The Real Glory (1939)




Director:    Henry Hathaway.

Starring:  Gary Cooper (Dr. Bill Canavan), David Niven (Lt. Terence McCool), Andrea Leeds (Linda Hartley), Reginald Owen (Capt. Steve Hartley), Kay Johnson (Mrs. Mabel Manning), Broderick Crawford (Lt. Larson), Vladimir Sokoloff (the Datu),  Benny Inocencio (Miguel).

The Spanish-American war is over, but Philippine guerillas want the Yanks out too.  This is the second part of the Philippine-American war, the fight against the Moros.    


Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire film. 

1906.  Moro tribesmen attack a Filipino village.  They drag the women away and kill the men . 

Manila.  Headquarters. Philippine Constabulary.  American military men discuss the matter of the Moros in Mysang.  Colonel Hatch who is giving the briefing says that to take the American troops out of Mysang now would be a big mistake.  The bandit Alipang is on the march taking village after village.  As soon as the American troops leave, his thousands of bandits will swoop down on Mysang. The superior officer says he has no choice.  His orders are that the Americans are to pull out.   The colonel will just have to teach the Filipino villagers how to fight to protect themselves, but the colonel thinks it's an impossible task to accomplish.  They are going to make Mysang the test for moving out the troops and having the Filipinos replace them.  They are sending five men to help Colonel Hatch prepare the native forces to defend themselves. 

The American troops get into boat to leave the village of Mysang.  Capt. Steve Hartley comes to see Col. Hatch to tell him that they will all be killed by Alipang and the united Moro tribes once the Americans troops are all gone.  The men will be killed and the women sold into slavery.  

Alipang sends in a suicide attacker to assassinate Col. Hatch.  Meanwhile, Dr. Bill Canavan, one of Hatch's team members, arrives and meets a boy named Miguel who wants to be his servant.  Bill takes a liking to the fellow and hires him, but he calls the boy Mike.  Lt. Terence McCool and Lt. Larson see Bill and run over to welcome their old friend to Mysang.  As the men are talking, the assassin swims toward the shore of the village. Meanwhile, Capt. Hartley introduces the native leader, the Datu, to Col. Hatch.   The Datu says that the American army must go into the jungle to find and destroy the forces of Alipang.  The colonel says that the Americans are certainly not going into the jungle.  They are here to teach the natives how to protect themselves. 

The colonel and the captain come outside.  The natives see the assassin arrive and start shouting to warn everyone.  The assassin runs right past the three officers talking together.  Bill and the others pull out their revolvers and start shooting at the crazed man, but the man keeps going and slashes the colonel with his sword.  It seems unbelievable that the assassin could get through that hail of bullets, but he did.  Col. Hatch died of his wounds.  The assassin also dies of his wounds.  Bill takes four slugs out of the assassin's body and show the other officers.  He is amazed that the man could keep on going with four bullets in him.  Bill says he heard of these fanatics being used as killers, but never saw one before.  The Moros are Muslims and they are often sent out to kill Christian clergymen.   (Moro is Spanish for the Moor, designating the Muslim Arabs who occupied Spain for many centuries.)

The American officers start training the Filipinos.  Col. Manning now takes over from Col. Hatch. Captain Hartley comes over to ball Bill out for telling the Filipinos that they could drill without shoes.  Bill says it was just a suggestion because he saw how uncomfortable the men were in shoes.  Captain Hartley is a real hard-ass who runs things by the book and he doesn't want Bill telling the troops anything.  Bill tells Hartley that the native troops are absolutely frightened by Alipang and his men and they have to get over that fear.  Hartley says the fear will go away once the men know how to shoot well. 

A Filipino guard is killed by one of the bandits.  The Datu goes to Alipang and shows him the rifle the dead soldier was carrying.  Alipang is determined to take as many rifles as he can from the Americans. 

Mrs. Manning, wife of the Colonel, and Linda Hartley, the pretty daughter of Capt. Hartley, arrive at Mysang by boat.  Bill, Mac (Terence) and Larson all take notice of the pretty Linda.  They all start competing for her attention.  They walk her over to the residence of her father.  Dad has been having problems with his eyes and doesn't recognize Linda at first.  He is pleased to see his daughter on this surprise visit.  Mrs. Manning is disappointed when she learns that her husband has to stay at Mysang because now he is the commanding officer.

