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crepe hanger

The Fighting 69th

The Fighting 69th (1940) is an American war film starring James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, and George Brent. The plot is based upon the actual exploits of New York's 69th Infantry Regiment during the First World War. The regiment was first given that nickname by opposing General Robert E. Lee during the Civil War.

The plot centers on misfit Jerry Plunkett, played by Cagney, and his inability to fit into the unit due to a mixture of bravado and cowardice. O'Brien plays Father Francis P. Duffy, a military chaplain who attempts to reform Plunkett. "Wild Bill" Donovan, played by Brent, is the regimental commander, who ultimately orders Plunkett to be court-martialed. One of the characters portrayed in this film is Sgt. Joyce Kilmer, the poet. Alan Hale, Sr. plays Sgt Wynn, who loses both his brothers due to Cagney's blunders.

While Jerry Plunkett was a fictional character, Father Duffy, Colonel Donovan and Joyce Kilmer were all part of the actual regiment.

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