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Too Late the Hero is a 1970 Movie Poster

Too Late the Hero is a 1970 Movie Poster








DATE : 1970



SIZE : 27" X 41"


Too Late the Hero is a 1970 Anglo-American war film directed by Robert Aldrich, and starring Michael Caine, Henry Fonda, Cliff Robertson, Ken Takakura, Denholm Elliott, and Ian Bannen.

In the 1942 Pacific Ocean fighting of World War II, Lieutenant Sam Lawson, U.S.N. (Robertson), is a Japanese language interpreter who ! so far ! has avoided combat. Although Lawson is slated for shore leave in forty-eight hours, his commanding officer (Henry Fonda in a cameo role) unexpectedly cancels his leave and informs Lawson that he is to be assigned to a British infantry commando unit in the New Hebrides Islands for a combat mission.

The British base is situated in the middle of a large open field, several hundred yards from the edge of the jungle; on the other side of the jungle is an observation and communications post controlled by the Japanese. Shortly after Lawson's arrival at the British base, there is a commotion as a patrol of British soldiers sprint out of the jungle and across the open field, pursued by the Japanese. The base commander, Col. Thompson (Harry Andrews), instructs his men to keep well back, out of enemy range; they watch as the patrol are cut down by Japanese machine-gun fire.

Lawson's commando group is instructed to reach the Japanese post and destroy their radio transmitter, to prevent their relaying the existence of an American naval convoy which is scheduled to appear on the horizon in three days. The post's radio operator transmits an "all's well" signal every night at midnight; it will be Lawson's job to transmit a fake signal (in Japanese) to buy the Allies another 24 hours before the attack is discovered.

The commando group is led by Captain Hornsby (Elliott), a very British officer from the upper classes who apparently has a history of foolhardiness. The other members of the squad are draftees from Singapore, whose enthusiasm for fighting leaves something to be desired: Tosh (Caine), a cynical Cockney who is also the squad's medic; Jock (Bannen), a lean Scot whom Lawson at first considers slightly cracked for skipping on patrol and singing the Teddy Bears' Picnic, Campbell (Ronald Fraser), a fat Glaswegian; gray-haired Sergeant Johnstone (Percy Herbert); Scott the radio operator (Harvey Jason); and the other soldiers ! Griffiths, Rogers, Currie, Connolly, and Riddle.

』There were an additional two men on this patrol. One stepped on a land mine and another was killed when extricating from the Japanese listening post.』

By the time the squad reaches the Japanese post, Riddle, Connolly, and Currie have been fatally shot in a botched ambush of a Japanese patrol ! which, Tosh mutters to Lawson, was botched entirely due to Hornsby's incompetence: the ambushers were positioned on both sides of the trail, and the dead men seem to have been the victims of friendly fire. Johnstone also is wounded in another encounter. Since the squad can't carry him with them, Hornsby leaves Johnstone with a packet of cigarettes; shortly thereafter, Johnstone is discovered by the Japanese and his throat slit.

As the men prepare to carry out their mission at the Japanese base, Scott slips and drops the radio with which Lawson was supposed to have sent the midnight transmission, breaking several of the valves. Hornsby determines to carry on anyway, by taking over the Japanese radio hut himself and using their radio to send the "all's well". Lawson flatly refuses to take part in any such scheme, giving the excuse that Hornsby is disobeying their orders with this extemporization. Nevertheless, Hornsby walks boldly into the Japanese camp and enters the radio hut without being spotted; he knocks out the Japanese radio operator with the butt of his pistol and motions to Lawson and Scott. Scott goes to the hut; Tosh urges Lawson to go, if only because Hornsby's and Scott's lives now depend on him; but Lawson still refuses. Meanwhile, the Japanese radio operator comes to, and in the ensuing fracas both Scott and Hornsby are killed. Lawson finds himself in the mud under a hut, staring into the dead Hornsby's face.

