The Familiar War
Having both been through the rigours of war during Guadalcanal Major Steve Lockhart (Pat O'Brien), commander of a Marine Raider battalion and Captain Dan Craig (Robert Ryan - Bombardier), commander of the Paramarines are sent to Australia for some R&R. It is there that Craig meets and falls for Flight Officer Ellen Foster (Ruth Hussey - The Philadelphia Story) of the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force much to Lockhart's disapproval who arranges for him and Craig to return to America causing bitterness between the two men. But after attending the training camp with the 100s of new marines they are sent on another mission which sees them stop over in Australia and a chance for Craig to marry Ellen.
"Marine Raiders" is what could be called a "business movie", not because it is about business but back in the early 1940s audiences enjoyed watching war movies and so it made good business sense to make movies such as this. But unlike other war movies from the early 1940's "Marine Raiders" has no big story, no big characters and no big action, just a collection of familiar elements drawn together to make a competent but forgettable war movie which lifted spirits through the heroics of American soldiers.
So as to the story well whilst the synopsis I wrote for "Marine Raiders" focuses more on the romantic and friendship tribulations the movie does have some action. We get to watch a lot of familiar scenes as the men wait it out in the jungle, consider the importance of certain things including what they are doing before doing battle plus some actual scenes of training. But we also see how for some the idea of romance during war complicates matters especially when those involved have experienced some harrowing times. As I said it is all familiar and director Harold D. Schuster tackles all of this in a solid but unremarkable manner.
Unremarkable is the word to describe "Marine Raiders" as whilst it features a few known actors such as Robert Ryan and Ruth Hussey their characters are thin and so their performances are just standard.
What this all boils down to is that "Marine Raiders" is nothing more than one of the many war movies which were made during the first half of the 1940s partly because it made business sense to give what the audience wanted but also to lift the spirits of the audience with some patriotic action. If you are a fan of war movies it might have some appeal but for those looking for some general war movie entertainment might find it forgettable.