Stand by for Action (1942)

Passed  |   |  Action, Drama, War  |  14 February 1944 (Sweden)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 449 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 4 critic

U. S. Navy Lieutenant Gregg Masterman (Robert Taylor), of THE Harvard and Boston Back Bay Mastermans, learned about the sea while winning silver cups sailing his yacht. He climbs swiftly in... See full summary »



(suggested by a story by), (original story) (as Captain Harvey Haislip) , 4 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rear Admiral Stephen Thomas
Lieut. Cmdr. Martin J. Roberts
Chief Yeoman Henry Johnson
Marilyn Maxwell ...
Audrey Carr
Henry O'Neill ...
Cmdr. Stone M.C
Marta Linden ...
Mary Collins
Chief Boatswain's Mate Jenks
Captain Ludlow
Richard Quine ...
Ensign Lindsay
William Tannen ...
Flag Lieut. Dudley
Ensign Martin
Tim Ryan ...
Lieut. Tim Ryan
Lieut. (jg) Royce
Byron Foulger ...
Pharmacist's Mate 'Doc' Miller


U. S. Navy Lieutenant Gregg Masterman (Robert Taylor), of THE Harvard and Boston Back Bay Mastermans, learned about the sea while winning silver cups sailing his yacht. He climbs swiftly in rank, and is now Junior Aide to Rear Admiral Stephen Thomas (Charles Laughton). In contrast,Lieutenant Commander Martin J. Roberts (Brian Donlevy), enlisted in World War I, and worked his way up gradually. He retired in 1935 but has been recalled as Executive Officer of the destroyer "Cranshaw." Impressed by Roberts' vigor, the rear admiral raises him to command of the destroyer "Warren,", an over-age World War I ship that has been recommissioned. Master laughs at Roberts' new command, only to have the Admiral assign him as the Executive Officer of the "Warren," under Roberts. The ship is to join a convoy which has already left Hawaii, bound for the United States. The Flagship of the convoy is the cruiser, "Chattanooga,' with Admiral Thomas in command. On the way, a lifeboat is sighted. From it are... Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Action | Drama | War


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

14 February 1944 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

This Man's Navy  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The world premiere on 31 December 1942 took place simultaneously in 7 US cities: Boston, Massachusetts; Providence, Rhode Island; Washington, D.C.; Chicago, Illinois; Norfolk, Virginia; San Diego, California and San Francisco, California. Some earlier screenings may have taken place for naval officers on Treasure Island, California and Mare Island, California. See more »


Members of the cast almost always say, "Yes, sir," in response to orders, etc.; Naval personnel say, "Aye, aye, sir." See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: Robert Taylor (1962) See more »


The Star Spangled Banner
(1814) (uncredited)
Music by John Stafford Smith
Lyrics by Francis Scott Key
Played by the naval band when the flag is raised
See more »

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User Reviews

Surprisingly entertaining WWII story with 1st rate performance by Charles Laughton
7 February 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

What at first blush appears to be a throw-away Navy propaganda film, released in Dec 1942, turns out to be a very easy-to-watch tale of war at sea with some moments of excellence, particularly the scenes with Charles Laughton as the crotchety Admiral Thomas.

The commissioning of the destroyer Warren includes a rousing speech by Laughton in which he inspires the new crew with a dramatic re-telling of the story of John Paul Jones giving his "I have not yet begun to fight" speech aboard the Bon Homme Richard. Off-beat plot twist includes the Warren finding a life raft filled with babies and pregnant women. The final act of the movie is an exciting depiction of the bravery of the Warren in single-handedly sinking a Japanese Battle Ship to save an entire convoy (naval convoys and battle are somewhat dated but still interesting and earned an Academy Award Nomination for special effects). Robert Taylor turns in a passable job as our hero, the spoiled LT. from Harvard. Brian Donlevy is also good as the seasoned CPT from whom Taylor learns much and later becomes his friend. Appearances by stalwart actors Chill Wills and Walter Brennan. Second half of the movie has lots of sea-battle action.

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