Manila Calling (1942) Poster

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Great Performance By Carole Landis
classichollywoodbeauties3 November 2014
If you are a fan of 1940s actress Carole Landis this is a must-see movie. I'm thrilled that Fox has finally released it on DVD. Carole plays a showgirl who gets trapped with a group of soldiers in the Phillipines during World War 2. Her costar and love interest is the always terrific Lloyd Nolan. This drama has a really wonderful cast including Cornel Wilde, Elisha Cook Jr, and James Gleason. The groups tries to stay alive on a plantation when they get attacked by the enemy. Manila Calling has some great action and a few heart wrenching scenes. It's one of my favorite WW2 movies and one of Carole's best performances. TEN STARS!!!!! For years this movie was very hard to find but now Manila Calling is available on DVD from amazon and movies unlimited. I highly recommend it :-)
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My comments about this film are formulated from the mind of a young boy of nine or ten.
mrmiyage23 January 2000
The war in my town of Cabanatuan in the center of Luzon island in the Philippines just ended although there were still Japanese die-hards hiding in the foothills around our town, taking pot shots at GIs, civilians etc. I remember seeing this movie, "Manila Calling," in this kind of postwar atmosphere. I must have been in first grade, knowing no English except "Hello Joe," "Victory Joe," "Got chewing gum, Joe?" but I remember understanding and being able to follow the story line or plot of the movie. I loved this movie as I loved all the other American war movies that I saw as a little boy, just delivered from the misery of war and the brutality of the Japanese conquerors. The GIs and General MacArthur were our heroes. After a span of more than five decades I can remember vividly Lloyd Nolan's character trying to outwit the Japs and get an old, broken down two-seat civilian airplane started so he can escape. It's kind of hazy, being not able to understand the dialogue, but I do remember that before fleeing from the Japanese, Nolan and the townspeople were desperate in their attempt to find fresh water as the Japanese either poisoned or cut off the town's water supply. I wish I can see this movie again, either on TV or to purchase or rent a VHS version of it.
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Buy War Bonds At This Theater
GManfred7 August 2010
It's great when a good picture shows up when you weren't expecting one - and this was a good picture. Can't tell if it was a strong 'B' or a weak 'A', but it was worth the 80 minutes I spent on it. It is a jingoistic, patriotic, support-the-troops World War II film that is thoroughly enjoyable. Lots of action throughout, and with lots of dead (as I lose myself in the heat of the moment) Japs, and with good jobs all around in the acting department. Stalwart Lloyd Nolan is the star of the picture, but when Carole Landis is on screen it's hard to take your eyes off her.

Nolan leads a group of civilian engineers in the Phillipines trying to string wire prior to the arrival of Japanese forces. They wrest a ranch/farm from a garrison of Japanese soldiers as a base of operations and Landis arrives with another civilian purported to be her boyfriend - or maybe not. From there on things don't go well for the Americans, among them James Gleason as a caricature of an Irishman and Cornel Wilde as an assistant engineer.

There are several good firefights and a rousing speech on the short wave by Nolan, and I gave the whole production a rating of 7. It was at least that good. This film is not available in any format and I bought a print from one of the many fly-by-night film copiers found in magazines and newspapers.
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Pretty Good Flagwaver
gordonl5621 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers

This pretty good 20th Century Fox B-production delivers plenty of flag-waving action and the like. The film is set in the Philippines just after the fall of Bataan.

A group of American construction workers and a few Filipino soldiers are making their way through the jungle to the coast. They hope to snag a boat and sail to Australia or the like.

They are armed with a collection of weapons gleamed from various sources, hunting rifles, ex-Army rifles and a few captured Japanese weapons. The group includes, Lloyd Nolan, Cornel Wilde, James Gleason, E. Cook Jr, Jean Louis Heydt, Harold Huber, Ted North, Martin Kosleck and Ralph Byrd. As they go through the bush, they destroy anything that might be of use to the oncoming Japanese Forces.

The group comes up on a small plantation which serves as a radio station for the surrounding area. The men jump a detachment of Japanese troops manning the radio station, killing most, and running off the rest. The men however discover that there is little in the way of food and supplies. The few Japanese who had escaped now take up spots in the jungle and snipe at the Americans. They also blow up the water supply.

Now we have an unexpected arrival at the plantation. Carole Landis, a hard bitten showgirl shows. She is also on the run from the Japanese. Needless to say, Landis, who is built like the proverbial brick ……., is easy on everyone's eyes.

