Visual Artist

Hell to Eternity (1960)


Hell to Eternity (1960)Not to be confused with the earlier film From Here to Eternity (1953) that deals with the outbreak of war, from the invasion of Peal Harbour from a romantic personal perspective, Hell to Eternity (1960) is a far different film, starting before the outbreak of war, when Guy Gabaldon is a young boy during the depression, taken in by a Japanese American family after his mother is taken ill. They find a boy who is much in need of love, something which they have heaps to give him.

We then find Gabaldon grown up and played by Jeffrey Hunter very happy and adjusted to his life with his adoptive family at the outbreak of war against Japan is declared. The supporting Japanese cast, most notably George Takei would have all spent time in internment camps, so would have brought more depth to their roles, with their real-life experiences. The focus is on Gabaldon, who sees his family being moved into a camp to sit out the war.

He eventually is able to enlist in the army, part of the Marine Corps, with his language specialism. For a while and it seems a long while too during the training and then hours of R & R, which lasts longer than you think, as they go in search of women and alcohol. Things finally get going when they are thrown into action against the Japanese. We see a man who is ready to fight the enemy, yet at times like the rest of the men on the beach on the island are scared to death. We also see a conflict of interests from a man reared by Japanese to then face and kill others of the nationality.

It takes a while to get going for me, for him to confront his own fears and go above and beyond the call of duty, it looks as if he would’ve taken on the entire imperial Army and won with his perspective on the people. From the family life that is filled with love, stories of strength and honour, which are not reflected in the Army who will fight to the bitter end, forcing civilians to sacrifice themselves. To give up to the enemy is not an option, until General Matsui (Sessue Hayakawa) is taken prisoner by Gabuldon. We see a different side the American solider, one that is rarely looked at, not just the average Joe who signed up, but someone who has conflicting feelings towards the enemy.

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