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WILLIAM CONRAD'S PRODUCTION 'FIRST TO FIGHT' CHAD EVERETT

Title: FIRST TO FIGHT Year: 1967 Rating: ***1/2

Starting out an old school hunkered-in-the-trenches World War II action flick with heroic Chad Everett holding off approaching Japanese soldiers in an off-river jungle setting, FIRST TO FIGHT... produced and narrated by William Conrad with direction by Christian Nyby... makes an abrupt shift into a budding Stateside romance...

Progressively ignited between Everett's surviving and returning Sgt. Jack Connell and the lovely, classy and hard-to-get war bond touring chief Marilyn Devin; yet the best scenes have our true blue veteran competing with cocky cad Bobby Troup, who's not good enough to win this lady over...

Chad Everett and Marilyn Devin from FIRST TO FIGHT

She's been through the ringer with a dead husband from Pearl Harbor, and the inevitable, unforced chemistry between Everett and Devin is genuine... until, when becoming a drill sergeant at Camp Pendleton, reunited with former colonel Dean Jagger (with best friend James Best back in the jungle), Connell wants another mission, and as the saying goes... be careful what you wish for...

For true war movie fanatics the third act is the best when the jungle warrior gets cold feet on a Normandy Beach style invasion, and, while it's cringe-worthy experiencing the hero becoming a coward, scenes with non-famous Gene Hackman as a strong/silent sergeant make this FIGHT, in attempting three stories in one, sustain patriotic entertainment (ironically during the Vietnam War) without being too corny or nostalgic.

Chad Everett and Marilyn Devin from FIRST TO FIGHT

Chad Everett and Bobby Troup from FIRST TO FIGHT
Chad Everett  from FIRST TO FIGHT
Chad Everett  from FIRST TO FIGHT with Gene Hackman

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