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The Fighting 69th


Price: $25.00 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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$25.00 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 10 left in stock. Sold by SOUTHWEST MEDIA and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A cocky recruit in the 69th Regiment during WWI becomes a hero and loses his life in the process.

Amazon.com

You'd have to be the world's biggest grouch to dislike a movie like The Fighting 69th. For starters it's got James Cagney as a smart-aleck from Brooklyn--can't go wrong there, can you?--and then you've got Pat O'Brien second-billed in a sentimentally iconic role as Father Duffy, the beloved and much-decorated real-life chaplain of the legendary Irish-American army regiment of World War I. The time is 1918, on the battlefields of France, but this is a 1940 Warner Brothers production, so you can bet there's plenty of blarney, bravery, and roughneck action as the Fighting 69th prepares to engage German forces in WWI's final offensive, the Battle of the Argonne. Up to that point, Jimmy Plunkett (Cagney) has proven less than worthy of fighting in the fearsome 69th. He's a Brooklyn punk with plenty of false bravado, but when bullets are flying and grenades are falling, he's nothin' but a yellow-bellied crybaby, making the kind of mistakes that get people killed--in this case, many of his closest comrades. He's eventually forced to find his courage, and does so with honor to spare. In classic Warner Bros. fashion, the wartime sentiment is ladled on so heavily that cynics may gag or burst out laughing, but the supporting cast is fantastic (especially Alan Hale Sr. and George Brent as quintessential Fightin' Irish heroes), and William Keighley directs with such energetic enthusiasm toward the material that you can't help but be swept up in the action. It's flag-waving fun, and Cagney's a constant pleasure, even as he's quivering in his boots.

Available separately or as part of the James Cagney Signature Collection, The Fighting 69th has been given the red-carpet treatment by Warner Bros., with a bevy of "Warner Night at the Movies" DVD bonus features from 1940, including a vintage newsreel, short subjects, two cartoons (including "The Fighting 69½th"), movie trailers and an audio-only radio adaptation of The Fighting 69th starring Pat O'Brien, Robert Preston and Ralph Bellamy. With all this stuff on one DVD, what's not to like? --Jeff Shannon


Special Features

  • Warner Night at the Movies 1940: Vintage newsreel, patriotic shorts "Young America Flies" and the Oscar-nominated "London Can Take It!", classic cartoons "The Fighting 69-1/2th" and "Pilgrim Porky"
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio-only bonus: radio adaptation with Pat O'Brien, Robert Preston, and Ralph Bellamy

Product Details

  • Actors: James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, George Brent, Jeffrey Lynn, Alan Hale
  • Directors: William Keighley
  • Writers: Dean Riesner, Fred Niblo Jr., Norman Reilly Raine
  • Producers: Hal B. Wallis, Louis F. Edelman
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 24, 2007
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MTEFWS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,777 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Fighting 69th" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Penumbra on October 2, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Warner Brothers does their usual excellent job with the DVD release of "The Fighting 69th." This is a beautifully restored print in glorious black and white.

The special features package contains "Warner Night at the Movies," consisting of a theatrical trailer ("Brother Orchid"), a newsreel ("Fleet Sails for Secret War Tests"), an Academy Award nominated short film about Londoners coping with the Blitz ("London Can Take It" ), a short about civil aviation pilot training programs ("Young America Flies"), and a B&W cartoon set on the Mayflower ("Pilgrim Porky"). Additional bonus material includes a color Merrie Melody cartoon, "The Fighting 69 1/2th," a 1949 Lux Radio Theater audio adaptation of "The Fighting 69th," and the theatrical trailer for "The Fighting 69th."

This is a stirring, sentimental, and patriotic film released in 1940 before American entered WWII. James Cagney and Pat O'Brien were outstanding actors, with great chemistry in the nine films they made together. The excellent supporting cast includes Alan Hale and Dennis Morgan.

The story revolves around the 165th US Infantry, which had previously been known as the 69th New York, an outfit composed mostly of Irish immigrants and several generations of their native born sons. In grand Hollywood tradition, everyone speaks with a brogue, fist fights break out with abandon, and references to shillelaghs, banshees and blarney are plentiful.

