Monday, June 17, 2024

Movie Monday: So Proudly We Hail

Movie Monday: So Proudly We Hail

Today’s movie, So Proudly We Hail, was based on nurse Lt. Colonel Juanita Hipps’s book, “I Served on Bataan” about her experiences in the Philippines. Assigned to Bataan and Corregidor in 1939 she was one of seven nurses who managed to get out before the Japanese occupation. The book became a best-seller in 1943, and the U.S. government saw it as an opportunity. The result of the partnership between the War Department and Paramount Pictures became a propaganda success with the film receiving four Oscar nominations.

Starring Claudette Colbert, Veronica Lake, Paulette Goddard, Barbara Britton, George Reeves, and the lesser-known Sonny Tufts, So Proudly We Hail is not your typical Hollywood “chick-flick.” Yes, there is romance woven throughout the story, but the film is a realistic rendition of the ugliness of war and the difficult and sometimes overwhelming work done by the nurses who served.

Despite being a “post-code” movie, there are a surprising number of graphic scenes including aerial
bombings, an ambulance being blown up while nurses scramble out of the way, and a couple of death scenes (which in this era typically occurred “off stage”). When the film came out in 1943, the world was still on tenterhooks as to how the war would end. The fall of the Philippines was viewed as a major US defeat.
The film is told in a series of flashbacks when the nurses are on their way home by ship, and the story begins with the women in California as they prepare for their assignment. By the time they reach Hawaii, the US is at war and the ship is rerouted to the Philippines. During the journey, the convoy comes under attack and one of the ships is sunk. They eventually make it to Manila which has been declared an open city (unfortified, undefended), so they head to Bataan instead. They set up and do their best to take care of patients, but then word comes that the Japanese are advancing. They move to a “jungle” hospital where they are subjected to bombing raids. Things get worse, and it’s obvious the area is going to fall to the enemy. As mentioned, there is a romance thread, and the movie ends with a happily-ever-after.


War’s Unexpected Gift

Love and war don’t mix. Or do they?

Eager to do even more for the war effort, nurse Gwen Milford puts in for a transfer from a convalescent hospital outside of London to an evac hospital headed across Europe. Leap-frogging from one location to the next, nothing goes as expected from stolen supplies to overwhelming numbers of casualties. Then, there’s the handsome doctor who seems to be assigned to her every shift. As another Christmas approaches without the war’s end, can she find room in her heart for love?

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