The Datu puts another assassin ashore and tells him to kill Col. Manning.  The man carries a sword underneath his selling cart.  The officers are at a dance, having a good time.  Bill dances with Linda.  The Datu directs Col. Manning over to see the assassin.  The pretends seller takes out his knife and kills the colonel.  The assassin is captured alive, but the Datu shoots him dead before he can be questioned. 

Bill and Linda talk with each other.  Fairly recently, Linda went through the San Francisco earthquake. 

Capt. Hartley takes over and orders all Moros in the fort thrown into the stockade.  Bill talks with the Catholic priest.  Capt. Hartley arrives and tells him to throw out all the Filipinos from the hospital.  Most of the men reported sick because they are just filled with fear.  Bill mentions to the priest that he wants to find out what the Moros fear.  The priest says the Moros are deathly afraid of being buried in a pig skin for they believe the skin sends him straight to hell.  Bill is extremely happy at learning this.  Since Mike is a Moro, he is supposed to be send to the stockade, but Bill takes responsibility for Mike and they leave Mike alone. 

Mike and Bill go into the jungle.  There Mike uncovers a booby-trap.  He pulls at the vine and three spears are shot out of three tubes and stick in a nearby tree trunk.  Mike goes down to a meeting of Alipang and his men and reports back to Bill that Alipang is sending another assassin out, this time to kill Capt. Hartley.   On a rope bridge, Bill stops the would-be assassin by throwing bolos and rope around the man.  Other bandits attack Bill on the bridge, but Bill shoots one of the ropes and the bandits fall into the gorge below.  Bill and Mike then tie up the would-be assassin. 

Hartley wants his daughter to leave Mysang along with Mrs. Manning, but Linda doesn't want to go.  Linda asks why her father isn't sending some men out to find Bill.  Hartley calls Bill an incompetent fool and refuses to send anyone out after him.  McCool and Larson plan to go after Bill.  But just then Bill and Mike come to the village with their prisoner walking ahead of them.  The villagers hide when they see the Moro with Bill.  Bill gathers everyone around him and the Moro. He tells the men that this is what they are afraid of, but he's just another man like them.  He then takes a pig skin and puts it down in front of the Moro.  They tell the bandit that they are going to bury him in the pig-skin.  The man screams like a baby, begging not to be buried in the pig-skin.  Bill tells the Filipino troops to take a good look at this supposedly fierce Moro warriors.  He doesn't look so tough now. 

Hartley arrives to break up the session.  He tells Bill to come with him.  In his office, Hartley balls out Bill, even though Bill saved his life by capturing the would-be assassin.  Even though Hartley knows this, he still actslike an ass in front of Bill and McCool.  Afterwards, Bill says goodbye to Linda.  Linda goes in to talk to her father and tells him she's not going.  

Alipang decides to force the Americans to come into the jungle to fight.  Deep in the jungle, they dam up the stream that goes through the village.  Soon the stream goes dry.  The Datu tells Hartley about the dam, but Hartley says they will just use the old well in the fort as their source of water. 

Linda thanks Bill for saving her father's life.  The Filipino soldiers now come to speak with Bill about them being allowed now to fight the Moros.  They want Bill as their spokesperson.  But Hartley still won't listen.  Bill objects vehemently and Hartley puts him under arrest.  He is confined to his quarters.  After a while, Hartley comes in to tell Bill he is no longer confined to his quarters.  There are sick villagers that need his attention.  A very sick villager is soon brought to Bill.  Bill says it's cholera.  More and more villagers start dropping with cholera. 

As more and more people are brought in, Bill starts giving out public health instructions to the staff and the villagers.  He then goes to Hartley with his list of supplies he desperately needs.  Bill notices that Hartley is holding his list upside down.  Bill tells Hartley that the old well is polluted and it was the old well that started this epidemic.  He adds that Hartley must send someone out into the jungle to dynamite the dam, because they desperately need fresh water.  Stubborn Hartley still won't allow the attack on the dam.  Bill closes off the old well as a source of water. 

Bill has many homes of sick people burned down for public health reasons.  Linda says she wants to help.  So Bill sends her around to disinfect the dishes of the villagers. 

Mike runs behind Bill to stay away from Lt. Larson.  Larson says Hartley is sending him and some men up to dynamite the dam.  Mike is afraid that Larson is just trying to get him into the stockade, but Bill explains the urgency of the mission to Mike and the young fellow agrees to show Larson and his men the way. 