In the meantime, some Japanese reinforcements have arrived and try an attack. The Americans and Filipinos manage to beat back the assault, but lose several of their number. The Japanese now have a fighter strafe the hilltop station. The men get in a lucky shot and bring the aircraft down for a crash landing near the station.

Cornel Wilde figures the Japanese have the group surrounded. He suggests they put the radio station to good use and broadcast to the locals. He figures it will help morale among the Filipino people who might be listening. The group is all for it and soon has the radio up and running. One of the group, Harold Huber, has also repaired the Japanese fighter. He just happens to also be a pilot. Huber figures he can take one of the wounded men and Miss Landis and make for the coast.

Needless to say the Japanese are not amused with the whole set-up. Snipers and the odd attack are whittling away the numbers of the group. Cornel Wilde is soon plugged and Lloyd Nolan steps up.

He sends Huber off with the wounded and Miss Landis. Landis however refuses to go, and stays to help man the radio. The Japanese by this time have whistled up some heavy duty assistance. A squadron of bombers appears and starts to plaster the station. Of course the film ends with Nolan, Kosleck and Landis broadcasting as the bombs start to rain down.

This one is a pretty good wartime flag-waver, with lots of action and a better than expected story.

It was nice to see Martin Kosleck in something besides a Nazi uniform. Kosleck was everyone's Nazi of choice when casting wartime films. I also would watch anything with the buxom Carole Landis. She never quite hit true stardom before her early death at age 29. Landis, (The Blonde Bomber) never seemed to give a bad performance.

The director here is Herbert Leeds. Leeds was best known for several Charlie Chan, Mr. Moto and Michael Shayne films. The cinematographer was long serving, Lucien Andriot. Andriot started in films in 1909 and finished in 1960. He was a competent pro who worked on several hundred productions These include the wartime films, Paris AFTER DARK, SECRET AGENT OF JAPAN, THE SULLIVANS and THEY CAME TO BLOW UP America,
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A tribute to American soldiers in the Luzon during world war II
brandtre3 October 1999
Manilla calling chronicles the activities of a group of Americans, cut off and trapped in Luzon by the Japanese advance. They elected to hide in the mountains rather than surrender and go to Japanese prison camps. Lloyd Nolan plays a role as a tough guy with a soft heart. It has little hype and no revisionist history, an accurate account of how it was.
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A better than average American propaganda film.
MartinHafer2 February 2019
"Manila Calling" is a WWII propaganda film made to bolster the war effort. Being made in 1942, it came out about the same time that the US was in some of its darkest days of the war...when victory seemed out of reach. Just after the fall of the Philippines came this encourage everyone that just because these islands fell does not mean that the war is over or even close to it.

The story begins just after the fall of the islands. A group of American and Filipino folks have gathered together to form a band of guerillas. Their goal is to resist and fight the Japanese military occupation to the end. The film is about their struggle and eventual decision to create a clandestine radio station to encourage the locals to fight.

This is a decent propaganda film because although this ragtag group of folks seem to have almost super-human fighting abilities, they are NOT impossible to stop. One by one they are killed and the message is not that resistance is without costs or that impossible odds are actually very possible....something I appreciated. Worth seeing if a bit jingoistic at times.
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b_movies29 January 2000
During the late 60's & early 70's N.Y. WWOR CHANNEL 9 would run the same movie every day for a week (this was a long time before VCR's). I would watch it every chance I had, unfortunately it's not currently available in any format. This movie is where Steven Spielberg came up with the ever so "original" sniper praying to hit his mark. As I remember the soldiers were stationed in a barbedwire fenced compound which reminds me of the T.V. series Daktari. The "japs" would snipe at the Americans, and in turn the Scottish sniper would slip out and hunt the "japs". Other films of this quality; BATAAN, GUNG HO! (1943)
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Cliché calling
AAdaSC17 November 2015
Lloyd Nolan (Lucky) leads a small group of US guerrillas engaged in warfare against the invading Japanese in the Phillipines. The purpose of the guerrillas is debated and it is finally agreed that they are there to broadcast the truth to the world.

The main problem with this film is the manner which most of the cast play it. Lloyd Nolan seems the only one taking this situation seriously. Elisha Cook Jr (Gillman) seems more interested in his pet monkey and chicken, which is ridiculous, and showgirl Carole Landis (Edna) fires out one too many wisecracks as do many others in the cast. This is a serious war situation! Something else – Cornel Wilde (Jeff) is the group's leader for most of the film but just doesn't have the presence and is totally undermined in his position by Nolan who seems the far more commanding personality. Bad casting. The story is flag-waving propaganda with a corny broadcast at the end. It's OK to watch but I was disappointed with this effort.
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