‘Cry Havoc’

For years I have waited for ‘Cry Havoc’ to be released so I could watch the complete movie. The snitches and snatches I had seen were of two women fighting over the same guy whom you never see in the movie. What was going on in the movie? What happened to the nurses at the end of the story? Where were the guys? When I saw it had been released in the WB Archive Collection I had to have it.   After purchasing and watching the complete movie I got it. ‘Cry Havoc’ is the serious version of ‘The Women’. And even though offered from the WB Archive Collection it is pure MGM. And even though Joan Blondell’s picture is on the front of the DVD case make no mistake, Margaret Sullavan is the star of this movie.

It’s an ensemble cast with one star, a few ‘B’ stars and two great character actresses, Fay Bainter and Connie Gilchrist. The movie was based on a play about 2 army nurses in charge of civilian volunteer nurses. Besides Robert Mitchum dying in Ella Raines arms the only other hunk we see is the face of ‘Lil Abner’ painted on the side of the truck the female supply volunteer drives back and forth to Marivèles.

And the only time we see Margaret Sullavan’s characters husband: is in a long shot with binoculars held to his face. Frances Gifford’s character (yes Frank’s mother) mentions when the girls are walking to their bunker that she ‘likes his looks’ she is asked ‘how can you tell from here’ she responds ‘I don’t have to see his face do I?’

This is a serious movie released in 1944 about what happened on Bataan in May of 1942.  How a handful of nurses and women civilian volunteers who weren’t able to be evacuated to Corregidor were able to treat the thousands of wounded or sick American or Allied forces, without being resupplied with food, medicine or reinforced with trained medical personnal that would have helped in saving the thousands that died during this dark time in the Pacific during WWII.


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