The Late Company B Star_onStar_onStar_onStar_on 4.0 4.0 from 1 reviews
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Examines a combat group that was taken down during WWII.

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Available on Running time 45 minutes.

Cast and Crew

World War II

Visitor Reviews

The Late Company B
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Bob Perkins

A World War II Army film, "The Late Company B" presents a haunting fable about the importance of training to the survival of soldiers in combat. Ghosts of the dead soldiers of "The Late Company B" rise from a Pacific island cemeterey to ask each other what happened. In flashback we see the men in training. Each man shirks a little responsibility. One saves his extra pair of boots for inspection only, instead of breaking them in for use. Another skips scheduled maintainance on his GI truck. Buddies spend their time drinking Cokes at the PX instead of eating that nutritious chow at the mess hall. The company commander is too busy with paperwork to drive the men harder. Then in jungle combat, each of these little faults results in critical failure. The truck hauling extra ammunition breaks down. The Coke boys don't have the stamina to carry the ammo. The company is pinned down and wiped out, because of a lot of "little things." Long after the Army declared this training film obsolete, unit commanders who remembered the film from their own early training would write to the Army Motion Picture Depository to request it, so they could show it to their own troops. It sticks in your mind. Shot in 35mm black-and-white on studio sets, the film has a Hollywood gloss. Typical of Army training films of World War II, "The Late Company B" presented a powerful message in a compressed time package, and the message stuck with GIs who saw it. The challenge in World War II was to standardize and streamline training for vast numbers of inductees at bases all over the country, and films like "The Late Company B," produced at the Army's Signal Corps Photographic Center, were the perfect solution. A footnote about production of “The Late Company B” is buried in Army files. The film shows the company commander putting off his responsibility, to enforce training discipline, in the same way his soldiers put off their responsibilities to maintain equipment and personal fitness. Officers who reviewed the film when it was produced suggested that these scenes be deleted, because they were uncomfortable with the suggestion that the fault for the company’s combat failure was shared by the commander. However, the commander’s complicity remained a part of the finished film.