The next time Turner Classic Movies airs THE FIGHTING 69th I urge you to tune in. This excellent film was originally released in 1940, and it tells the tale of the famed New York Irish 69th Regiment and its beloved Chaplain, Father Francis P. Duffy, played perfectly by Pat O'Brien. Other real-life members of this historic Army unit in WWI were "Wild Bill" Donovon (George Brent) who was accorded the Congressional Medal of Honor and Joyce Kilmer (Jeffrey Lynn), the poet whose most well-known poem was THE TREE -- "Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree."
Joining O'Brien, Brent and Lynn is an all-star cast featuring Warner Brothers Stock Veteran Company actors like Frank McHugh, Dennis Morgan and Alan Hale. The star of THE FIGHTING 69th, however, is James Cagney who plays the fictional character Jerry Plunkett, a smartass, street punk from Brooklyn who, surprisingly, becomes a coward when he is finally face-to-face with the horrors of battle. In the end, Plunkett does somewhat redeem himself, but it is a testament to Cagney that we find ourselves drawn to what is undoubtedly one of the all-time great silver screen antiheroes.
Given the nature of this blog I am sure you are wondering why I am writing about this "oldie but goodie." THE FIGHTING 69th, after all, is but one of many patriotic films produced during the Second World War that were designed to glorify the bravery of our troops and to reassure us of the need to stand united, one and all, against what was the most terrifying enemy our nation had ever faced. And that, my friends, is exactly why I am writing about this wonderful film right here, right now -- because it is time for the Hollywood mongoloids (I mean moguls) to take a lesson from the past and to again release positive, uplifting films that depict the bravery of our troops and the historic resolve of our citizenry against any outside threat we face, whether it be from Hitler's Germany, Tojo's Japan, Bin Laden's Afghanistan or wherever...
Instead, these retread retards are giving us a steady diet of ballyhooed baloney that are nothing more than pathetic remakes of films and TV shows from the past -- and none of these have come close to capturing the magic of the originals. BEWITCHED, THE HONEYMOONERS, STARSKY & HUTCH, THE BAD NEWS BEARS, not one, but two CHARLIE'S ANGELS, and the list goes on and on.
I close by making the following statement, in part a tribute to Joyce Kilmer who died on the battlefield in France in 1918. It is intended to be read by each and every current studio exec:
"I think I shall never see
A film worth a shit from thee."