Cuban Rebel Girls (1959) - full transcript

Errol Flynn , playing himself as a war correspondent, helps Fidel Castro overthrow Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista . The film was shot, with Castro's cooperation, while he was still fighting Batista.

My pilot and I had landed

at this little field outside
of Havana many times.

I use it as a refueling stop on my way

from the United States
to my ranch in Jamaica,

and sometimes I came just for a
week of fun and games in Cuba.

This time however it was different,

I represented the Hertz Press,

and had been commissioned
to do a series of articles

on the rebel leader Fidel Castro.

Which in itself was fine, but the
question was, how could I get to him?

My old friends were still around,
but Havana was not what it used to be.

On the surface it was still gay,

but underneath a terrible tension
was growing, you could feel it.

The streets were still
crowded, shops still full

but they wouldn't remain this way

with the sugar cane
production at a standstill.

Castro's strategy of destroying
the cane was beginning to pay off.

I checked in to one of the better hotels,

as I decided there was no use
me trying to be secretive.

Not knowing what to expect,
I was traveling very light,

this surprised my friend the bell boy

as I usually came prepared
for at least a weeks stay.

I waded through the official
welcoming committee,

as good naturedly as possible,
but my mind wasn't on autographs

because an agent was to
contact me after I arrived.

I was to know him by the note he
would hand me, written in lipstick.

I could only wait.

The view around the hotel
pool made this easy,

to be as obvious as
possible, that was my policy.

So I sent for a barber and a manicurist

to give me the works.

This made me feel a little
stupid sitting out there

but since every hotel
in Havana was crawling

with government spies, I felt the best way

to avoid suspicion was to act like a,
well a Hollywood character.

Actually the cogs of Castro's machinery
were moving faster then I expected.

Fidel Castro had decided a
good press in the United States

would be very helpful to his cause,
and he'd approved seeing me immediately.

So this was the guy I
was expecting, huh, wow.

At first I thought she was
just some autograph hunter

but when she forced me to read
the note I knew I was in business.

Up to this time it seemed like I was
acting out one of the many scripts

that the studio sends
me from time to time.

But now, face to face with
one of Castro's messengers

I knew the whole thing was dead serious.

After introducing herself, she suggested
that we go to a little beach resort

some 40 miles or so up the coast.

There were many people in Havana

that would have tried to
stop such an adventure,

so she wanted me to meet
the main contact man

as inconspicuously as possible.

She said that there we could work out

all the details relative to my
trip behind the rebel lines.

The young man she introduced
me too came right to the point.

He'd been in direct contact
with rebel headquarters,

and had the necessary permission
for me to go behind the lines.

He told me it would be a
pretty dangerous journey

on my account, as several
of their carrier planes

had been shot down by government aircraft.

I suggested that I could use my own plane

which wouldn't be suspected I hoped.

At first he objected to this,

but eventually agreed
that it might be better.

I was to land at a
predetermined grass strip

near the mountains, then
my pilot was to take off

directly for the United States.

I'd then be picked up by a carrier
plane and flown to headquarters.

So we shook hands.

After an early morning briefing,
my pilot left for the airport,

and after breakfast we arrived
trying to look as casual as possible.

He'd filed a flight plan to United States,

and on the surface it looked
like another friendly party.

As we shook hands the agent
gave me my identification

for the pilot of the pick up plane,

there was certainly no
turning back from this point.

I'm happy to say my trip was a success

and I came out of it with
a whole skin, well almost.

During my stay with the rebels

I sent back to the United
States many stories,

the most interesting of which concerns

the young women that
fought with the soldiers

in the mountains, the Cuban rebel girls.

They were wonderful, and more specifically

it concerns two Americans
who found themselves

mixed up in this vicious little war.

Hi Jackie, what's all the excitement?

I finally got a letter from my brother.

How wonderful, how's your family?

They're fine.

Have they seen Johnny?

Yes, about a month ago
he and a couple of rebels

hid from the police in our sugar mill.

They left the next morning to join Fidel.

You know, my people admire him very much,

I wonder why he gave up
everything here to help us?

He's always been like that.

Ever since high school he's
been on the side of the little guy.

I'd love to see the big jerk again.

How much of a chance would you
take if you could see him next week?

