Wake Island

Synopsis: In November 1941, Major Caton takes command of the small Marine garrison on Wake Island. His tendency toward spit and polish upsets the men's tropical lassitude, but Pearl Harbor changes everything. Soon the island is attacked and the Marines pull together day by day; but how long can they hold out?
Genre: Action, Drama, War
Director(s): John Farrow
Production: MCA Universal Home Video
  Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
88 min

[ Taps ]

[ Man Narrating ]

Wake Island is a tiny dot

in the midst of the Pacific,

4,254 air miles from San Francisco.

Until 1941, it was known

only as a stepping stone

for the Pan American Clippers.

In June of that year,

the United States Marines landed.

Present arms!

[ Bugle Call ]

By the end of October, 1941,

they had made progress.

Six five-inch naval guns like these

had been emplaced.

In addition, they had 12 mobile

three-inch antiaircraft guns.

A squadron of 12 Grumann F4F3's,

nicknamed "wildcats," ere based at Wake.

And the 385 officers and men

of the First Defense Battalion,

United States Marine Corps...

were constantly on the alert,

patrolling the skies daily.

[ Indistinct Shouts ]

Left shoulder arms!

Right shoulder arms!

Late in 1941,

Headquarters Marine Corps...

assigned a new commanding officer

to this tiny garrison.

To the rear, march!

His name:
Major Geoffirey Caton.

His record:
long and active.

In Pearl Harbor on a November morning,

Major Caton makes his farewells.

[ Girl ]

With the compliments

of your daughter, sir.

Well! Say, this is something.

Open it.

"To Daddy from Cynthia,

November, 1941. "

It cost me

an awful lot of money.

I'll bet it did.

Practically all my savings.

You know, you are getting a little thin.

Better catch up on your ice cream sodas.

Thanks, Daddy.

I'll be gone a long time.

Thanks a lot!

Well, what goes with thanks?

Where is this old

Wake Island, anyhow?

Oh, it's just a little strip of sand

with a lot of water around it.

Good-byes are awful, aren't they?

Well, you let yourself in for a lot of them

when you married a marine.

I know.

What, again?

I'd feel like this

if you were going away overnight.

Next time I leave,

I'm gonna bring a bucket.

Here's where I leave ya.



Thanks for showin' me the town.

Aloha nui kako.

Oh, save it till I come back.

Here. Thanks, Charlie.

[ Sobs ]

Mr. McCloskey!

Mr. McCloskey!

Good morning.

Oh. Morning.

I don't suppose you got

a bar on this boat.

Can't even offer you

a cold shower.

Have we got there yet?

No. We won't be in

for some time.

Would you like

to slick up a little?

Look, General, you're a soldier

and I'm a civilian.

I got a government contract

with a mighty important job to do,

but there's not one word in it

about takin' orders from brass hats.

That goes for suggestions

about shavin' too.

Call me when we get there.

That's all I want from you.

Let me take another look

at our future home.

Yes, sir, I can see 'em

in me mind's eye--

big ones, little ones--

all guzzlin' and gruntin'...

and puttin'on weight.

Yes, sir. Hundreds of'em.

Hundreds of which?


Yes, sir.

That's what the ex-wrestling champ

of the Pacific Fleet has finally decided on.

Outta this outfit and into hogs.

That's me.

Last week it was turkeys.

Turks is out.

I just read a book.

Turks has got 2 49 pages

of diseases.

[ Plane Engines Droning ]

There she goes.

The old Clipper.

Ya great big beautiful

sweetheart, you.

A week, and I'll be aboard one of them.

Mr. Aloysius K. Randall,

United States citizen, tourist deluxe.

Monkeys like you

don't rate no Clippers.

Well, I got the dough,

and I got the old man's say-so.

Don't you worry, bub.

I'll be on it, all right.

Hey, look, Smacksie.

Right here I got 1 0 bucks,

and I'm gonna bet you the whole--

Where at did you

ever get 1 0 bucks?

I got it, all right.

And right now that 1 0 bucks

is sayin' that you don't leave.

'Cause why?

'Cause you'll ship over, that's why.

Ahhh. A float!

For me.

Oh, boy! One of them

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W.R. Burnett

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Wake Island" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 1 Oct. 2023. <https://www.scripts.com/script/wake_island_22992>.

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