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, Tommy Cook, Jack Elam, Tom Ewell, Bob Patten, Micheline Presle, Tyrone Power
  • 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 Amy

    Amy

    Senna director Asif Kapadia tells the story of Amy Winehouse in her own words with the use of unseen archive footage and previously unheard tracks

  • Film4 Poetry

    Poetry

    When a woman receives a devastating diagnosis and discovers a dark family secret, she finds solace in a poetry class

  • Film4 Evil Dead

    Saturday Night Shocks on Film4

    Horror, mystery and suspense stake its claim on the weekend. A new season of Saturday Night Shocks comes to Film4.

  • Film4 Warm Bodies

    Warm Bodies on Film4

    Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer star in this classic tale of zombie meets girl, Jonathan Levine's rotting flesh take on Romeo and Juliet on Film4.

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Youth: first reviews at Cannes

    Early signs indicate that Paolo Sorrentino's Youth, starring Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz and Paul Dano, which premiered in Competition at Cannes this morning is polarizing critics: some

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Cannes 2015: Carol, and the rest

    Film4 Channel Editor David Cox reports from Cannes on Todd Haynes' critically-lauded drama Carol, as well as other festival gems... [caption id="attachment_4528" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Caro

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

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

or Register

Share