Too Late the Hero

Synopsis: A WWII film set on a Pacific island. Japanese and allied forces occupy different parts of the island. When a group of British soldiers are sent on a mission behind enemy lines, things don't go exactly to plan. This film differs in that some of the 'heros' are very reluctant, but they come good when they are pursued by the Japanese who are determined to prevent them returning to base.
Genre: Action, Drama, War
Director(s): Robert Aldrich
Production: ABC
Rotten Tomatoes:
145 min

Yes, sir, I'll give Capt. Nolan your message

soon as he returns.

Get him now.

- Yes, sir.

- Do you hear me?

Get him now!

Oh, boy.

He's pretty burned up, isn't he?

The old man wants to see you, right away.

Oh, God, that's all I need.

Good luck.

Come in.

- Excuse me, sir.

- What's happened?

That was Admiral Dawes on the radio, sir.

- I mean, it was Admiral Dawes personally.

- So?

I told him what you told me, sir...

that you weren't in,

and we were still looking for Lt. Lawson.

- And?

- And that didn't seem to satisfy him, sir.

It doesn't satisfy me, either.

What about Lawson?

- He's nowhere on the base, sir.

- Look off the base.

Send out the Shore Patrol.

Bring him in, I don't care where he is.

Yes, sir. We've done that, sir.

If you've done that,

there's nothing else to tell me, is there?

No, sir, nothing else.

I just thought you'd like to know

what was going on.

Lt. Lawson!

If you're heading for the P.X.,

get us some more beer.

Anybody seen Lt. Lawson?

- Sam, where you going?

- I thought I'd have me a little grub.

- Wanna come?

- No, I ate already.

There he is!

Lt. Lawson!

Capt. Nolan wants to see you right away, sir.

- Who, me?

- That's right, Lieutenant.

Please, sir. Get in.

Yeah, I'll get in.

- What does he wanna see me about?

- I don't know, sir.

See you tonight, girls.

First come, first served.

You can draw straws.

Here we are, sir.

- Keep the meter running, boys.

- Yes, sir.

- The old man wanna see me?

- Boy, does he wanna see you.

- Yes, sir.

- Hi, John.

What's all the excitement?

They said you were looking for me.

Is that right?

By the way...

how'd you make out with that funny broad

at the club last night?

I was under the impression

that the funny broad was with you.

Hell, I brought her, but she really liked you.

That's why I left.

I wouldn't wanna appear ungallant...

but I think I'd just as soon

do without your assistance in that direction.

That's nice.

I thought I was doing you a favor.

Anyway, what's all the panic?

I was just getting ready to eat.

I have a job for you.

What, before I go on leave?

Yes, before you go on leave.

All right, as long as

I'm on that midday plane tomorrow.

Very gracious of you,

but it'll take a little longer than that.

Can't, John.

I got a four-weeks' leave coming.

- Later.

- Later nothing.

High noon tomorrow, I'm on that plane.

I'm gonna be in Frisco Sunday night.

We're flying you out of here this afternoon.

You'll be in the New Hebrides Sunday night.

The New Hebrides?

I've your orders here.

You'll report to a British Combat Unit

on one of the islands.

They need someone who speaks Japanese.

Combat Unit? What's that?

What the hell is that?

First you talk about postponing my leave,

now you're talking about combat?

There are three other officers

in the radio section.

Two of them speak better Japanese than me.

- They are all a lot older than you.

- That's good, they're mature.

But who picked on me?

I did. And it's not a question

of picking on you.

The British are organizing this for us...

and it's gonna involve

a certain amount of physical hardship.

We have to supply the man.

In my opinion, you're the man for the job.

No, John, negative.

Pick Antonelli, he likes all that military crap.

Not me, no.

I'm sending you, Lieutenant.


I'm Sam, don't you remember?

Sit down.

- Don't be...

- Sit down, Lieutenant.

I have to comply with an instruction

from higher authority.

A lot higher.

In order to do that, I'm obliged to make do

with the best possible personnel I have.

I know you're a long way

from being right for the job...

but only you begin to meet

the physical requirements.

Fortunately, they don't appear

to be concerned about much else.

So pack your things and report

to the Transportation Officer in 25 minutes.

You mentioned a Combat Unit.

I guess that means a bunch of limeys

running around...

playing soldier, getting shot at, right?

You may not remember this

or you may not be aware of it...

but I volunteered for the service

because as a language specialist...

I was gonna get a bar on my shoulder

and be able to sit by a radio...

and eavesdrop on those fiendish Orientals.

If they're gonna change those rules...

I just might have to resign that commission.

That's your privilege.

And if I do...

you'll have to send another officer.


The order specifies

"Japanese-speaking personnel."

If you resign your commission,

the Navy would be happy to accept it...

and send you out there

as a Seaman Second Class.

Would you like me to arrange that

for you right now?

Yes, sir?

- I can't win, can I?

- No, you can't.

Incidentally, this operation is something

the British are mounting for our benefit...

so it wouldn't hurt to show them courtesy.

- Courtesy?

- That's right.

You'll get along better if you don't

call them "limeys." That kind of thing.

I don't care

whether I get along with them or not.

Listen, you miserable bastard,

I'm not interested in your problems.

We lost two PT boats yesterday

not 2 miles from that bay down there.

I have to spend the rest of this day

writing to folks back in the States.

"Dear Mrs. Smith, a funny thing happened

to your boy last night. He got burnt up."

What shall I tell them?

"Too bad your kid couldn't be a bit smarter.

"If he spoke Japanese, we coult've

gotten him a job sitting on his ass.

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Robert Aldrich

Robert Burgess Aldrich (August 9, 1918 – December 5, 1983) was an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. His notable credits include Vera Cruz (1954), Kiss Me Deadly (1955), The Big Knife (1955), Autumn Leaves (1956), Attack (1956), What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964), The Flight of the Phoenix (1965), The Dirty Dozen (1967) and The Longest Yard (1974). Aldrich was portrayed by Alfred Molina in the anthology television series Feud (2017), which received highly positive reviews. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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