- Rafer Johnson as Pvt. Johnson
The title is from the John Dryden poem, Alexander's Feast, stanza 1: "None but the brave/deserve the fair." da This was the sixth of nine films produced by Frank Sinatra. During filming, on May 10, 1964 in Hawaii, Sinatra was caught in a riptide along with Ruth Koch, wife of producer Howard Koch. Dexter and two surfers were able to rescue Sinatra and Ruth Koch, saving their lives. The executive producers were famed cinematographer and former president of the American Society of Cinematographers, William H. Daniels and Howard W. Koch, former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Some posters for the film featured the American cast on the left side and the Japanese cast on the right, with an island in the middle.
The Director of Special Effects was Eiji Tsuburaya, who helmed visual effects on numerous war pictures, the original Godzilla for Toho Studios in 1954, as well as the subsequent sci-fi and fantasy films that followed in Godzilla's wake.
Jimmy Griffin (who portrayed Pvt Dexter in the film) went on to form the 1970s rock band Bread alongside singer David Gates, writing a number of successful compositions, and winning an Academy Award in 1970 as the co-writer (under the pseudonym of Arthur James) on "For All We Know".
Upon release, The New York Times’ Bosley Crowther ignored the film's anti-war overtones and gave the production a largely negative review, writing, "A minimum show of creative invention and a maximum use of cinema clichés are evident in the staging of this war film," and "Mr. Sinatra, as producer and director, as well as actor of the secondary role of the booze-guzzling medical corpsman, displays distinction only in the latter job. Being his own director, he has no trouble stealing scenes, especially the one in which he burbles boozy wisecracks while preparing to saw off the shivering Japanese's leg. Mr. Sinatra is crashingly casual when it comes to keeping the Japanese in their place." Crowther also noted "Clint Walker … Tommy Sands … Brad Dexter … and Tony Bill … make over-acting—phony acting—the trademark of the film. What with incredible color and the incredible screenplay of Katsuya Susaki and John Twist, this adds up to quite a fake concoction."
Current critic Robert Horton (of Washington’s The Herald) calls None But the Brave “a 1965 anti-war picture that turns out to be much more interesting and compelling than its reputation would suggest,” that “predates the rash of anti-war counterculture movies by a few years,” also noting that it “bears the influence of Bridge on the River Kwai with a little Mister Roberts thrown in, but it has a bitterness about war that goes all the way through to the forceful final title, a reflection of Sinatra's liberal views at the time.” Horton points out that Clint Eastwood received a lot of credit for making two films that showed World War II from the American and the Japanese sides (Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima), but that “in a way, Sinatra had already done it, and in one movie.”
- This figure consists of anticipated rentals accruing distributors in North America. See "Top Grossers of 1965", Variety, 5 January 1966 p 36
- The New York Times, "He Stars in War Film, None But the Brave" By Bosley Crowther. February 25, 1965.
- Robert Horton, Amazon Editorial Review for None But the Brave