Hell to Eternity (DVD)
Jeffrey Hunter, David Janssen, Vic Damone and George Takei star in this hard-hitting war story based on the life of a boy raised by a Japanese family in Los Angeles who must fight the nation and culture he knows and loves -- From Hell to Eternity.Taken in as a homeless boy on the streets of Los Angeles, Guy Gabaldon (Jeffrey Hunter--King of Kings) was raised in a Japanese-American family with George (George Takei--"Star Trek") as his brother. Drafted and sent to Hawaii just before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Guy must face the reality of fighting the Japanese -- and the fact that his knowledge of the language makes him invaluable to the United States war effort.
Hell to Eternity
(1962) sets out to tell the true story of Guy Gabaldon, a white Angeleno raised from boyhood by a family of Japanese-Americans. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, his parents are interned, his brothers enlist to fight in Europe, and Guy (Jeffrey Hunter)--after clearing it with mama-san--offers the Marines his services in the Pacific as an interpreter. During the battle for Saipan (reenacted by director Phil Karlson on the island of Okinawa) he undergoes several transformations, from reluctant warrior to implacable avenger to, ultimately, a truce-seeker trying to save lives on both sides. That's a fine-sounding dramatic trajectory, but the two-hours-plus Allied Artists production is patchy, with some amateurish acting in the Los Angeles portion (including an early appearance by George Takei) and an excruciating, wishfully raunchy night of shore leave in Hawaii before shipping out to the war zone. Sessue Hayakawa of Bridge on the River Kwai
fame dominates the final sequences as the Japanese commandant. --Richard T. Jameson