Released before the newspaper ink about the actual Battle of Wake Island even had time to dry, WAKE ISLAND the movie has the facts of the story all messed up, but we'll let that slide since this film (one of the very first American WWII movies made about the US involvement...there were already a number about the European Allied Forces versus the Axis) is more about capturing a feeling and rousing the people at home into fighting mode.
As for the movie itself, WAKE ISLAND opens with of a bunch of American Marines and civilian contractors living their life on Wake Island. Digging holes and bitching about how bored they are until one day out of nowhere the Japanese Navy attacks. Will the Americans be able to hold out until reinforcements show up? Or will reinforcements just not show up at all?
I liked the film, but it's a little too lighthearted for my tastes. I understand the filmmakers were trying to make the characters more personable, but that one dude (William Bendix) was a fucking goofball...but what do I know cause he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor! Other than the goofball and his one buddy who couldn't keep their hands off of each other the rest of the film is alright. The action scenes are especially well made. I would imagine WAKE ISLAND was a real crowd pleasers back in 1942 even despite the continuity errors.
Modern audiences will probably find is very dated, especially Brian Donlevy's outfit, but for pro-American propaganda it's entertaining and worth a watch.