Tom Hartley's War
- A Withoutabox winner 107 minutes of fast paced Action. Low/Medium Budget 1942 Log Line: A determined young soldier plus three mates and two pretty girls, one a killing machine, escape fallen Singapore in 1942 to get vital Japanese war plans to Australia through 3,000 miles of jungle and stormy seas causing mayhem en route, chased by relentless Saito. Recommended by Wescreenplay.
Tom steals a boat. Accompanied by pretty nurse, Janice and local beauty, streetwise Shona, and avoiding patrols, they row into the night. They shoot down an attacking fighter. Shadowed by a distant destroyer, they land in Sumatra. They ambush a patrol. Wounded Tom is cared for by a sole villager, Maria. Charlie is rejected by Janice, who prefers Tom. All but Maria hide from a Jap patrol in the jungle. They are within a whisker of discovery. Tom restrains Subul, Maria’s ten year old son, on hearing his mother being shot. Janice consoles the boy.
Tom is relentless, forcing his group through thick jungle to keep ahead of the enemy. He is intent on completing his secret mission yet has misgivings about risking the safety of all for the unlikely success of reaching Australia in time. Charlie and Shona make love in an enchanting pool. Harassed by enemy planes, which endanger their mission, Tom attacks an airfield, destroying many planes, their pilots and ground staff.
Captain Saito captures them while sleeping and Tom is beaten up. Subul, still free, lures a sentry to the cell window, where he is knocked out by Janice and they escape. They depart in a launch, leaving Subul to be captured. Greg tries to take over and return them to the Japs, who hold his brother. Greg has been told to prevent Tom`s secret mission and to take his code book. Greg is pushed overboard…shark bait. Tom petrol bombs Captain Saito’s MTB. Their launch is holed in a storm and they are saved by an Australian corvette. They help sink a Japanese minesweeper.
They sail for home. Tom has changed from a hard bitten killer to a man with feelings. Nurse Janice has altered from a naïve kindness to all humanity, to killing for survival. They sail into Darwin harbour where Tom has difficulty persuading senior officers that his Jap plans and code book are any use after the delay. Shattered that this is correct, ironically after all their efforts, Tom is amazed to be treated as a hero for destroying the planes, which were due to bomb Darwin.
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