Gonin No Sekkohei (1938)

Run Time - 73 min.  |   Countries - Japan  |  
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The first film to deal with the covert war with China conducted by the Japanese in the 1930s, Five Scouts has the admirable virtue of being realistic rather than propagandistic. Five vastly different soldiers are sent out behind enemy lines on a mission whose danger they little suspect. After successfully scouting the Chinese positions, they book back to camp but are ambushed in route, losing the youngest and greenest of their group. The four straggle back to camp where they relay the news of their comrade's death. Only after this death do they realize how close they have become and how lucky they are to have survived. In the midst of these reflections, their young friend suddenly returns and reveals that he had only gotten lost in the fray.