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Name That Tune/They Were Expendable

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There is an instrumental piece of music woven throughout the movie "They Were Expendable".  It appears to be the theme music for Army Nurse, Sandy Davyss (Donna Reed).  It is playing at the dance that Sandy invites Rusty (John Wayne) to attend.  It comes in when they do the dinner that Sandy attends.  It is very beautifully playing on the radio in the bar after the funeral scene.


I would really like to know if anyone can tell me the title and if possible the band playing the version that's on the radio in the bar scene.


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The tune is "Marcheta."  Here is a good description of it's use in the movie, with a little history, from a YouTube clip of it:


"Marchéta" (pronounced Mar-KEE-ta) is a 1913 "love song of Old Mexico" written by the American composer Victor Schertzinger when he was but 25 years old. These days all of the versions to be found on modern CD are either overwrought ballads by male vocalists like Al Jolson and Mario Lanza, or else corny "cha-cha" dance instrumentals. However, , when played in waltz-time, as a serious orchestral love song, it becomes an achingly beautiful theme. 

Director John Ford made "Marchéta" one of the emotional linchpins of his 1945 film THEY WERE EXPENDABLE. It is first played when Rusty Ryan (John Wayne) attends a hospital dance on Corregidor in the Philippines, and falls in love with a nurse there. Much later in the film, as Bataan falls and Corregidor (where his lover is stationed) is being bombed and starved into submission by the Japanese, a poignant reprise of the song appears on the radio as Wayne is getting drunk in an island bar, reminding him of his night of dancing with her in the darkness as he realizes he'll never see her again.

The song is utilized expertly by Ford in THEY WERE EXPENDABLE, and would stick with John Wayne for the rest of his life. Ford always had an accordionist on his set named Danny Borzage, who would often play mood music during scenes to help the actors find the right tone. Borzage would also create an intimate sense of family among the cast and crew by playing favorite themes whenever John Ford or a member of his stock company appeared on set. Everyone had their own tune, and after THEY WERE EXPENDABLE, "Marchéta" became John Wayne's theme. 

I think it's a beautiful melody, and deserves to be remembered far better than it has been. Have a listen to it here in a pair of clips from THEY WERE EXPENDABLE and see if you agree.



And here is the clip:


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Slaytonf,  Thanks you so much for your expertise and research.  You gave me a lot of information that is very interesting.  As with many people, I believe the music played in the movie is very beautiful.

Thanks again for your help.

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