Jerry Plunket (Cagney), a tough mug from Brooklyn enlists so he can come home with a chest full of medals and be a big shot. He brags, cracks wise, and struts his way through boot camp, endearing himself to no one. But when he comes under fire, Plunket discovers he isn't as brave as he thought he was going to be.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By gobirds2 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 9, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
James Cagney plays a coward Jerry Plunkett in this sentimental film about the famous fighting Irish American regiment in the First World War. Prior to entering the military Cagney is a contemptible loudmouth braggart from Brooklyn. Once in Europe he turns into a squealing coward the first time he encounters the Germans bringing an array of enemy ordnance and death upon his regiment. Ultimately Cagney turns cowardice into courage with a little help from Pat O'Brien's influence as Father Duffy. The film seems somewhat dated but Cagney and O'Brien's performances, expertly orchestrated battle sequences and Owen Marks' editing make this film important and significant. The examination of heroism and cowardice weighed against burdensome feelings of camaraderie are expertly represented in this film.
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Format: DVD
Warner Bros. Pictures presents "THE FIGHTING 69TH" (1943) (90 min/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- The US 69th division was a national guard contingent comprised of Irish Americans, who fought with the Rainbow Division in the WWI years 1917-1918 --- Into this ethnic stronghold comes cocky Jerry Plunkett, a streetwise tough who is certain that he can lick the Germans single-handedly --- But during his first taste of real combat, Plunkett turns coward and inadvertently reveals the 69th's position --- Held responsible for the deaths of his companions, Plunkett is sentenced to a firing squad --- Thanks to a bomb that levels the stockade in which he is held, Plunkett set out to redeem himself on the battlefield.

The beauty of James Cagney's star performance is that he is as thoroughly convincing as a "yellow belly" as he is a hero.

The real-life personages depicted in The Fighting 69th include military priest Father Duffy (Pat O'Brien), future OSS leader Wild Bill Donovan (George Brent) and poet Joyce Kilmer (Jeffrey Lynn).

Another outstanding tour de force for Cagney!

Under the production staff of:
William Keighley [Director]
Norman Reilly Raine [Original Screenplay]
Fred Niblo Jr. [Original Screenplay]
Dean Riesner [Screenplay] (as Dean Franklin)
Louis F. Edelman [Associate Producer]
Hal B. Wallis [Executive Producer]
Adolph Deutsch [Original Music]
Tony Gaudio [Cinematographer]
Owen Marks [Film Editor]

BIOS:
1. William Keighley [Director]
Date of Birth: 4 August 1889 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Date of Death: 24 June 1984 - New York City, New York

2.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Stratiotes Doxha Theon VINE VOICE on March 18, 2007
Format: VHS Tape
In this classic, faith and action yield redemption for lost causes and several familiar names in history come to life. The acting is superb and the plot carries a good blend of action and drama. Cagney plays the quintessential tough-guy exterior stretched thin over the coward underneath who finally finds redemption outside himself. Pat O'Brien as Father Duffy was perfectly cast and gives humanity and depth to the character. George Brent is also perfectly cast as "Wild Bill" Donovan and provides a memorable performance. Very well done and one to enjoy often.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The Fighting 69th

The setting is World War I and Jerry Plunkett (played by James Gagney) is part of the New York army unit the "Fighting 69th". Plunkett is a cocky bragger that can't wait to see action and prove he is a real tough soldier. He very quickly alienates himself from his fellow soldiers and in particular his sergeant (played by Alan Hale). Only Father Duffy (played by Pat O'Brien) the chaplain is left to attempt to reason with Plunkett to change his attitude toward his fellow soldiers and accept the discipline necessary to become a member of his unit. The know-it-all Plunkett rejects Duffy and refuses to change.

When the 69th eventually enters combat and suffers casualties, Plunkett "turns yellow" and his noisy attempts to leave the battlefield result in the deaths of other soldiers. As his actions continue to disrupt the unit his commanding officer (played by George Brent) charges Plunkett with cowardice and places him under arrest for a court martial. Once again Father Duffy tries to help Plunkett to no avail. The unit moves out into combat again with Plunkett confined to await trial.

The objective of the 69th proves to be an extremely tough target. Rather than reveal the plot and spoil the movie suffice to say that Plunkett escapes confinement and joins the battle inspired to the degree to become a hero and turn the tide for the 69th. Albeit he doesn't survive, he dies saving the life of his sergeant.

I really enjoyed this movie especially because it included so many actors in bit parts that I remembered from the movies I viewed from my youth including Dennis Morgan, Dick Foran and William Lundigan.
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