We've Never Been Licked
(a.k.a. Fighting Command, reissue
(a.k.a. Texas to Tokyo, UK release title)
Directed by John Rawlins
Written by Norman Reilly Raine
A Walter Wanger Production
Released August 4, 1943
Using Texas A&M for background, with most of the
famous southwestern institution of learning, Walter Wanger has built an
interesting picture around the character of a student there who finally made
the supreme sacrifice in the war against Japan.
Film is not a college story per se, nor is it strictly
of the war, though combining the two effectively. Majority of the action
takes place at Texas A&M, at College Station, Texas, whose entire enrollment
of over 7,000 men appear in the footage. The story of Texas A&M in
itself makes good entertainment.
Richard Quine, newcomer to the screen, plays the son of
an officer , a former grad of the college who's now
seeing active service.
Quine immediately becomes unpopular; he seems to side with the cause of Japan
where he'd spent several years before coming to Texas A&M. Ultimately,
he's dismissed from the college after turning over the formula for a gas
antidote to a Japanese ring operating at the school, and goes to Tokyo, where he
becomes a yellow-peril Lord Haw-Haw.
While the implication is strong that he has turned
pro-Axis, actually Quine has disgraced himself in the eyes of his fellow
students and others in order to use his Japanese connections in tipping off a
planned sea battle. Permitted to accompany a bomber squadron, he kills the
pilot, and dives the plane into a Japanese aircraft carrier to which finishing
touches of destruction are lent by an Allied bombardment from the air. The
battle scenes in which Wanger had the cooperation of the Navy, are extremely
exciting and well-photographed.
Quine and Noah Berry, Jr. are paired as Texas A&M
roommates. Quine fits the role laid out for him very well, the turncoat as
it were. The girl, daughter of a professor at the college who's fond of
Quine and knew his father before him, is played by Anne Gwynne, who has
an excellent screen personality.
Her father is played effectively by Harry
Davenport. Others include Martha O'Driscoll, Edgar Barrier and William
Frawley, last mentioned an American who is directing pro-Japanese activities in
In addition to Texas A&M songs, the picture
contains a ballad, "Me For You, Forever," written by Harry Revel and
Paul Francis Webster. It is inserted in a ball sequence. The college
numbers are "Spirit of Aggieland," "Aggie War Him," and
"I'd Rather Be a Texas Aggie."
from "We've Never Been Licked", including Robert Mitchum
in a scene marking his 8th motion picture appearance
The "Army Hour" radio program honors the new graduates of Texas A
& M who are preparing to join the United States Armed Forces. Many
of the school's alumni, such as Colonel Jason "Cannonball" Craig,
listen to the broadcast from their stations in the South Pacific.
Radio announcer Bill Stern then tells the story of Brad Craig,
Jason's son, who first attended Texas A & M in 1938: On the train
to the college, Brad meets and falls for Nina Lambert (Anne
granddaughter of chemistry professor "Pop" Lambert.
Brad has a
hard time adjusting to the rigors and traditions of the military
school, despite the constant counsel of his roommate, Cyanide
Jenkins. Bill tells Pop that he plans to quit college and return
to his home in the Philippines, but the professor convinces him to
stay. Later, at a late-night pep rally, Bill meets and quickly
becomes friends with two Japanese students, Matsui and Kubo.
and Nina date for his first two years at the college, though she
and Cyanide soon fall in love. The two finally admit their true
feelings to each other at a ball, but, out of loyalty to Brad,
they remain only friends. As the United States prepares for war in
the South Pacific, Brad receives the ire of his fellow cadets for
his continuous support of the Japanese. Brad's mind is changed,
however, when he sees photographs of the atrocities committed by
the Japanese in China.
At the beginning of his senior year, Brad
is accused of helping Matsui and Kubo steal a secret formula from
Pop's laboratory, though he is only pretending to be a traitor and
actually gives the Japanese spies a counterfeit formula. Brad is
soon forsaken by his fellow cadets, then expelled from the
college. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Brad goes to Japan,
where he performs on anti-American radio broadcasts.
Prior to the
Japanese attack on the Solomon Islands, Brad is taken aboard a
Japanese aircraft carrier, then is assigned an airplane so that he
can report on the battle from the sky. Seeing his window of
opportunity, Brad kills his Japanese pilot, then radios the
American flyers, who include Cyanide, of the position of the
Japanese fleet. The Americans win the sea battle with further help
from Brad, who commits suicide by crashing his plane onto the deck
of a Japanese carrier. As the "Army Hour" radio broadcast ends,
Brad is posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for
his self-sacrifice, and his father listens with pride to the
Anne Gwynne ... Nina Lambert
Noah Berry, Jr.
Martha O' Driscoll
Robert Mitchum (one of Mitch's 1st
Nick Grinde and Raine- Story Adaptation
John Rawlins- Director
Walter Wanger- Producer
Milton Krasner- Cinematographer
Philip Cahn- Editor
Harry Revel & Paul Francis Webster- song
"Me For You, Forever"