The entire cast of Hell in the Pacific consists of two high-powered international stars: Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune. The time is World War II. A downed American marine pilot (Marvin), is stalked on a remote Pacific island by a Japanese navy officer (Mifune). The Japanese officer captures the American, but this situation is reversed when he manages to wriggle free. The two enemies finally decide to live and let live, each moving to their own separate portion of the island. By and by the adversaries come to rely upon one another to survive; they set up living quarters in a deserted camp, get drunk together, and almost -- but not quite -- become friends. The present ending of Hell in the Pacific is greatly at odds with director John Boorman's original vision, in which the Japanese officer angrily kills two Japanese soldiers who have come across the American and decapitated him. As it now stands, viewers are left with an explosive "lady or the tiger" denouement. ~
The film contains little dialogue, and much like its predecessor, is not dubbed or sub-titled, thus authentically portraying the frustration of restricted communication between the Japanese- and English-speaking. The film was entirely shot in the Rock Islands of Palau in the north Pacific Ocean, near the Philippines in the Philippine Sea.
The film was originally released with a rather abrupt ending, one that left many dissatisfied with the outcome of the struggle these men endured. The subsequent DVD release has an alternative ending, which while leaving the eventual destiny of the two ambiguous, was much more in line with the overall direction of the movie.
Both actors had real-life World War II combat experience: Marvin served with the US Marines in the Pacific, where he was wounded and received the Purple Heart; meanwhile Mifune served in the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force.
Release Date: February 10, 1969 @ The Sutton
Distrib: Cinerama Releasing