(director: Henry Hathaway; screenwriters: Jo Swerling/Robert Presnell, Sr./based on a novel by Charles L. Clifford; cinematographer: Rudolph Maté; editor: Daniel Mandell; music: Alfred Newman; cast: Gary Cooper (Dr. Bill Canavan), Andrea Leeds (Linda Hartley), David Niven (Lt. McCool), Reginald Owen (Capt. Steve Hartley), Broderick Crawford (Lt. Swede Larsen), Kay Johnson (Mabel Manning), Charles Waldron (Padre Rafael), Russell Hicks (Capt. George Manning), Roy Gordon (Col. Hatch), Benny Inocencio (Miguel), Tetsu Komai (Alipang), Rudy Robles (Lieut. Yabo), Vladimir Sokoloff (Datu); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Samuel Goldwyn/Robert Riskin; United Artists; 1939)

Gary Cooper is always at his best playing American heroes.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Henry Hathaway (“The Lives of a Bengal Lancer”/”Now and Forever”) directs this rousing boys’ adventure film that reminds one of Gunga Din. It’s set in the Philippines in 1906, just after the Spanish-American War, as the American forces are about to pull out and three soldiers of fortune, Lieut. Terrence McCool (David Niven), Capt. Steve Hartley (Reginald Owen), Lieut. Larsen (Broderick Crawford), and Capt. George Manning (Russell Hicks), plus Dr. Bill Canavan (Gary Cooper), help quell a terrorist uprising by the savage Moslem Moro tribesman (film did a disservice to the Moros by exaggerating their brutality). Its history is doubtful and its politics is merely a sad reminder of Yankee imperialism, but its action sequences, including heavy doses of heroism, keep things hopping throughout.

When Colonel Hatch (Roy Gordon) gets orders that the American troops under his command are to withdraw from Fort Mysang on the Philippine island of Mindanao, he warns that Alipang (Tetsu Komai) and his Moro bandits will begin an attack on the locals. When the Americans withdraw, Alipang’s men successfully assassinate Hatch. Native Lieut. Yabo (Rudy Robles) and the four Americans attempt to train the native troops to stave off the bloodthirsty guerrillas.

Manning, who takes Hatch’s place in command, welcomes his wife Mabel (Kay Johnson), who arrives on the remote outpost on the same boat as Hartley’s daughter Linda (Andrea Leeds). Before you can spit out Linda’s name, she becomes the center of a romantic rivalry between Larsen, McCool and Canavan. That night, the Moro attack again and Manning gets bumped off. That leaves Hartley in charge, but he’s going blind from his head wound. Miguel (Benny Inocencio), a Moro youngster loyal to the Americans, helps Canavan capture one of Alipang’s men. Canavan targets the POW to ridicule in order to convince the locals to overcome their fear of the fearless guerrillas. Meanwhile Alipang lures the natives into the jungle, they drink the unclean water and a cholera epidemic breaks out. The doctor and Linda treat the victims, as the doctor also does double duty fighting off the Moro insurgents. He will dynamite a dam after learning that Datu (Vladimir Sokoloff), a Moro chieftain was secretly an ally of Alipang, and murdered Larsen. In the end, the doctor and the native troops stop the insurgency and establish security in the area. The surviving Americans and Miguel board a ship for America, while Yabo and his men now assume control of the territory.

Gary Cooper is always at his best playing American heroes. The Real Glory was released again in 1942 as A Yank in the Philippines, but withdrawn from circulation during World War II because the Moros had become American allies.

The Real Glory Poster