Almost anything, why?

I have to go to Florida in the morning

to make arrangements for
a large shipment of arms.

My works finished here, how would
you like to go back to Cuba with me?

Me, a rebel, what could I do?

There are many things you can do.

The women of my country
are doing a wonderful job,

but maybe it's too much
to ask of an American.

Look my boyfriends down there isn't he,
if I can be of some help I...

You can be a lot of help, these guns
are very important for our movement,

I can't do it alone.

Will you come?

Sure, and boy will I be
glad to get out of this dump.

In every revolution certain trusted
patriots are sent to other countries

to procure arms, money and food.

It's interesting the
extent they must go to

to get such things back
to the home country.

Scouts search every
underworld area for guns

and other weapons at war,
there are no questions asked.

It's simply a matter of cash
in return for the merchandise.

In this case some of
the money was supplied

by wealthy idealistic Cubans
and other Latin people.

But the bulk of the financing
had to come from the Pesos,

saved by the multitudes of people in
Cuba, hoping for a new chance in life.

Of course the American girl wanted

to be near her boyfriend,
that's understandable.

But the Cuban, a girl from a very wealthy,

aristocratic family
had everything to lose.

Well, it's gratifying to know that
some people can still put idealism

ahead of their personal gains and losses.

But besides idealism, it
still takes plenty of guts

for a couple of young
kids to board an aircraft

and head into such a troubled area

with $50,000 in their handbag.

When the girls arrived in Miami,

their inner tension was growing,

they were carrying a lot of money,

and although it wouldn't buy a lot of guns

it would buy the type most needed
at the moment, automatic weapons.

The Cuban girl felt her
responsibility deeply,

a responsibility that could not end

until the arms had been
safely landed in Cuba.

Rather than take a chance
on a train or a bus,

the girls decided to drive to Key West

where they were to make
contact with a sea captain

who was gonna smuggle the arms into Cuba.

They paid in advance and made
arrangements to leave the car in Key West,

it was going to be a one way trip,

at least as far as the car was concerned.

Key West is a beautiful spot,

and it was also a hot bed on intrigue,
with things brewing in the Caribbean,

a close watch was kept at
the airport and the harbor.

Still, under one form
of disguise or another

some of the operators
managed to slip through.

They didn't last long, but
at the prices they got,

it didn't take too many
trips for them to retire.

Captain Alvarez?

Won't you sit down.

I understand you have a
message for me from Venezuela.

Here's my identification,
I have the money.

Do you have the shipment?

The shipment is coming from Miami,
do you have the $50,000?

You're not gonna give
it to him now are you?

I've been instructed
to give you the money,

only after we clear the three mile limit.

Two young girls, all that money,

maybe you never reach
the three mile limit.


This money was raised
through the contributions

of many poor people, their
hopes and dreams go with it.

Fidel Castro trusts you, is he wrong?

I was only teasing you,
you'll get your guns.

Come on, let's go.

Most of the boats were surplus
Navy vessels disguised as fishing craft.

The arms or other items were
collected over a period of time

and stored box by box in the hold.

One day instead of going to
the normal fishing grounds

the small craft would make a
quick run for the Cuban coast.

It was no easy trip.

First they had to evade
the US Coast Guard,

then the Cuban Navy,
next came the coral reefs

off the coast, and then
the Cuban army planes.

Quite a tough adventure for men,
let alone a couple of little girls.

Even the American kid admitted later

that she faced the trip scared to death,
and well, trying not to show it.

Now the feeling in Havana was very tense.

Around the clock the nervous politicians

were compiling list after list of
people accused of some act of treason.

With fanatical regulatory
the secret police

were ordered out to make
arrest after arrest.

Maria, the girl that had helped
me get into the mountains

with Castro, was unaware
that she was on that list.

The police cars were already
rolling in her direction

as she went to her
rendezvous near the docks.

I'm sorry I kept you all waiting,
but I was afraid I might be followed.

We're gonna move you out tonight,
there'll be a vegetable truck downstairs,

and when I give the
signal run down the stairs

one by one and climb in
the back of the truck.

We're gonna transport
you to Oriente tonight.


No, you can't go out that way,

you can't go out that
way, they'll catch you.

Please you can't go out that way.

