‘Go For Broke!’ with Van Johnson

For today’s quick post, I just want to recommend Go For Broke!, a 1951 war movie from MGM. It’s actually in the public domain, but Warner Bros. Home Video did issue an official version in 2006 three-pack with Objective, Burma! and Never So Few.

Go For Broke! was written and directed by Robert Pirosh, who also penned William A. Wellman’s 1949 classic Battleground. Van Johnson, who also starred in Battleground, plays Lieutenant Michael Grayson, who is assigned to the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Much to his surprise, the group is made entirely of Japanese-Americans. They have all volunteered to fight for a government that was putting their families in internment camps. Yes, that topic is actually touched upon in the film, surprisingly.

Over the course of the film’s 90 minutes and between fighting with them in France and Italy, Grayson learns to respect his fellow soldiers and fight alongside them.

Several members of the 442nd actually played in the film and many of them are actually very good. Pirosh got performances in the film from the Japanese actors that are authentic. They don’t seem cardboard or flat, which can sometimes happen when you don’t have professional actors in a film. Johnson doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb among them.

Maybe Go For Broke! will show up on TCM, but if it doesn’t, seek out the three-pack that includes it. The set should be cheap… I got it for $5 at an FYE. Or, you can find the film in its entirety on YouTube:

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