McCool goes in to see Hartley.  He says Larson should have been back long ago.  McCool wants Hartley to do something --   to go after Larson.  Hartley rejects the idea.  McCool decides to go by himself, but he is so weakened from cholera that he collapses.  Bill takes care of his buddy in the hospital.  Linda comes in to talk with Bill.  Bill also wonders where the heck is Larson.  Linda is so exhausted that soon she falls asleep. Captain Hartley talks with Bill.  Bill asks him what is the captain going to do about Larson?  Hartley says he doesn't know.  As Bill talks about Larson, Hartley blurts out that he is going blind.  He was supposed to retire, but he kept his medical report from everyone.  Bill tells Hartley that he is not blind yet.  He has to get out there and find Larson.  The Datu comes along and volunteers to lead an expedition to explode the dam.  Hartley rejects that idea. 

Mike returns from the expedition.  He has to be carried over to see Bill.  Mike reports that everyone but himself was killed by the bandit Moros.  Bill puts Mike in the hospital because he has cholera. 

Bill goes to see Hartley, but Hartley has gone out with 32 Filipino soldiers to explode the damn.  He is also taking a number of Moros to carry supplies and the dynamite.  Bill goes to McCool to tell him that he has to take over command for him, because he has to go after Hartley.  The Datu is leading Hartley and his men to an ambush.  Bill is following the men's tracks.  He stumbles across the site of the earlier massacre. From his position he sees that Hartley and his men are on top of a mountain.  He rushes up the mountain and intercepts the expedition.  He confronts the Datu who then yells to the carriers to jump off the cliff.   The Datu grabs his long knife to kill Bill, but Bill shoots the weapon right out of his hand.  The carriers jump off the cliff and the dynamite they carry explodes.  The soliders, however, are able to stop one carrier from jumping.  The dynamite he is carrying is enough to blow the damn.

Bill stuffs his shirt and pants with dynamite in order to explode the dam.  He has the Datu walk in front of him as a shield against the weapons of the Moros.  Along the way the Datu stops dead in his tracks.  Bill tells him to get moving and gives him a shove.  The Datu falls into a covered-up hole to his death as the bottom of the hole is filled with sharpened stakes.  Bill moves on to the dam.  He plants the dynamite and explodes the dam.  He then returns to tell Hartley that he saw absolutely no Moros.  He says he thinks that the Moros are probably going to attack the village.  Bill gives the order, with Hartley's approval, that the Filipino soldiers start building rafts so they can get back to the village as quickly as possible.

The water rushes down the mountain side and past the village  The villagers are so happy to see the water return.  But as they celebrate by jumping into the waters, the guard fires his rifle and shouts that the Moros are coming via boats to land on their shores.   The first assault is pushed back by the troops, helped by the Gatling gun operated by McCool.  Alipang questions two captured men about where the soldiers keep their guns and ammunition.  The first man doesn't cooperate, so he is immediately shot.  The second man tells Alipang where the guns are stored. 

Alipang launches his second assault.  His men bend back large trees.  Men get onto the bent trunks and they are launched over the walls of the fort.  The Moros get to the supply dump.  Linda goes and gets McCool to stop them.  He starts shooting the Moros, but is shot in turn.  Sitting down McCool is still able to fight using his pistol.  He sends Linda for more ammunition, but when she gets back, McCool is dead. 

Bill and two other men make their way down to the village via a raft.  He arrives after Alipang launches his third assault.  The Moros are now coming from the four sides of the fort.  On their way now are the 32 Filipino soldiers.  Bill uses dynamite to keep the Moros on one side from reaching the fort.  Bill runs out of dynamite, so he grabs a church candle, lights the wick and throws it at the Moros.  They run back away from the candle and it takes them a while to discover it is not dynamite at all.  The fighting begins again on that side of the fort. 

The 32 Filipino soldiers arrive and start shooting the Moros from behind.  Bill yells to Filipino Lt. Yabo to get Alipang, who is not far from him.  At first the lietenant is going to shoot Alipang, but he decides to fight it out with the bandit leader to show his troops that the Moro leader is no superman.   He uses his rifle to block the attempts of Alipang to hit him with his sword.  He knocks Alipang down and then  pushes him into the river.   Bill sees Alipang's body speeding by him underneath the river waters.  The Moros are forced to retreat.