Only if you've
been through it can you know

the terror that arises
inside of the hunted.

There's no alternative, no place to turn,

no justice that can be
turned to for protection.

If you were caught you could be sure
of horrible torture before your death,

and then your body would be
thrown to the sharks off Morro Castle.

The underground people knew the penalty,
and they faced it.

But no matter what amount
of bravery they had,

it was still hard at
the moment of discovery

to suppress the terrified,
almost hysterical feeling

of having to get away, get away.

In spite of the secret
police, the traffic in people,

money and elicit arms continued.

A recruit here, a bit of financing there,

and guns one by one were
added to the arsenal.

It was a slow and tedious process,
but but the time I reached the mountains

it had begun to snowball.

One of the best supplies of
guns were foreign sailors.

For instance, a $30 pistol
picked up in the United States

might bring as much as 500
bucks around the coast of Cuba.

These girls, posing as street walkers,
would pass it on to the underground,

and after changing hands
as many as perhaps 20 times

it would find its way into the mountains.

The underground didn't always win however,

the police through torture,
and their informers

usually got the information they needed.

They'd learn that
Jacqueline was in New York,

arranging for the arms shipment,
and they'd come to her sugar mill

to make retributions on her family.

Escape Ben, escape while you can!

Shall I go after him?

Not now we'll get him later.

You'll be sorry for this thing.

I'm only sorry my children
can't live in a free country.

The mountains
offered the only refuge

to the little underground girl
Maria, to Jackie's brother,

and to hundreds of other hunted people,

more and more professional
men and women joined.

Their services, especially the
doctors and nurses were a great help.

On the most part this revolution

has been depicted in a rather,
shall I say, glamorous way.

But I can guarantee you
that many, many hardships

and privations were endured
by those rebel soldiers and girls.

I've seen many such places
as this so called hospital

several times in Korea,
in Spain, in other wars

and with the rebels but
it's still a shock to me

to see major surgery
performed at the road side.

Are you tired?

Yes, but it's better then what might
have happened to me back in Havana.

You were lucky to get through.

Yes I was, but I hate to think
of what happened to the others.


Maria and Ben, had used the help of
their own underground to make their way

into the mountains.

Her work had been far
more important in Havana,

but now that she was out there

she was looking forward to
fighting side by side with the soldiers.

The guards knew they were coming
but they still had to prove identity

and be cleared by radio
from the main camp.

It's Raoul, it's my friend Raoul.

I'll see you later.

- Raoul my friend.
- Johnny.

You made it, good,
good, I'm glad to see you.

How's your sister Jacqueline?

She's in Florida arranging
for a large arms shipment

it's very important for us.

Good, good, how's your mother?

She let me escape but she
was caught by the police.

I'm afraid things won't
go very well for her.

I'm sorry to hear that, she did a
lot of good work for the movement.

Well maybe they won't harm
her because of her age.

I hope not.

Excuse me this is Senorita
Rodriguez, meet Johnny Wilson.

Johnny is teaching our soldiers
some things he learned in Korea.

Senorita Rodriguez was with the
underground until she was nearly caught.

Well good, now you're one of us.

Well come on down to the camp,
and I'll show you around.

I have learnt from the main camp

that a smuggling ship will
land in our sector tonight.

I want you to get your
men prepared to march.

Commandante we have two new recruits.

This is Senor Dominguez
and Senorita Rodriguez.

I can vouch for Senor Dominguez,

and I think the young lady has
her own identification card.

You're welcome, I'll see
that you get outfitted.

If all goes well I'll be able to give
you better equipment tomorrow.

We're expecting a large
shipment from Florida tonight.

Is my sister on board?

What is your sisters name?

Jacqueline Dominguez.

Yes, she is on board, she is with
an American girl named Woods.

Beverley, why that little devil.

Commander do I have your
permission to lead the raid tonight?

No, I am going to lead the raid myself,

but for a diversion I
am burning a cane field

and I want you to lead those men.

May I go?

Why don't you stay
around camp for a while

before you do anything dangerous.

I've been through quite
a bit of danger already.

Well, since it is your
sister, I will let you go.

What about me?

You're time will come soon enough.

Now get yourselves
outfitted, and you be back

at five o'clock for the briefing.

