Australia / English
"Mates Became Heroes. The Track Became Legend.
"A bitter battle is fought between Australian and Japanese soldiers along the Kokoda trail in New Guinea during World War II.
"Neighbours" this is not...
It's funny that the ending of this film has been criticised here as
unrealistic and melodramatic. One commenter even said it was of
"Neighbours" (soap opera) quality.
In fact the final scene is an exact reconstruction of a parade of
members of the 39th battalion before their commander, Lieutenant
Colonel Ralph Honner at the village of Menari. Every word spoken by
William McInnes (playing Honner) in this scene is taken from the
official record of the proceedings on that day.
So much for "Neighbours".
The film is good without being great. The budget supplies the reason.
What it does convey is the hostile terrain over which the Australian
soldiers had to lug all their supplies, including heavy artillery
pieces... and then they had to fight the Japanese, who heavily
outnumbered them, when they reached the top of the ranges.
These were part-time soldiers, reservists with inferior training and
green troops for the most part. Their job was to hold the line until
the professional veterans (back from North Africa) arrived to take
over. It was a war fought in platoon and section strength, with few
pitched battles. Ever since the survivors of the two reserve battalions
have been called "The Ragged Bloody Heroes", and deservedly so.
Recently these has been some revisionism among politically biased
historians, claiming that Kokoda was a waste of time and effort; that
the Japanese had no intention of invading Australia. While they may not
have been as serious about Kokoda as they were regarding the developing
disaster at Gualalcanal, one thing is certain: if the Japanese had not
been held back on the Kokoda Track, taking Port Moresby would have been
a prize too easily won to refuse. Taking Moresby, and perhaps then
Australia could have changed not only the war in the South West Pacific
area, but perhaps the whole course of WW2.
The men of the 39th battalion had no opportunity to speculate from
afar, and safety, on the political potential of Kokoda as relevant to
2006 politics. They had to fight and die where they stood. That is why
their story is worth telling, a story of small groups of men fighting
shadows in a jungle nightmare scenario, without the option of
|Nr of disks/tapes:||1|
|Storage device:||Divx 5|