As the Filipino soldiers can now protect themselves and the villagers, Hartley, his daughter, Mike and Bill now leave Mysang. 



Good movie.  The story is fictional, but it gives an idea of what the Americans were up against in fighting the second part of the Philippine-American War, this one against the Moros.  It makes one aware that there even was a Philippine-American War.  See the historical background below.)  Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) was just one of the American intellectuals opposed to this war.  Gary Cooper did a good job, as usual, in this action picture.  Two of his co-stars were David Niven and Broderick Crawford.  (It seemed to my wife and I that it was an odd trio to be working together.

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.



Historical Background:


1892 (July 7) – Andrιs Bonifacio, a warehouseman and clerk from Manila, establishes the Katipunan, an organization dedicated to throwing the Spanish out of the Philippines by armed revolt.

1896 – the Philippine Revolution. It is led by Katipuneros. There were some successes in the Cavite province, located 30 km south of Manila, on the southern shores of Manila Bay in the Calabarzon region in Luzon.

Emilio Aguinaldo, mayor of Cavite El Viejo (modern-day Kawit), gains control of much of eastern Cavite.

1897 – Aguinaldo is elected the firt president of an insurgent government (and is considered to be the first president of the Philippines). Bonifacio is executed for treason.

By December 1897 the struggle had come to a stalemate.

1897 (August) – armistice negotiations open between Aguinaldo and the current Spanish governor-general, Fernando Primo de Rivera.

1897 (mid-December) – the governor agrees to pay Aguinaldo to go into exile. Aguinaldo sets up in Hong Kong. (Aguinaldo also denounced the Revolution and tells the Filipinos to disarm.

Some Filipinos continue the revolutionary struggle.

1898 (April 21)  --  start of the Spanish-American War.  

1898 (April 22 and 25) – U.S. Consuls E. Spencer Pratt and Rounceville Wildman in Singapore meet with Aguinaldo and persuade him to again lead the revolutionary forces. They tell Aguinaldo that the USA will recognize the independence of the Philippines under the protection of the United States Navy.

In a few months, Aguinaldo and the Philippine Army conquer nearly all of Spanish-held ground within the Philippines (except of Manila). Aquinald turns over 15,000 Spanish prisoner to the USA.

1898 (June 12) – Aguinaldo declares independence.

1898 (August 13) – American forces capture Manila from the Spanish. Governor-General Fermin Jaudenes made a secret agreement with Dewey and General Wesley Merritt to have a mock battle (without the participation of the Filipino rebels) and then the Spanish surrendered to the Americans.  The Spanish and Americans were now in a partnership that excluded the Filipino insurgents. Relations between Aguinaldo and the Americans deteriorate as the Filipinos learn that the Americans were going to stay in the islands of the Philippines.

1898 (December 10) – in the 1898 Treaty of Paris Spain cedes the Philippines to the United States.

1899 (January 1) – Aguinaldo is declared President of the Philippines.

1899 (February 4) – the conflict between the Filipinos and the Americans begins on this night when a Filipino soldier is shot by an American soldier, Pvt. William W. Grayson in Santa Mesa, Manila.

1899 (Feb. 5) – fighting erupts as General Arthur MacArthur orders his troops to advance. 

1899 (end of February) – Americans force the Philippine Army away from Manila. The Filipinos retreat north.

1899 (April) – American victory at Quingua.

1899 (June 2) – the Philippine Malolos Congress declares war on the USA. Pedro Paterno, President of Congress, issued the Proclamation of War. This begins the Philippine-American war (which ended in 1902). The USA never makes a formal declaration of war with the Philippines.  US troops strength averaged 40,000 men (with a high or 74,000).

1899 (June) – American victory at Zapote Bridge.

1899 (December) – American victory at Tirad Pass. Brigadier General Gregorio del Pilar was killed while fighting a delaying action so Aguinaldo could escape.

Filipino ability to wage conventional war was greatly diminished.

1900 – Aguinaldo shifts over to guerrilla warfare.

In the first four months of the guerrilla war, the Americans had nearly 500 casualties.  Guerrilla victories at Paye, Catubig, Makahambus, Pulang Lupa, Balangiga and Mabitac.  Americans respond with greater ruthlessness against the Filipinos.  Thousands of Filipinos died in American concentration camps.  But American methods did bring more Filipino rebels to surrender. 

