This is only the second Audie Murphy movie set in WWII after his autobiographical \"To Hell and Back.\" Here Murphy steps out of his usual kid-Western role to play a civilian working for the Navy helping supply guerilla insurgents in the Philippines. His sole motive is not politics nor bravery, but to find his bride from whom he was separated during the Japanese invasion two years before.
Audie Murphy ... Craig Benson
Gary Crosby ... Marty Sackler
Dolores Michaels ... Ruth Benson
Alejandro Rey ... Julio Fontana
Marjorie Stapp ... Caroline Pelham
Barry Atwater ... Pelham
E.J. André ... Dr. Van Bart
Dale Ishimoto ... Blanco
Lillian Bronson ... Delia Ellis
Miriam Colon ... Nahni
Pilar Seurat ... Camota
William Mims ... M\'Keever
Ivan Dixon ... Tiger Blair
Sara Anderson ... Mrs. Thompson
Kevin Brodie ... Timmy Thompson
Battle at Bloody Beach was one of Audie Murphy\'s attempts to get away from the western casting where he did so well and should have stayed in his career. It bears some resemblance to John Wayne\'s Back to Bataan and Tyrone Power\'s An American Guerrilla in the Phillipines in subject matter.
But the latter had the advantage of great color cinematography and was shot in the actual scenes of the Phillipines. This particular cheapie was done on Catalina, it looks like it was done over a couple of long weekends.
The plot as it were has Murphy as an American running supplies to the Filipino insurrectionists and discovering his wife, Dolores Michaels believing he was dead, having taken up with Filipino guerrilla Alejandro Rey both politically and personally. That leads to some tense moments as Murphy leads some refugees away from the oncoming Japanese.
The battle itself is the climax as Murphy with Gary Crosby and assorted help mows down row after row of charging Japanese. Now why the Japanese commander didn\'t size up the situation and wait for some artillery before getting all his troops slaughtered in a charge is a mystery to me.
I\'ll be willing to bet that somewhere in the financing of this film was Gary\'s father who was always doing things like that for his sons. Good thing Bing had the sense to keep his name off the credits if he did.
This movie gets beaten up on quite a bit by critics, so my expectations were as low as they could be before watching...perhaps that is why I was so surprised to find some nice moments in this film.
There is no question that this could never be considered a war classic, but to dismiss it outright simply by its reputation, or ones pre-conceived notions, is to do oneself a disservice. For being a low budget movie, there was some nice location shooting, quality set design, decent special effects (for the time), and good quality stock footage. There is some poor editing here and there, and a few technical goofs in the film, but, that aside, I must say that I found the direction to be quite good, overall, for a drive-in movie...and the score was nicely done, as well.
With only one or two exceptions, the cast was very competent, with Audie Murphy and Gary Crosby doing a nice job, as well as a few enjoyable performances supporting them. The plot had great potential, but the script was poorly written and we didn\'t get to spend enough time with the people we are supposed to care about. Dolores Michaels is gorgeous, so we can understand why Audie Murphy and Alejandro Rey would both be attracted to her, but she has no real chemistry with either man, so it is hard to get swept up in the love triangle. The characters are written to be very one-dimensional, so the plot points and drama never get a chance to make an impact.
The feeling I got at the end of watching this film was that all of the elements were there for a good movie, but it just missed. That being said, I give it a 5 out of 10 for the enjoyment of watching Audie Murphy, as well as a few nice acting and directorial moments. Prepare yourself for a 1960s drive-in movie level of quality, and you will find moments to enjoy throughout.
I\'ve often wondered how WWII action flicks played with audiences of the early 1960\'s--did movie-goers still feel patriotic about them or was there a sense that it was time to move on from stories pitting Americans against the ruthless Japanese? Here, married Audie Murphy sails the Pacific searching for his missing spouse, eventually finding her on an island in the Phillipines along with a band of Americans and Polynesians being threatened by the relentless Japanese army. In Audie\'s absence, his Mrs. has taken up the guerrilla fighter\'s cause--and with thin-but-swarthy soldier Alejandro Rey!--but when they\'re surrounded by bloodthirsty Japs, the group must put aside their differences long enough to survive. Typical war movie, though with the added pleasure of some campy action and not-bad black-and-white cinematography. Murphy was never much of an actor, but here his stolid manner is a relief from all the hysteria. The director shows absolutely no sympathy for the dead or the dying (on either side), but the central romantic situation is handled with surprising skill and the climactic battle, though hurt by choppy editing, is nevertheless involving.