Pat O'Brien, Robert Ryan, and Ruth Hussey star in MARINE RAIDERS (1944), recently released on DVD by the Warner Archive.
Ryan plays Captain Dan Craig, who quickly falls in love with an Australian officer named Ellen Foster (Hussey, who's delightful but doesn't seem very Australian!).
After a whirlwind few hours together Danny wants to marry Ellen, but his commanding officer, Major Steve Lockhart (O'Brien), thinks Dan is an easy mark for romance after having had a particularly brutal combat experience. He arranges to have Dan, injured in a strafing attack, shipped back to the U.S. before he can marry Ellen.
Dan is bitter, but he and Steve work side by side training new Marines, until finally they're sent back to Australia, where Dan and Ellen reunite before the men are shipped back to combat.
The script is pretty run-of-the-mill as WWII films go, but the film is elevated by the sincere playing of the leads, particularly Ryan and Hussey. They're supported by fine actors including Barton MacLane, Frank McHugh, Richard "Chito" Martin, and Martha Vickers.
There are many better WWII films, but I nonetheless enjoyed it. Fans of the actors or WWII films will find it worth a look.
J.R. Jones' biography of Ryan mentions that O'Brien was a mentor to Ryan early in his career. Ryan wondered if he'd have trouble succeeding in the film business due to his introverted nature, but O'Brien pointed out that his friend James Cagney was one of the most private actors in the business. Ryan said "That was all I needed to know. I became a Cagney."
Ryan left Hollywood to serve in the Marines himself immediately after completing this picture.
MARINE RAIDERS is an RKO film which was directed by Harold D. Schuster. It was filmed in black and white by Nicholas Musuraca. The running time is 90 minutes.
The Warner Archive DVD is a good-looking print. There are no extras.
Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.