Wait a minute Raoul, that
girl means an awful lot to me,

be sure she gets back here safely.

To get set for a raid wasn't just a
question of opening a bunch of boxes,

here bullets had to be homemade.

The equipment kept clean
as best as possible,

the small supply of grenades handed out

to those who could use
them, there weren't many.

But I must say that I was deeply impressed
by the spirit of the young people

who were facing unbelievable odds.

Their continual good spirits
were one of the main factors

that eventually lead them to victory.

- Commandante.
- Johnny.

What are your instructions
for the raid tonight?

I want you to burn the
cane in these areas here.

We'll keep the roads
covered so don't worry.

Alright, okay.

Take whatever men you need here.

Alright, uh huh.

Doesn't look bad, won't need more
than four of five men I don't think.

Good luck.

Each raid was planned with great care,
detail by detail.

Because there were so
few well trained soldiers

in the rebel army it
was necessary to recruit

war veterans from other
countries such as ours.

Even with complete victory these
mercenaries had very little gain.

Once again I had to admire the ability
of some of we humans to put idealism

ahead of personal gain.

I think the fires a diversion.

Let's get some more men
and search the beach.

Mother helped me escape, and
I've been up in the hills ever since.

Well anyway, you're safe.

How's Johnny?

He's out leading another raid,

he was very surprised when
he heard you were coming.

I'll bet.

Follow me and stay low.

This way, hurry, hurry!

Don't stop.

Rapido, rapido, okay spread out.

Don't let any of them get away.

We've been attacked, I'll
have to get the girls out.

This is the trail to the hills.

I'd been out with some of the
troops on a scouting expedition,

and was headed back to my camp alone

when I first met this
kid and heard her story.

She and her friends had
been traveling all night

and somehow escaped the army patrols.

As I approached the river, I was surprised

to find the girl in rather
peculiar circumstances.

She wasn't too amused, especially
when I offered some suggestions.

Oh, I lost a shoe.

Yeah, let me see.

Hey, this it?

- Yeah.
- Come on.

Let me help you ashore.

Alle up, that a girl.

But I never rode a horse before.

First time for everything.

- Here we are.
- Thanks.

I'm sorry for the way I acted out there.

Haven't I seen you someplace
before, on TV or somewhere?

Well could be.

What's a pretty little American
girl like you doing down here?

Looking for a man.

- A what?
- A man.

Ah, a worthy pursuit I must admit.

Oh, I'm all dirty and wet,
and I've ruined my only dress.

Don't worry, my camp's just up here.

We can probably find you
something dry to change into.

You're friends?

Yes they are.

May I meet them?

Come on.

They were quite happy with
the soldier clothes I got for them.

However, I was more interested in her
story and I tried to get her to talk.

So she told me the whole
story, of her boyfriend,

her trip down, the catastrophe
of losing the arms,

and the hopes she had in
meeting that boyfriend soon.

It was interesting, very interesting,
and I tried to pump her for more.

Incidentally it's somehow
heartening to know

that a Flynn kiss on the hand
can still get a reaction.

I only hoped that everything
would go as well for her.

Hello, is Johnny here?

What did he say about Johnny?

He isn't here, we're going to try

to recapture our guns
tonight, we'll see him then.


The commander escaped,
but the rest are dead.

Come on.

You think they'll let us go tonight?

Probably not, neither one of us

has had any training
with military equipment.

I haven't either, but
anyone can work this radio.

With the losses they had last night,
they need all the help they can get.

Sounds like fun, maybe
I'll get to shoot somebody.

Not as much fun as you might think.

I'm gonna take a bath.

A bath?

A bath, in the largest
bath tub you've ever seen.

Would you happen to have some soap?

Messy, but Woolworths special.

You know the girls that
have been here for a while

would give anything for this bar of soap.

When you become a rebel
you give up a lot of things

that make a feminine life easier.

Wait for us.

This is wonderful.

Oh yes isn't it.

Let me have the soap.

I'm gonna get out.

Be careful.

They told me you're
gonna be my assistant.

I guess I'll have to show
you how to use this thing.

I thought you were gonna
show me how to use this.

Are all you Americans so blood thirsty?

No, it's just we figured that
if you've got a war to fight

you might as well fight
it and get it over with.

This isn't even your war.

