Film #7 in the World War II Marathon!
Screenplay By: Harry Brown & James Edward Grant
Directed By: Allan Dwan
Sadly, I was unable to procure a copy of Roma, Città Aperta in its original language, and since I won’t watch the badly dubbed English version we are skipping ahead in the World War II Marathon. But, when I do find a copy of Roma, Città Aperta in Italian, we will return to that film. The seventh entrant in the marathon is Sands Of Iwo Jima, a dramatization of a lone platoons military life up until the famous raising of the flag on Mount Suribachi. It is a standard war movie from the 1940’s era of war films. That’s not to say that all war films were the same from this era, but in Hollywood there was a definite blueprint put forth and Sands Of Iwo Jima follows that blueprint to perfection.
There aren’t many disparaging things I can say about Sands Of Iwo Jima, it certainly wasn’t a bad movie. But, it left me underwhelmed and I knew that I was watching a basic storyline with underdeveloped characters from the start. Sands Of Iwo Jima is a decent enough tale, but it’s unremarkable and prone to bouts of unneeded melodrama and the one dimensional nature of the characters does make the film hard to get into.
The battle scenes are done well, except for a few technical gaffes such as the Japanese strafing the beach with machine gun fire from their bunkers long before American soldiers have reached the beach. Real war footage is edited in with the movie footage in almost seamless fashion, and on the whole it is a rather inoffensive movie. Up until the end at least, when it became far too obvious what was going to happen with the characters. When John Wayne does bite the dust Sands Of Iwo Jima finally lost me, it was a deadly mixture of obvious storytelling, a melodramatic, over the top death and the sappy letter to his son.
I don’t want to sound too harsh towards Sands Of Iwo Jima, it is as I said a rather inoffensive film. But, it covers ground that has been covered to death in the war film genre, especially World War II, and it is obvious in covering said ground. It’s a decent enough film, but one that fails to grab your attention or stand out from the crowd in any way. I can understand why John Wayne fans would want to see this picture, but otherwise I recommend you pass on Sands Of Iwo Jima, there are far better and more worthwhile World War II films you could be watching.