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Hold Back the Night 1956
6.6 of 7

Hold Back the Night

SD 6.20 80 min
A bottle of Scotch carried by WW2 veteran Captain Sam MacKenzie of the U.S. Marine Corps provides the 'glue' that keeps this story together. Its value rests squarely in its symbolism - a good-luck charm and an object of hope, as well as loyalty. The bottle of Scotch itself was received by Sam MacKenzie in 1942, during a furlough home from the Pacific War. It was supposed to be enjoyed by Sam and his fiancee, Anne but was saved by the two of them for a happy reunion after the war. It's now 1950, at the outset of the Korean War and Captain Sam MacKenzie, commander of the Easy Company, still carries his Scotch bottle with him, as a good-luck charm. The story-line flashes-back to several instances when Sam almost opened his Scotch bottle. During the savage fighting in winter-frozen Korean Peninsula, Sam has to keep his company together while the enemy harasses the United Nations forces during a temporary retreat. At numerous times, Sam is tempted to open his Scotch bottle to either alleviate the suffering of his wounded men or to drown his own sorrow. He resists these attempts, promising himself and his men to open the bottle when they will all reach the safety of their own lines. During one of the brutal skirmishes with Communist foes, Sam is severely wounded. The medical evacuation helicopter arrives to ferry-out the wounded, including Sam. He leaves his precious Scotch bottle behind, with his men to use whenever they feel downtrodden and in need of a stiff drink. His men, led by the company sergeant, finally reach friendly lines and are evacuated by truck with the neighboring company. While on the evacuation trucks , the men from Sam's company muse whether they should finally open the Scotch bottle and enjoy a drink. Realising that it was the promise of a drink from that bottle that kept their morale up during the worst battles, they all refuse to open it. The men decide to save it, as a thing that brought them good-luck, for their wounded company commander, Captain Sam MacKenzie.

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