With Hornsby dead, Lawson is now the ranking officer, with only himself, Tosh, Campbell, Jock, Griffiths, and Rogers left alive ! and Jock has been wounded in the debacle at the Japanese base. Furthermore, the Japanese Major Yamaguchi (Takakura) is now determined that they should not get back to the British base and report the secret Japanese airfield and planes they have discovered. The Japanese set up loudspeakers in the trees, through which Yamaguchi exhorts the Allied men to give themselves up; he says he'll see that they are well treated. Lawson and Tosh agree that Yamaguchi is not to be trusted, but Campbell is positively in favor of surrender, and he works at Griffiths as Jock gets weaker from his wound. Finally, while Lawson and Tosh are asleep, Campbell tries to sneak off into the jungle; but Jock spots him and asks where he's going. Campbell strangles Jock, wakes Griffiths and Rogers, and the three of them run off.

Lawson and Tosh must now make their way back to base alone. Yamaguchi attempts to outwit them psychologically, using the lives of Griffiths and Rogers as bargaining chips. (Campbell, on the other hand, has been killed in gruesome fashion after the Japanese discovered on his person a ring belonging to one of the officers the patrol ambushed.) As Lawson and Tosh reach the edge of the open field separating the jungle from the British base, Yamaguchi announces that they have three minutes left to surrender; Japanese soldiers have the field covered with machine guns. At this point Lawson suggests that they give Yamaguchi a taste of his own medicine. They double back, locate the Japanese major, and shoot him from the cover of the bushes, leaving the Japanese forces leaderless and in disarray. They then sprint out across the field, zig-zagging to avoid enemy fire, while the British once again gather out of range to watch their progress. Despite cover fire from the base, one of the pair is hit and falls, then the other.

But then one of the fallen men rises and staggers into the British base, where he collapses. A crowd gathers around him. He stands up, and it is revealed that it is Tosh that has survived. Colonel Thompson asks who the other man was who was killed in the field, to which Tosh replies, "A hero. He killed fifteen Japs single-handed ! thirty, if you like." The film closes with a long shot of Tosh as he walks back out to collect Lawson's body.

Production In actuality, the Japanese never were in the New Hebrides in World War II; the American forces arrived in May 1942.[2] The film was made on Boracay Island in the Philippines[3] by the same crew and using many of the same sets of Jack Starrett's The Losers.[4] Robert Aldrich recalled that the production company ABC Pictures, wanted another version of his The Dirty Dozen and that To Late the Hero, a property that could use the some of the same elements, had been languishing in studio drawers for over a decade.[5] The idea of the film came from an unpublished novel called Don't Die Mad by Robert Sherman who had worked on several films with Aldrich.[6]

Besides echoing The Dirty Dozen, the film had elements of a hedonistic U.S Navy officer being reluctantly sent on a British commando mission as in The Bridge on the River Kwai with a theme of a group of English and Scottish soldiers literally at each others throats led by an incompetent officer from The Long and the Short and the Tall. The attitudes depicted in the World War II film made during the Vietnam War era reflected the 1960's with one character talking about "long haired conscientious objectors" . The poster advertising the film showed a fallen soldier dressed in a 1960's American uniform and holding an M16 rifle. In contrast to the British soldiers who kill each other and wounded Japanese soldiers, the film featured Ken Takakura as an English speaking Japanese officer who unlike Japanese officers in World War II refuses to execute his prisoners, with the exception of one who had looted a dead Japanese Officer and cut his finger off to steal his ring. His character apologises for being unable to control his men.

Aldrich was requested to film two separate endings for the American and English audiences, one with Robertson surviving.[7]

ABC Pictures first release was Charly where Cliff Robertson won the Academy Award for Best Actor, however Aldrich wouldn't let Robertson leave the Philippine set to attend the ceremony. Aldrich said he wanted "anyone but Cliff Robertson" for the lead role but he was overruled by the studio.[

Too Late the Hero is a 1970 Movie Poster
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