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Hell to Eternity

4.2 out of 5 stars 123 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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.

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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

Special Features

  • 1960s war movies trailer gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: Jeffrey Hunter, David Janssen, Vic Damone, Patricia Owens, Sessue Hayakawa
  • Directors: Phil Karlson
  • Writers: Gil Doud
  • Producers: Frank King, Irving H. Levin, Herman King, Maurice King
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Subtitled, NTSC, Black & White
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • 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: June 5, 2007
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000NTPG66
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,293 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hell to Eternity" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Martin Asiner on June 19, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Most movies about the Second World War either deal with brave men performing heroically as expected or less heroic men doing the unexpected. In HELL TO ETERNITY the focus is on a man who is neither brave nor cowardly. He is no Henry Fleming dreaming of great exploits. Rather he is a man driven by hate for the same people whom earlier he had once called his own. He is Guy Gabaldon, a real life U. S. Marine who won several decorations for valor fighting the Japanese on Saipan.
The movie begins with Gabaldon as a boy living in a troubled street in Los Angeles. He is homeless, friendless, and more than a little filled with rage at a world that has no place for a poor boy of mixed Hispanic origin. A Japanese family sees worth in him, and much as Don Corleone did with Tom Hagen in THE GODFATHER, agree to take him in and raise him as one of their own. The adult Gabaldon is played by Jeffrey Hunter, who has the uneviable task of playing Gabaldon at varying times in a psychologically varying condition. Gabaldon learns to speak fluent Japanese and his face beams with delight as he addresses his adopted matriarch as 'Mama-san.' Life in the United States is indeed sweet, at least until Pearl Harbor, when he is swept up into the maelstrom of war. He does not relish the thought of fighting his adopted people, and he suffers greatly from the image of shooting at Japanese soldiers. During his initial introduction to training, he is befriended by a pre-Fugitive David Janssen, who shows him the ropes of being a soldier. Gabaldon learns to count on Janssen as a soldier, a friend, savior. During a vicious battle, Gabaldon sees Janssen gunned down right in front of him, and at that point, his world view is turned upside down. He now hates the Japanese with a ferocity that amazes even his friends.
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Format: VHS Tape
Hell to Eternity depicts an unconventional manner of battling the enemy. A young Marine utilizes his foreign language skills in Japanese that he learned from his adopted family to influence and convince the enemy to surrender. This is a great WWII movie that shows a humanistic point of view of the war in the South Pacific.
This movie was insipred by a real-life Marine, Guy Gabaldon , a Mexican-American Marine from East Los Angeles. PFC Gabaldon " Maverick Marine" was credited with the capture of 1500 Japanese soldiers. He was initially awarded the Silver Star then later upgraded to the Navy Cross. Efforts have been made to petion for him to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
More interesting reading can be found in Guy Gabaldon's autobiography book "Saipan, Suicide Island".
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Format: VHS Tape
The scene where the little girl staggers out of the cave after a grenade is thrown in to flush out the Japanese soldiers was, according to Guy Gabaldon, a pivotal moment in his life. And it was a real-life event as the "Lone Wolf Marine" on Saipan. I should know because I was the child actor who portrayed the little girl shown on the VHS cover, and Guy was my coach.
It might help you to know that Guy approved of the movie and had no qualms about Jeffrey Hunter portraying an Italian American as himself. He was proud of the movie and proud of being a Marine.
Many years later when I looked him up and got to meet him and his beloved wife, he spoke of how the tragic death of that little girl on Saipan touched his heart and began to allow something mysterious to happen. He said that as she died, he prayed for her and felt God's presence.
That incident, along with the horrific sight and sounds of women and children being thrown or jumping to their deaths from the cliffs of Saipan, convinced him that in spite of military orders and strategies which were not working very well, (he was always "thinking outside the box"), there had to be a way to save civilians, as well as his fellow Marine and enemies' lives. And that is what he did as the "Pied Piper of Saipan, capturing over 800 enemy soldiers alive and marching them single-handedly as POW's.
This movie is worth watching simply because it is a true one about an American boy who embarks on the classic "Hero's Journey".
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Format: DVD
This is the story of Guy Gabaldon, an Hispanic juvenile, who is "adopted" by a Japanese family in Los Angeles before WW2. Growing up he learns to love and respect his "parents", their lifestyle, and to speak their language. When the family is sent off to an internment camp, Guy joins the Marine Corps. He is torn between the love of his parents and love of country. During the battle of Saipan he convinces hundreds of Japanese soldiers to surrender thus saving many lives, both Marines and Japanese. Based on the true life actions of Marine Hero Guy Gabaldon. Pretty good story and worth watching.
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Format: VHS Tape
Hell to eternity is a touching film, Jeffrey Hunter plays a young man with a poor home life who is adopted by a Japanese family prior to WWII. He is surrounded by people decrying the "japs" and endures a struggle of conscience. The only goodness and kindness he has ever experienced in his life was the gift of this Japanese family. His adopted family is placed in a relocation camp and his adopted brother proudly goes off to fight for the U.S. but he is left to struggle with his identity. He eventually does go to fight for the U.S. It is nice to see a different perspective, not all "Japs" are bad, war is never easy and a person must make a moral choice.
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