First To Fight

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FIRST TO FIGHT—-as the studios were loathe to tackle the divisive subject, the building frenzy of the Vietnam War didn’t get any play in Hollywood until 1968s one-off with the lucrative, critically derided The Green Berets.  In lieu there were a spattering of standard action flicks set during  WW2, chiefly in the Pacific. It was a sideways hook, using the Marines, fighting Asians, under the cover of a conflict everyone could agree on (well, maybe not the Japanese).

Along with the nifty Ambush Bay and the daring and bloody Beach Red, came this 1967 fodder with Chad Everett.  Directed by Christian Nyby, for 92 minutes it creaks with cliché, and repeats some action shots so often you feel like you have a relationship with the extras doing the stunts.  Good supporting actors at least: Dean Jagger, Claude Akins, Gene Hackman, James Best, Bobby Troup, Norman Alden.

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One of four films 36-year-old struggling actor and ex-Marine Hackman appeared in during 1967. The last one was a little lark called Bonnie And Clyde and his days of toiling in the trenches were over. Everett’s movie career fizzled out and he did much better for himself on TV in Medical Center. Old pros Akins and Best likewise transitioned to the small screen with success. Box-office for this film came to $1,800,000.

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