Yes it is, I don't
even know who these guys,

Batista and Castro are,
that's your problem.

But the guy I'm gonna marry
is out there somewhere

in this stinkin' lousy jungle hiding,

and if he has a reason for it, so can I.

I wish some of the Cubans
felt as strongly as you do.

Tonight we're gonna be
stationed about five miles

from a railroad crossing,
sometime during the night

the police are gonna try and move a truck
load of arms that they took from us.

Now if we see that truck,
our job is to notify

the main forces so they
can block the road.

But I won't get to see anything.

If we do our job right it
might help win the revolution.

I know, but when am I gonna see Johnny?

Well we're meeting him before dark,
can you wait that long?

Let's eat.

Halt, try to contact Gringo.

Hello Gringo, hello
Gringo this is command.

How do you read?

Alright we'll contact you
in approximately 20 minutes.

Gee, you mean I get to see Johnny
in 20 minutes, come on let's go.

Alright, forward.

Okay command, keep
coming until we see you.

Stay on guard, stay low.

Hey, hey over here.

Johnny, oh Johnny.

You little idiot what
are you doing here?

I had to see you.

Sure picked a fine place to do it.

Excuse me Johnny, I have
to send her up the road

with the radio, you'll come
with me to the railroad,

- Alright.
- Hurry now.

Sorry honey, but we
both have a job to do.

I'll see you later.

Hey where'd you get this?

Borrowed it this afternoon.

Think you can run it?

Why not, can't be too complicated.

This must be about five miles.

Seems more like 10, all we
do is walk, we never fight.

We'll stop here.

Have you made contact yet?

Oh, outpost one is coming in now.

Hello command, this is outpost one.

Hello outpost one, command here.

Read you loud and clear,
awaiting your signal.

Please give complete
description if possible.

Okay command we'll do our best.

This radio's a little obsolete,

but it's the best you
could get from the States.

It's got a range of about 10 miles.

You press this in to talk,
and let it go to listen.

Can I try?

Sure but don't forget the call sign.

Hello command, hello
command, this is outpost one.

Just testing, just testing.

Not just now, but I can...

Somethings the matter at outpost one.

Hello command, hello
command, this is outpost one.

The truck just passed us, two men in front

besides the driver, three in the rear.

A jeep following, five men
there, no automatic weapons.

The truck, they've got eleven men.

Get the commander.

Alright get ready boys.

Come on let's go down
to the railroad crossing.

I'm afraid we're gonna have to
stay here, until somebody relieves us.

Relieves us, we'll
miss all the fighting.

Our job is important here, suppose
somebody was coming down that road.

Our reports will protect the men.

I guess there's more to
this war stuff then I thought.

Alright Johnny, now.

Alright we got them all,
come on boys get the guns.

You get the guns, I've got
something more important to do.

Give me the radio.

Outpost one, outpost
one, this is command.

Outpost one, mission is
finished, hold your position

we'll pick you up in a truck.

Incidentally I have a little mission
of my own that isn't finished.

Isn't it beautiful out here.

Yeah, it's so quiet and peaceful.

You'd never know there's a war on.

Look at that moon over
there, let's sit down.

Okay, right over here.

Oh honey, I missed you so much.

I missed you too.

I don't know, those gals
in camp are pretty cute.

Oh, don't worry about them,
all they think about is the war.

Well now that I'm a rebel girl,
I think I'll think about the war too.

Not a chance.

- Oh these.
- Oh honey.

Johnny, Johnny!

Right here Raoul, over here.

Sorry to interrupt the
commander wants to see you.

Fidel has ordered an attack
on eight sugar mills.

This unit is attacking five,
we're to move out at dawn.

Sorry honey, looks like I'm gonna
have to take another rain check.


Now you two stay right here,

you let me know by radio
if anything passes by okay.

Be careful.

I'm always careful.

Good luck.

Hold on a minute.

That sounds like trouble back at the mill.

We better get back.

Okay, hang on.

Johnny, I don't know where
the other troops are, I can't risk.

We're completely outnumbered.

You take off, I'll meet
you later when I can.

- Okay?
- Okay.

No, no troops have arrived yet.

Look, there's two of them over there.

I'll get the one at the front.


Help, help!

Get the blonde in first.

