We've Never Been Licked
Universal Pictures 
(a.k.a. Fighting Command, reissue title)
(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 action shot at 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 this country.  

    
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."

2 minutes from "We've Never Been Licked", including Robert Mitchum
in a scene marking his 8th motion picture appearance

Full Storyline

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 Gwynne), the 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.

Brad 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 ceremony.

Cast:

Anne Gwynne ... Nina Lambert

Noah Berry, Jr.

Martha O' Driscoll

Edgar Barrier

William Frawley

Harry Davenport

Robert Mitchum (one of Mitch's 1st roles)

Production:

Norman Reilly Raine- Writer

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"

 

Copyright 2001, 2010