Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • U
  • Drama, War
  • 1950
  • 115 mins

American Guerilla In The Philippines

American Guerilla In The Philippines

Synopsis

A band of American GIs resist Japan's South Pacific incursion. Actionful war drama starring Tyrone Power and Jack Elam, and directed by the great Fritz Lang

About

With a title like American Guerilla In The Philippines, you'd hope Fritz Lang's Hollywood-made war movie would be exciting. And while it's a million miles away from his European classics Metropolis, The Testament Of Dr Mabuse and M, the German legend wrings all sorts of thrills from the Pacific War.

Released in the UK as I Will Return - a nod to General Douglas MacArthur's famous speech - Lang's film focuses upon a band of American soldiers who, unable to flee the Philippines ahead of the Japanese invasion, choose to fight their away across the country. As Ensign Chuck Palmer (matinee idol Tyrone Power) and crewman Jim Mitchell (Tom Ewell) make their way towards Del Monte airport, they encounter Jeanne Martinez (Michelle Prelle), a teacher at an American mission school. Learning that the air strip has also been captured by the invaders, the trio have no choice but to ride out the occupation and create as much chaos as possible.

Although the movie's moniker and the presence of Tyrone Power might suggest a degree of trashiness, American Guerilla is a cut above your average Hollywood war movie. Okay, so Lang made better movies during his time in the US - The Big Heat is by far the nastiest if not quite the best film noir - but you can tell from the pacing and the compositions that American Guerilla was created by someone with a sophisticated appreciation of the medium. As for the actors, Lang must got down alongside Edmund Goulding (The Razor's Edge) as one of the few directors able to coax a convincing performance out of the teak-like Tyrone Power. Meanwhile, fans of walleyed actor Jack Elam are sure to enjoy his typically colorful performance.

If American Guerilla leaves you hungry for more war movies set in and around the Philippines, you're probably better off skipping expensive propaganda pieces such as Bataan, Back To Bataan and They Were Expendable. Instead, try and track down cult favourites Back Door To Hell and Fight To Fury.

Two films shoot back-to-back in the islands by Monte Hellman, these superior Roger Corman productions are as exciting as they are efficient. Oh yes, and they were written by one of the members of the cast, a young chap with a thinning thatch called Jack Nicholson.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Robert Barrat, Micheline Presle, Tom Ewell, Jack Elam, Tyrone Power, Tommy Cook, Bob Patten
  • Director: Fritz Lang
  • Writer (Book): Ira Wolfert
  • Producer: Lamar Trotti
  • Photographer: Cyril J Mockridge
  • Composer: Harry Jackson

In a nutshell

A fine film that almost lives up to its mouthwatering title.

by Richard Luck

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    The Five-Year Engagement

    Jason Segel and Emily Blunt are Tom and Violet, a happy couple whose plans to marry become increasingly hopeless. Co-starring Chris Pratt and a host of sit-com favourites, expect sincerely romantic moments amongst Segel's signature frat boy humour.

    On Film4: 4 Aug 9:00PM

  • Film4

    Maidan

    Documentary portrait of the winter 2013/14 Ukrainian demonstrations in Kiev against the pro-Moscow presidency of Viktor Yanukovych and for a greater integration with Europe.

  • Film4

    Damsels in Distress on Film4

    Whit Stillman returns to directing, with a twee comedy that follows Greta Gerwig and her pompous college buddies as they set about improving campus life for all

  • Film4

    The Five-Year Engagement on Film4

    Jason Segel and Emily Blunt are Tom and Violet, a happy couple whose plans to marry become increasingly hopeless. Co-starring Chris Pratt and a host of sit-com favourites, expect sincerely romantic moments amongst Segel's signature frat boy humour.

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share