Monday, 14 January 2013

American Guerillas in the Philippines

The only good other they don’t make films like they used to film(Les Misérables the exception) of Film week January 7th-14th was the 1950 released American Guerrillas in the Philippines, The is based on the second world war experience of Lliff David Richardson  born in 1918 and only died in 2002  aged 82. The son of a Methodist Minister who died when he was  3 his mother moved around a great deal and then after Junior College he left the USA and travelled extensively in Europe, the Middle and near East before returning just before the fall of France in World War I. In 1940 he was commissioned an Ensign in the Royal Navy and assigned to a minesweeper in the Philippines and then became executive officer in boat PT34. After the vessel was sunk he assisted the army in setting off demolition charges in Cebu City and then in  party of a dozen attempted to set sail for Australia but the boat is sunk in a storm and to survive he and a  number of the others swam for 24 hours to reach the island Mindanao.

In the film rescued by islanders who  go out  and bring in other swimmers and those who could not swim and clung to the wreckage of their boat. Shortly after recovering the Japanese arrive and they take to the jungle and team up with the local guerrillas. Because he had been a ham radio operator he was able to set up a communications network on the island and with the Allied forces in Australia. He was promoted to Major by “I shall return” Douglas General McArthur holding Commissions in the army and navy at the same time.

After the liberation of the Philippines he told his story to a Pulitzer prize winner writer who created a book of the month success and a Readers Digest condensed book which was to have been made immediately into a film, shelved and then  released in 1950.  He married in the USA, worked in insurance and  created a company selling a shotgun on the basis of models created and used in the Philippines and which despite the American love of guns did not sell well. He was also an adviser on a number of Hollywood War films.

My impression is that in order to create an interesting and entertaining film  his  story was creatively adapted  and my curiosity is such that I have invested £4.69 in purchasing the original first edition hardback copy of the book including postage,

In the film after surviving on the island for an unspecified time he  remeets the  American wife of a local business man and patriot who he  helped previously under the impression she was single, The husband suggests that he should make his way by sea to where an American is known to be organising resistance in preparation for the return of General MacArthur. The carrot is the suggestion that the American Colonel will  provide the means for him to get to Australia. After a perilous journey he finds the Colonel who persuades him that his best role is to stay and organise the radio services. After the husband of the woman is killed by the Japanese for his work for the resistance, the woman also takes to the jungle and on a Christmas Day they become lovers.

He is required to slip behind enemy lines to observe and report on enemy shipping movements and shortly before the arrival of MacArthur both with other American and local resistance  men( and boys) have a fight with the Japanese in a Christian Church. The Japanese pull out with the invasion commencing.

No comments:

Post a Comment