None but the Brave

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None but the Brave
Nonebutthebravepost.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Frank Sinatra
Produced by William H. Daniels associate producer
Howard W. Koch executive producer
Frank Sinatra
Kikumaru Okuda
Written by Kikumaru Okuda (story)
John Twist
Katsuya Susaki
Starring Frank Sinatra
Clint Walker
Tatsuya Mihashi
Tommy Sands
Music by John Williams (as Johnny Williams)
Cinematography Harold Lipstein (director of photography)
Edited by Sam O'Steen
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • 1965 (1965)
Running time
106 minutes
Country United States
Japan
Language English
Japanese
Box office $2,500,000 (US/ Canada rentals)[1]

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 with 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,[2] produced by Sinatra for Warner Bros. and Kikumaru Okuda for Toho Studios.

Plot[edit]

Narrated in English by a Japanese officer named Kuroki (in the form of a journal he is writing for his wife), a platoon of 16 Japanese soldiers is stranded on an island in the Pacific with no means of communicating with the outside world. Lieutenant Kuroki 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, crash landing on the same island. The Zero and an American F4U Corsair destroy each other, with no outside commands learning of the island. Marine Aircraft Wing Captain Dennis Bourke assumes command of the platoon of Marines he was transporting, over their 2nd Lieutenant Blair and Sergeant Bleeker. Confidante to Bourke is Navy chief pharmacist's mate Francis. As the 19 Americans learn of the Japanese platoon’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, reduced in numbers through their earlier conflicts and later natural disasters, choosing to live side by side – although a line is drawn forbidding one from encroaching on the other's side of the island. There is some clandestine cooperation and trading and earnest respect and friendship.

When the Americans establish radio contact and their pickup by a US naval vessel is arranged, they demand that the Japanese surrender, but Koruki reestablishes that they are at war. As the Americans proceed to the beach, Bourke orders his men to be ready to shoot to kill. When they are ambushed by the remaining 8 men of the Japanese platoon, the remaining 11 Americans are given no option but to retaliate, resulting in a bloody and pointless firefight during which all the Japanese and most of the Americans are shot dead. Only Francis, Bourke, Bleeker, Blair and Corporal Ruffino survive 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".

Cast[edit]

Japanese:

  • Tatsuya Mihashi as Lt. Kuroki
  • Takeshi Katô as Sgt. Tamura
  • Homare Suguro as Lance Cpl. Hirano
  • Kenji Sahara as Cpl. Fujimoto
  • Mashahiko Tanimura as Lead Pvt. Ando
  • Toru Ibuki as Pvt. Arikawa
  • Ryucho Shunputei as Pvt. Okunda (the fisherman)
  • Hisao Dazai as Pvt. Tokumaru
  • Susumu Kurobe as Pvt. Goro
  • Takashi Inagaki as Pvt. Ishii
  • Kenichi Hata as Pvt. Sato

American:

Production notes[edit]

The title is from the John Dryden poem, Alexander's Feast, stanza 1: "None but the brave/deserves the fair."

This was the sixth of nine films produced by Frank Sinatra, and the only film he directed. The executive producers carried extra fame in their own right - William H. Daniels was former president of the American Society of Cinematographers, while Howard W. Koch was former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. During filming, on May 10, 1964 in Hawaii, Sinatra was caught in a riptide along with Ruth Koch, wife of Howard Koch. Actor Brad Dexter (Sgt. Bleeker) and two surfers were able to rescue Sinatra and Koch, saving their lives.[citation needed]

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.

Sinatra and Sands were not the only notable musical performers in the cast. Phillip Crosby (Pvt. Magee), son of Bing, had performed for years as part of The Crosby Boys. Jimmy Griffin (Pvt. Dexter) went on to form the 1970s rock band Bread, 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".

Richard Sinatra (Pvt. Roth) was Frank Sinatra’s cousin.

Critical response[edit]

Upon release, The New York TimesBosley 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."[3]

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."[4]

Comic book adaption[edit]

  • Dell Movie Classic: None but the Brave (April-June 1965)[5][6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ This figure consists of anticipated rentals accruing distributors in North America. See "Top Grossers of 1965", Variety, 5 January 1966 p 36
  2. ^ Liner notes, pg. 2, None but the Brave soundtrack album, FSM Vol. 12, No. 2
  3. ^ The New York Times, "He Stars in War Film, None But the Brave" By Bosley Crowther. February 25, 1965.
  4. ^ Robert Horton, Amazon Editorial Review for None But the Brave
  5. ^ Dell Movie Classic: None but the Brave at the Grand Comics Database
  6. ^ Dell Movie Classic: None but the Brave at the Comic Book DB

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]