NONE BUT THE BRAVE was the only directorial effort from Frank Sinatra, who demotes himself to a supporting role in this 1965 Let’s-Pretend-Men-Are-Brothers WW2 flick. It looks good in color, shot on the Hawaiian island of Kauai by cameraman Harold Lipstein.
Fanciful story has two platoons, one American, one Japanese, stranded together on an isolated island. A truce is arranged and for a while, despite misgivings and grumblings in the ranks, the enemies work together to survive. For a while. Sinatra does fine with his whiskey-drinking, wisecracking role as pharmacist turned doctor-by-default, and he gives the larger roles to Clint Walker and Tatsuya Mihashi. A huge mistake was casting son-in-law Tommy Sands (married to Nancy S. until shortly after this movie came out) who delivers one of the worst mugging jobs of the 60s (or since the 1860s) as a gung-ho lieutenant. There’s ham—and then there’s an entire giant snorting one-ton bush hog.
The script lays on irony with a trowel. Reviews were muted, box-office came in at the years #42 position. With Brad Dexter, Tony Bill (spare us), Sammy Jackson, Richard Bakalyan, Rafer Johnson, Christopher Dark, Takeshi Kato, Kenji Sahara and Toru Ibuki. Trivia calls forth that this was the movie where Brad Dexter saved Frank’s life from an undertow, earning grazie amico mio from The Chairman with a role in Frank’s next flick, a hit, the much better Von Ryan’s Express. Meanwhile, hapless son-in-law Tommy got dumped by Nancy and a vindictive Frank pretty much squashed Tomboys career (not that his crazyass performance here would help any). 106 minutes.