The Fighting 69th (1940) torrent download

The Fighting 69th

1940

Action / Adventure / Biography

6.7

Synopsis

"The Fighting 69th" is a First World War regiment of mostly New York-Irish soldiers. Amongst a cocky crew, perhaps the cockiest is Jerry Plunkett, a scrappy fellow who looks out only for himself. The officers and non-coms of the regiment do their best to instill discipline in Plunkett, and the chaplain, Father Duffy, tries to make Plunkett see the greater good, all to no avail. Behind the lines or in the trenches, Plunkett acts selfishly and cowardly, eventually costing the lives of many of his fellow soldiers. A final act of cowardice leads to terrible consequences, but Plunkett sees in them a chance to redeem himself...if only he can. —Jim Beaver

Director

William Keighley

Cast

James Cagney
as Jerry Plunkett
Pat O’Brien
as Father Duffy
George Brent
as Wild Bill Donovan
Jeffrey Lynn
as Joyce Kilmer
Alan Hale
as Big Mike Wynn
Frank McHugh
as "Crepe Hanger" Burke

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by lugonian 7 /10

Father Duffy's Regiment

THE FIGHTING 69th (Warner Brothers, 1940), directed by William Keighley, teams James Cagney and Pat O'Brien for the seventh time on screen. A fine pair of fine Irish actors who were reportedly best friends in real life, they were first united in HERE COMES THE NAVY (1934), followed by DEVIL DOGS OF THE AIR, THE IRISH IN US, CEILING ZERO (all 1935); ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES and BOY MEETS GIRL (both 1938).

In THE FIGHTING 69th, which is based on a factual presentation of the 69th's war record and set during the World War, features O'Brien in one of his best roles as Father Francis Duffy (an actual character), with Cagney playing Jerry Plunkett (a fictional character) from Brooklyn, NY, who joins the regiment. At first he defies authority and feels the world revolves around him, but when it is time for him to go out and face real combat, he changes his tune after hearing the sounds of bombs, seeing the sight of dead bodies around him, and goes into hysterical outbursts, showing that not only is he just a coward, but the one responsible for the death of several of the men in his company. In true Hollywood tradition, coward redeems himself when given a second chance, thanks to the grace of Father Duffy.

Robert Osborne, host of Turner Classic Movies, where this war story is shown, comments that THE FIGHTING 69th was one of the biggest money makers of 1940. With an all-star cast of only male performers, it presents Warner Brothers veteran stock players as George Brent, Jeffrey Lynn, Frank McHugh, Alan Hale, Dennis Morgan and Dick Foran, many playing actual men of The Fighting 69th, especially Lynn as famous poet Joyce Kilmer. In spite of it being historically inaccurate, good acting, humorous moments (especially by McHugh) and serious battle scenes make this still worth seeing. Beware of shorter prints. Originally distributed to theaters at 89 minutes, Turner Classic Movies had acquired a latter reissue 79 minute copy that eliminated the introduction of the main actors as shown through scenes/or outtakes from the movie with their faces over the names and their acting roles, along with some early portions of the story, and the closing casting credits. In order to view the complete print from the 1940 print, a 1990s video copy from MGM/UA had to be purchased or rented. After many years of having the 79 minute print presented on TCM, a complete 89 minute copy finally aired Saturday, July 29, 2006. (****)

Reviewed by bkoganbing 8 /10

The Other Irish American War Tradition

Recent American moviegoers who saw Martin Scorsese's great film, The Gangs of New York would probably think that the Civil War Draft Riots represented the unanimous Irish opinion on the American Civil War. Far from it and the regiment known as the 69th New York won honor and glory for itself in the Civil War.

The Spanish American War was over before it saw any action, but that was certainly made up for in World War I. The Fighting 69th as this film was called did the stuff legends are made of and a few personal legends came out of that conflict.

In the years 1938-1941 Hollywood turned out a whole load of patriotic type films. Either about past American wars or about military preparedness for the war to come, these flicks weren't deep or subtle. But they were great entertainment.

The Fighting 69th is based on two real American heroes, William J. Donovan and Father Francis P. Duffy, played by George Brent and Pat O'Brien and a fictional one named Jerry Plunkett played by James Cagney.

William J. Donovan (Will Bill as he was known)among other awards won the Congressional Medal of Honor. He had a distinguished career in the Harding-Coolidge Justice Department and also ran for Governor of New York in 1932, a bad year for Republicans which Donovan was. After this film was made, FDR appointed Donovan to head the Office of Strategic Services, our American intelligence service in World War II and the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency. His biography would be a great film, maybe someone will do it one day.

When Father Francis P. Duffy died in 1932, he was one of New York's beloved figures by all faiths. He was the chaplain of the regiment, having been so since the Spanish American War. During World War II, he never stayed behind the lines, he traveled with a combat medical unit and went where the fighting was the thickest. The closest person we've had to him recently was Father Mychal Judge of the NYC Fire Department who accompanied the firemen into the burning World Trade Center on 9/11/01. A couple of Catholic priests who walked the walk were Duffy and Judge.

After the war Duffy became pastor of the "Actor's church" on West 42nd Street in Hell's Kitchen, but near the theater district. When he passed on, a statue of him still there today was put in the triangle opposite Times Square. And that triangle was renamed Duffy Square.

Both Donovan and Duffy figure prominently in Cagney's story in The Fighting 69th. For the first half Cagney is his usual streetwise, cocky urban self. The second half of the film as he's brought to the realities of war reveal a different Plunkett. It's also a great test of what a fabulous player James Cagney was, to show the change in Plunkett's character. The main story line is what happens to Cagney in the film and he's brilliant.

If anyone is looking for a film about the causes of and how America got into World War I, this ain't the film. Some in current audiences will find it flag waving and super-patriotic and it sure is. But it's well acted flag waving.

One of these days someone may do a film that concentrates solely on the careers of either Donovan or Duffy. Hopefully soon.

Reviewed by Doylenf N/A

Famous regiment gets the stock company treatment from Warner Bros...

'The Fighting 69th' gets a lot of mileage out of every cliche you've ever seen in a war film. It's hokey corn from start to end--and yet, despite the fact that you've seen it all before--it's an enjoyable enough experience because of its stellar cast of Warner stock players.

James Cagney is the mug from Brooklyn who is nasty to one and all, described by one character as "the man they'd rather riddle with bullets than the Germans." Pat O'Brien is the true-life character of Father Duffy who has a major job on his hands trying to reform Cagney in time for the fadeout. Sensitive Jeffrey Lynn is Joyce Kilmer, the poet. Gruff Alan Hale is a tough sergeant. And just about every male contract player from William Lundigan to Frank McHugh to Dennis Morgan is present to depict the stereotyped characters that fill the screen.

As hokey as it is, it does a graphic job of showing what war is like under combat fire. The combat scenes are skillfully done, with shells and grenades and bombs making trenches hell and buildings collapse, all in very realistic fashion.

Cagney is his usual pugnacious self and his reform at the end is a little too abruptly handled. But the film is a brisk 80 minutes, as shown on TCM, and fairly entertaining if you can forgive the corn. Surprisingly, it is directed by William Keighley, whose sluggish work on "The Adventures of Robin Hood" caused him to be replaced by Michael Curtiz to give the film more punch. And yet, "The Fighting 69th" is anything but sluggish. A brisk, entertaining little war film.

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