1901 (March 23) – General Frederick Funston and his troops capture Aguinaldo in Palanan, Isabela, with the help of some Filipinos called the Macabebe Scouts.

1901 (April 1) – at the Malacaang Palace in Manila, Aguinaldo accepts the authority of the United States over the Philippines.

1901 (April 19) – Aguinaldo issues a Proclamation of Formal Surrender to the United State.

General Miguel Malvar becomes the leader of what’s left of the Filipino government. He launches an offensive against the American-held towns in the Batangas region. General Vincente Lukban in Samar, and other army officers, continue the war in their respective areas.

American General J. Franklin Bell adopt gets tough with tactics such as: forcing civilians to live in hamlets; interrogating suspected guerrillas and regular civilians; and wages a policy of scorched earth. This hurts the Filipino rebels.

1901 (Sept. 5)  --  Pres. McKinley assassinated.  Theodore Roosevelt becomes the president. 

1902 (April 13) – Gen. Malvar surrenders.

1902 (July) – the Philippine Organic Act approves Pres. McKinley's Executive Order establishing the Philippine Commission. A Filipino legislature is established.

1902 (July 2) – the Secretary of War declares the office of Military governor to be terminated.

1902 (July 4) – Pres. Theodore Roosevelt declares a full and complete pardon and amnesty to all people in the Philippine archipelago who had participated in the conflict.

But the war drags on for nearly 10 years. 

1903 (September 25) – Simeon Ola of Guinobatan, Albay in the Bicol region may have been the last Filipino general to surrender.

1907 – self-proclaimed generalisimo Macario Sakay is captured and executed in after accepting an amnesty offer.

by 1913  --  last of the resistance groups wiped out. 


Moro Rebellion  --  the second phase of the Philippine-American War

The American government had a peace treaty with the Sultanate of Sulu (a Muslim state ruling over many of the islands of the Sulu Sea, in the southern Philippines) at the outbreak of the war that was supposed to prevent war with the Moro natives. The treaty didn’t hold because after the crippling of the resistance in the north, the USA started colonizing Moro lands. This started the Moro Rebellion.

1900 (March 20) – General Bates is replaced by Brigadier General William A. Kobbe.

Winter of 1900-1901 – American forces go on the offensive against the Filipino Insurrectionist forces in the southern Philippines, commanded by General Capistrano.

1901 (March 27) – Capistrano surrenders. A few days later, General Emilio Aguinaldo surrender in the north, ending the first phase of the Philippine-American War. Now the Americans had more men to uses in their push into Moroland.

1901 (August 31) – Brig. Gen. George Whitefield Davis replaces Kobbe as the commander of the Department of Mindanao-Jolo.   (One of his subordinates was Capt. John J. Pershing.)

1902 (April 13) --the military governor of the Philippines, Maj. Gen. Adna R. Chaffee, issues a declaration demanding that the datus of the ambushing men who killed American soldiers be handed over to the Americans.

1902 (May 2) - Col.Frank Baldwin leads a punitive expedition against south-shore Moros. The resulting Battle of Pandapatan (aka, the Battle of Bayan) was a massacre of the Moros.

1902 (June 30) – Pershing assumes command of Camp Vickers and Baldwin returns to Malabang.

1903 (August 6) – Major General Leonard Wood assumes the positions of the governor of Moro Province and commander of the Department of Mindanao-Jolo.  His tenure of office saw the hardest and bloodiest fighting of America's occupation of Moroland

1904 (April 4), – beginning with the Taraca, American forces battled Datu Ampuanagus, who surrendered after losing 200 members of his people.

Numerous battles occur with the Moros.

1906 (February 1) – Major. Gen. Tasker H. Bliss replaces General Wood.

1906 (March 5 to March 7) – First Battle of Bud Dajo ends in the almost complete massacre of an estimated 800 to 1000 Moro men, women and children.

1909 (November 11) – Major General John J. Pershing becomes the third and final military governor of Moro Province.

1913 (June 15) – end of the Moro Rebellion. In the battles of Bud Dajo and Bud Bagsak casualties included women and children.

In casualties, the the Americans suffered 130 killed and 323 wounded (with another about 500 dying of disease).  The Moros lost between 10 and 20 thousand killed.   


Datu is the title for tribal chief  and monarchs among the Moros.




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