Behind the Scenes of They Were Expendable

A Pictorial History

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About the Book

In 1945 U.S. Navy photographer Nick Scutti found himself in the Florida Keys on the set of the classic World War II drama They Were Expendable, taking candid shots of director John Ford, stars Robert Montgomery and John Wayne and the supporting cast and crew. Scutti’s never before published collection of fully captioned photos provides a unique chronicle of the 30-day location shoot, revealing details of the making of the film and in some instances disproving certain statements made by MGM publicity and Ford himself. Brief biographies are included of the stars of the film and of the men the film was based upon.

About the Author(s)

Lou Sabini teaches various film history courses throughout the northeast and is the head of the Stamford, Connecticut, chapter of the International Laurel and Hardy Appreciation Society, Sons of the Desert. He lives in Stamford.
Former U.S. 3rd Class Petty Officer Nicholas Scutti is a retired professional photographer. He lives in Stamford, Connecticut.

Bibliographic Details

Lou Sabini with Photographs by Nicholas Scutti
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 200
Bibliographic Info: 143 photos, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9500-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1975-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments by Lou Sabini 9

Foreword by Scott Eyman 11

Foreword by Karen Everson 13

Introduction 15

I: An Overview of the Film and Its Making 19

II: The Photographer 42

III: The Photographs 58

IV: The Real Heroes 153

V: The Celluloid Heroes and Supporting Cast 157

Appendix 1—Promotion, Reviews and Critical Reception 167

Appendix 2—Kelly v. Loew’s, Inc. 171

Bibliography 193

Index 195


Book Reviews & Awards

“a fascinating untold story of one of the greatest movie makers and film stars in American history. This book is a great read…both the movie enthusiasts and professionals will love it.”—The Washington Book Review; “Sabini has written a meticulously detailed introduction to this previously unpublished collection of on-the-set candids, and provided biographical sketches of the cast…fascinating…more than a pictorial history. It is a full-on document of an enduring film classic helmed by one of American cinema’s most important directors. This pictorial history allows us to visually explore the making of this classic film. In-depth chapters show Sabini’s understanding of the film and its place in American cinema’s history. One of the most important, interesting, and informative film books of this year. Recommended”—Examiner; “remarkable…we are transported back in time to experience some of the feeling of a major movie shoot…. How exciting to discover so much about an important film seventy years after its creation”—Leonard Maltin’s Movie Crazy.