You sit in the front with her, get them.

Come on, get in, get in.

Okay, take off.

Okay, get out, get out!

Get up out of there, come on.

Let go, let go.

Johnny, they killed you, let go.

Get me a gun.

She didn't get away, neither will you.

- Come on.
- Let go of me.

I found out what happened, the other
division was delayed in the mountains

and we caught the full
force of the counter attack.

I'm sorry about Johnny.

When I first saw him
I thought he was dead.

But his men think he was only wounded.

I hope so, this morning our troops
cut the supply lines to the mill.

Most of Batista's
soldiers have pulled out.

If he's alive, we'll recapture him.

Then the mill is liberated.

There are still some troops there,

but the next attack should be much easier.

When do we go?

As soon as we're ready to march again.

I'm ready now.

Watch out.

Okay, let's get 'em all.

Okay command go ahead.

That's wonderful news.

Come on.

Maybe they found Johnny.

They found Maria, quickly.


Dirty Batista butchers.

Come, let's go, come.

I'm glad you talked us into this tree.

We haven't had one since the revolution.

They're fun.

I don't think you should
go back to the army.

You've done your part,
why don't you go home.

Batista can't last long now, stay
with us until we can arrange a passage.

When I first got here I didn't
know what the word liberty meant.

I'd read about it in books and stuff,

but it took this trip for
me to find out the meaning.

Johnny, Maria and your
mother, it's cost us all.

But for the first time I believe in
something, I belong to something.

Thank you very much but I'm
marching with the rebels in the morning.

The rebel strength
was now at it's peak.

By the thousands the government soldiers

were deserting and joining the rebels.

Their line spread out all across Cuba,

town after town fell into their hands.

But the shooting wasn't
over, as I was to find out.

Here let me help.

I appreciate it.

You'll be okay.

Our men have almost captured
Santa Clara, casualties were very bad.

Anything that's worthwhile will cost.

I know but how much longer
can this government last?

We get stronger every day,
it will have to end soon.

Hey, there's my friend, big Ox.

Hi, how are you?


Well, if it isn't little Esther Williams.

Hey, hey you're hurt.

It's your knee.

Yeah, what burns me up it's not my knee,
it's this hole in my trousers.

They're the only pair I've got.

We'll see about that later.

Doctor, hey doctor, would
you mind coming over

for a minute please and seeing my friend.

- Hi.
- Hi.

Okay, bend your knee.

Ah, ow.

Oh, I see the troubles up here.


We'll fix it somehow.

Thanks doc.

I bet this is the only
needle in the Sierra Maestra's.

How did this happen?

Well it was back up the road a bit,
we were coming this way in a jeep,

and overhead came the planes, they
came in low and started striping us.

Anyway, out I went.

Well I guess this must have
happened when I jumped.

Say, whatever happened to that boyfriend

you came down to see, did
you ever get together?


Is he with you?

No, he was captured in an attack
on a sugar mill, he was wounded.

I don't know if he's dead or alive,

I guess he's dead.

That's tough, but you just listen
to me and I'll tell you something.

In time of war, things have a
way of working themselves out,

in spite of everything.

So just keep your chin up.

Hey, what's this, go on, sew it up.

Ow, not through the skin.

With a taste of victory over victory

the rebel army was now
ready to roll over Havana.

Suddenly General Batista
and his aids left,

and now it was all over but
the shouting and the parades.

A jubilant crowd welcomed the
bearded men into the capital.

They'd won an impossible war.

Now would come the trials and tribulations

as they tried to stabilize
a new government.

This was the first step, there
will be many more to come.

Hey stop that thing.

Stop it, stop it.

Oh my God.

Now there you little idiot.

Johnny, oh Johnny.

Oh your arm, how are you?

I'm alright, it's nothin' much.

What did they do to you?

Just spent a couple of weeks in jail,
and got liberated yesterday.

You know I'm kind of tired of
watching these parades, how about you?

Yeah, we've got a lot
better things to do.

Come on.

Well, I guess this about winds up

another stage in the fight to rid
Latin America of tyrants, dictators.

But the spirit started by this
handful of wonderful rebels

is spreading and growing
stronger every day.

And all you young men and women fighting

for political freedom and
your own beliefs, everywhere,

I wish you good luck.