Back to Bataan [1945]

John Wayne and Anthony Quinn star in this touching 1945 drama inspired by real-life heroism in the Philippines following General MacArthur's withdrawal in 1942 and the islands' subsequent conquest by the Japanese army. Wayne plays Colonel Joe Madden, an American who stays behind to organize a ragtag guerrilla army in the forests and hills. At his side is Captain Andres Bonifacio (Quinn), grandson of a legendary revolutionary martyred in the nation's old war against Spanish colonialists. Joe, Andres, and their fearless irregulars (with support from a schoolteacher, played by Beulah Bondi) sap the enemy's resolve through hit-and-run missions, but as time passes the locals wonder, with pronounced disillusionment, why America doesn't return with masses of troops and weapons. Wayne's star power is undeniable, and Quinn is very good as a man uncertain of his role or destiny. Edward Dmytryk (Murder, My Sweet), soon to be imprisoned during Joseph McCarthy's witch hunt of Hollywood communists, directs. --Tom Keogh

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