IMDb > Stand by for Action (1942)
Stand by for Action
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Stand by for Action (1942) More at IMDbPro »

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Stand by for Action -- An "old Noah's Ark," scoffs Lt. Masterman, a Harvard-schooled Bostonian ensconced in a cushy desk job. Care to guess who will be volunteered to be the aged ship's executive officer?


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Up 11% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Laurence Kirk (suggested by a story by)
Harvey S. Haislip (original story) ...
View company contact information for Stand by for Action on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
14 February 1944 (Sweden) See more »
U. S. Navy Lieutenant Gregg Masterman (Robert Taylor), of THE Harvard and Boston Back Bay Mastermans... See more » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. See more »
User Reviews:
Movie reflects courage and desperation of early WWII See more (18 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Robert Taylor ... Lieut. Gregg Masterman

Charles Laughton ... Rear Admiral Stephen Thomas

Brian Donlevy ... Lieut. Cmdr. Martin J. Roberts

Walter Brennan ... Chief Yeoman Henry Johnson
Marilyn Maxwell ... Audrey Carr
Henry O'Neill ... Cmdr. Stone M.C
Marta Linden ... Mary Collins

Chill Wills ... Chief Boatswain's Mate Jenks

Douglass Dumbrille ... Captain Ludlow
Richard Quine ... Ensign Lindsay
William Tannen ... Flag Lieut. Dudley

Douglas Fowley ... Ensign Martin
Tim Ryan ... Lieut. Tim Ryan

Dick Simmons ... Lieut. (jg) Royce
Byron Foulger ... Pharmacist's Mate 'Doc' Miller
Hobart Cavanaugh ... Carpenter's Mate 'Chips'
Inez Cooper ... Susan Garrison

Ben Welden ... Chief Quartermaster Rankin
Harry Fleischmann ... Chief Signalman
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ernie Alexander ... Sailor in Boat (uncredited)
Will Armstrong ... Sailor (uncredited)
Billy Bletcher ... Sailor (uncredited)
Wally Cassell ... Talker (uncredited)

Jim Davis ... Talker (uncredited)
Jay Eaton ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Calvin Emery ... Lookout (uncredited)

Frank Hagney ... Sailor (uncredited)
Sam Harris ... Senator at Party (uncredited)
Oscar 'Dutch' Hendrian ... Sailor (uncredited)
Robert Kent ... Hank Nels (uncredited)
Hal Le Sueur ... Lookout (uncredited)

Frank McClure ... Ship Officer (uncredited)
Ralph McCullough ... Sailor in Boat (uncredited)
James Millican ... Talker (uncredited)
Bea Nigro ... Senator's Wife (uncredited)
Spec O'Donnell ... Jason (uncredited)

'Snub' Pollard ... Sailor (uncredited)
William Roberts ... Marine Messenger (uncredited)
Elizabeth Russell ... Expectant Mother (uncredited)
Theodore von Eltz ... 'Commander' (uncredited)
Pat West ... Sailor (uncredited)
Frank Whitbeck ... Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
Harry Wilson ... Sailor (uncredited)
Douglas Wood ... Sen. Masterman (uncredited)
Duke York ... Sailor (uncredited)

Directed by
Robert Z. Leonard 
Writing credits
Laurence Kirk (suggested by a story by)

Harvey S. Haislip (original story) (as Captain Harvey Haislip) and
R.C. Sherriff (original story)

George Bruce (screenplay) &
John L. Balderston (screenplay) and
Herman J. Mankiewicz (screenplay)

Produced by
Orville O. Dull .... producer
Robert Z. Leonard .... producer
Original Music by
Lennie Hayton 
Cinematography by
Charles Rosher (director of photography)
Film Editing by
George Boemler 
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
Set Decoration by
Edwin B. Willis 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Robert A. Golden .... assistant director (uncredited)
Horace Hough .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sandy Roth .... assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Edward G. Boyle .... associate set decorator
Urie McCleary .... associate art director
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording director
Michael Steinore .... sound effects (uncredited)
Special Effects by
A. Arnold Gillespie .... special effects (as Arnold Gillespie)
Donald Jahraus .... special effects (as Don Jahraus)
Visual Effects by
Max Fabian .... special photographic effects (uncredited)
Music Department
Wally Heglin .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Leonid Raab .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
H.D. Smith .... technical advisor (as Lieut. Comdr. H.D. Smith USN)
Wallace Worsley Jr. .... location script clerk (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
109 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Finland:S | Sweden:15 | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #8801) | USA:TV-G (TV rating)

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 »
Factual errors: Members of the cast almost always say, "Yes, sir," in response to orders, etc.; Naval personnel say, "Aye, aye, sir."See more »
Movie Connections:
The Star Spangled BannerSee more »


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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful.
Movie reflects courage and desperation of early WWII, 24 May 2006
Author: paul arnold from FL, United States

Aside from the obvious encouragement to enlist this film has a good story line and contains truth, compassion and heroism. Stand By For Action was based on the book "Cargo of Innocents", hence the inclusion of the women and babies found in the lifeboat. This is one of my favorite roles for Charles Laughton who is quite believable as a crabby naval officer from the early 20th century. It is also a great role for Robert Taylor who portrays a character entirely lost to Americans of the last 50 years; that is an ivy-league, privileged rich young man forced to learn his experience from real working class men who, as Laughton's character exclaims "Built the navy". Walter Brennan appeals to the side of every man who comes to love a ship or car or job for its own sake. Brian Donlevy does an excellent job as the farm boy turned navy captain, and Chill Wills is good as ever as the guy everyone wishes would have been his "Chief". Youngsters need to see this movie because it reflects well on an America known to their grandparents, and the rest of us should review it once in awhile so as not to forget what we once were. Added plus: a thrilling, realistic sea battle complete with "fog-of-war".

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