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 Author  Topic: THEY WERE EXPENDABLE
ROSS FISHER

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BEHIND THE SCENES OF THEY WERE EXPENDABLE by Lou Sabini is a great collection of exterior photographs taken by 18-year old Photographer's Mate Nicholas Scutti. It's a fascinating look at movie making in the 1940's. Even back then before the advent of CGI, the background of the Miami skyline could be matted out and gunfire airbursts added in post-production. The dramatic .50 caliber muzzle flashes appear in the close-ups but are missing in the long range shots.
I've always wished there was a Director's Cut of this movie as is so often available today with all the deleted scenes included. Here we have to be content with snapshots of "the panel truck in he river scene" and "the priest and nuns scenes" that ended up on the cutting room floor.
It's interesting to learn that the character of "Doc" (Jack Pennick) was actually an assistant director of the movie. I was always impressed by the scenes of the 41 boat on an army flatbed truck and wondered how they had managed to hoist it out of the water back in 1942; so the reverse angle shot of the 41 on page 149 has to make you smile.
As Will Day has noted, some of the photo captions are suspect. The actor Arthur Walsh is repeatedly misidentified as Marshall Thompson. Despite the ever-present continuity guy with his script, there is a glaring error in the movie. Toward the end of the film on Mindanao, Ensign Gardner (Marshall Thompson) and Seaman Jonesy (Arthur Walsh) ride off on their bicycles. But later Gardner and Ensign Cross (Cameron Mitchell) return just in time to reclaim their seats on the departing C-47.
At about $35, the book is indeed, a bit pricey, but we've waited 70 years for it and it's bound to be the last word on the subject.

ROSS FISHER

ross@dupagels.lib.il.us

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