Pride of the Marines
|Pride of the Marines|
Original film poster
|Directed by||Delmer Daves|
|Produced by||Jerry Wald|
|Written by||Roger Butterfield (book)
Marvin Borowsky (adaptation)
Delmer Daves (uncredited)
|Music by||Franz Waxman|
|Cinematography||J. Peverell Marley|
|Editing by||Owen Marks|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Release date(s)||August 24, 1945|
|Running time||119 minutes|
Pride of the Marines is a 1945 biographical war film starring John Garfield and Eleanor Parker. It tells the story of U.S. Marine Al Schmid in World War II, his heroic stand against a Japanese attack during the Battle of Guadalcanal, in which he was blinded by a grenade, and his subsequent rehabilitation. The film was based on the Roger Butterfield book, Al Schmid, Marine.
The film is divided in three parts. The first takes place prior to the war where cocky Philadelphia steel worker and "Man's man" Al Schmid (John Garfield) despises the idea of marriage and losing his independence until he meets his match in Ruth Hartley (Eleanor Parker). Ruth takes no nonsense from him and impresses Schmid by enjoying a hunting trip he takes her on.
In part two, at the Battle of the Tenaru River on Guadalcanal, Schmid is in the crew of a M1917 Browning machine gun with his buddies Lee Diamond (Dane Clark) and Johnny Rivers (Anthony Caruso) of "H" Company 2nd Battalion First Marines. While the three wait for an enemy attack, they practice gun emplacement procedures– establishing fields of fire, practicing with the range card to estimate firing distances, and determining the optimal traversal and elevation settings for each anticipated line of attack. The subsequent onslaught by the enemy is particularly heavy. Rivers is killed by a bullet through the head, Diamond wounded by three machine gun bullets in his right arm, and Schmid is blinded by a Japanese soldier dropping a hand grenade at the front of the gun pit. In spite of the heavy attack, Schmid is able to fire his weapon by following Diamond's instructions. Together, they kill 200 of the enemy.
The third part is Schmid's humbling rehabilitation, in which he resents being dependent upon others. He hopes that an operation will restore his sight, but the medical procedure wasn't successful. He doesn't want Ruth to know that he is nearly completely blind, and he attempts to break up with her. Schmid learns responsibility through Diamond, hospital rehabilitation officer Virginia Pfeiffer (Rosemary DeCamp) and the other wounded veterans. He is to be awarded the Navy Cross, but is dismayed that the ceremony will take place in his home town. He initially feels anger and discomfort when he becomes dependent upon family and friends, primarily because he doesn't want to be a burden to anyone. In spite of his resentment, Ruth stays by his side and helps him overcome his bitterness, and convinces him that he must learn to live with his new situation.
During the Battle of Guadalcanal, two enlisted Marines, Mitchell Paige and John Basilone were awarded the Medal of Honor for their use of the M1917 Browning machine gun against massed Japanese charges. In Jim Proser's book I'm Staying With My Boys: The Heroic Life of Sgt. John Basilone USMC (ISBN 097554610 Lightbearer Communications Company 2004) Proser tells of Basilone's friendship with John Garfield and Eddie Bracken when they toured the United States selling war bonds.
Screenwriters A. I. Bezzerides and Alvah Bessie developed a 26 page treatment of Roger Butterfield's book Al Schmid Marine. Martin Borowsky also did an adaptation of Butterfield's book that was rewritten by Albert Maltz who Garfield has spoken to about Butterfield's story. Prior to filming Garfield, visited American soldiers in hospitals in Italy.
Both Bessie and Maltz were later blacklisted over their "un-American" political opinions.
- John Garfield as Al Schmid
- Eleanor Parker as Ruth Hartley
- Dane Clark as Lee Diamond
- John Ridgely as Jim Merchant
- Rosemary DeCamp as Virginia Pfeiffer
- Ann Doran as Ella May Merchant
- Ann E. Todd as Loretta Merchant
- Anthony Caruso as Johnny Rivers
Pride of the Marines was adapted as a radio play on the January 31, 1945 episode of Lux Radio Theater and the June 15, 1946 episode of Academy Award Theater, both with John Garfield reprising his role.
- p.342 footnote Norden, Martin F. The Cinema of Isolation: A History of Physical Disability in Movies 1994 Rutgers University Press
- p.71 McGrath, Patrick J. John Garfield: The Illustrated Career in Films and Stage 1993 McFarland
- p.115 Gerber, David A. In Search of Al Schmid quoted in Mitchell, David T. and Snyder, Sharon L. The Body and Physical Difference: Discorses of Disability 1997 University of Michigan Press
- p.72 McGrath, Patrick J. John Garfield: The Illustrated Career in Films and Stage 1993 McFarland
- Pride of the Marines at the TCM Movie Database
- Pride of the Marines at the Internet Movie Database
- Pride of the Marines at AllRovi
- military.com biography of Albert A. Schmid