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The Fighting Seabees (1944)

Passed  -  Drama | Romance | War  -  10 July 1944 (UK)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 1,981 users  
Reviews: 29 user | 17 critic

Construction workers in World War II in the Pacific are needed to build military sites, but the work is dangerous and they doubt the ability of the Navy to protect them. After a series of ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Dennis O'Keefe ...
Lt. Cmdr. Robert Yarrow
...
Eddie Powers
Leonid Kinskey ...
Johnny Novasky
J.M. Kerrigan ...
Sawyer Collins
Grant Withers ...
Whanger Spreckles
...
Ding Jacobs
Ben Welden ...
Yump Lumkin
William Forrest ...
Lt. Tom Kerrick
Addison Richards ...
Capt. Joyce
Jay Norris ...
Joe Brick
Duncan Renaldo ...
Construction Worker at Party
Edit

Storyline

Construction workers in World War II in the Pacific are needed to build military sites, but the work is dangerous and they doubt the ability of the Navy to protect them. After a series of attacks by the Japanese, something new is tried, Construction Battalions (CBs=Seabees). The new CBs have to both build and be ready to fight. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

HARD-MUSCLED! SOFT-HEARTED! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 July 1944 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Donovan's Army  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

George Reeves was going to co-star alongside John Wayne, on loan from Paramount Pictures. However, before production began, Reeves was drafted into the army. Dennis O'Keefe replaced him. See more »

Goofs

In the first landing by Japanese the landing craft are U.S.N. LCVPs, which are distinctly different than any landing craft used by the Japanese. Also, there are no ships offshore from which the landing craft could have come. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Fighting Sea-Fleas (1944) See more »

Soundtracks

Where Do You Work-a, John? (Push-a Push-a Push)
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Mortimer Weinberg and Charley Marks
Sung by those at the coming home party
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fine Story of our Navy in World War II, Tops in Action, True to Life an d very well Written, Casted Directed and Acted!
11 January 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

CONTINUING in the Hollywood tradition and fine custom of rendering a fine line of films which were used as a means of communications and edification to the American People; we find the folks over on "Poverty Row" chipping in and pulling more than their weight. With the release of THE FIGHTING SEABEES (Republic Pictures, 1945) not only filled the bill, but also turned out to be one of the finest movies to come out of that studio.

BEING the Studio which had the (deserved) reputation of producing mostly attractions for the Saturday Matinée crowd; these of course being mainly the "B" Western Series and the Serials;Republic did such titles as THE RED PONY, SANDS OF IWO JIMA and THE QUIET MAN;all "A" Films.

IN addition to those listed above, we must add what is today's analyzed specimen, the screen story of the Naval Construction Battalion, much better known as THE FIGHTING SEABEES. Although it was produced in time for a 1945 release, it still packed a punch with the morale of the Armed Forces; as well as that of those at home.

SENSING that they had a very important story to tell, the Production Team set out to "Bulk up" the headliners of the cast. First of all they needed a male lead. They wanted someone who would have had experience in both the dramatic vein and in the action genre. He would have to be a 100% red blooded American Male. Well, the Republic Brain trust didn't have to look very far at all; for among their Contract Players one True Movie "Star" who would fit the bill to an absolute degree. Gee, I wonder just who that would be? ONE would certainly not have to be a film buff to come up with the answer in John Wayne.

DUKE had put in a lot of time and paid his dues with a long stint as the featured player in that series of Lone Star Western Productions, which of course was a subsidiary of Monogram Pictures. Mr. Wayne later signed on with Republic, where he was cast as the lead in their THREE MESKITEERS Western Series. More importantly, it was during this period that he was lent out to just about every studio for some movie or other. In one of his loan-outs, Director John Ford borrowed his services from Republic for the male lead in STAGECOACH (Walter Wanger Productions/United Artists, 1939) It gave a big boost to Duke's value and her saw his stock go sky high.

WORKING for about all of the other Studios in various types of roles (mostly those of a Man of Action of some sort or another), Wayne's name and reputation grew considerably. So for this time at least, there would be no going to 20th Century-Fox, Universal, Paramount or MGM for a starring role in a major motion picture. Duke would have only to stay on the Republic lot.

COSTARS for the production were a pair of most capable and popular Actors. Second lead went to Dennis O'Keefe, who while never ascending to the heights of Star, nonetheless had been most successful in many a lesser movie and as a capable, likable of a Second Lead. His casting proved to be well done as he and Wayne performed very well together, having several great scenes together.

ADDITION of Miss Susan Hayward, on loan from 20th Century-Fox (?) to the cast gave the film a great balance on the top of the bill. The insertion of her character (or any lovely lady) into the story would almost always be cause for an example of "the Eternal Triangle." And so it was; but this was Wartime and it would be handled in such a way as to remind all that this was a time of sorrow and self-sacrifice.

REPIUBLIC spared no expense in adding to the cast in a great number of tried and true character actors in supporting roles. The task was accomplished with the employ of such names as: William Frawley (Fred Mertz and 'Bub', later on TV), Grant Withers, Chief Thundercloud, J.M. Kerrigan, Leonid Kinskey, Paul Fix (Mica), Ben Welden and many others.

WHILE Republic gave THE FIGHTING SEABEES a much larger budget than most, they still got their money's worth in every respect; for while the movie called for a great deal more outdoor shooting on location than most any other of what they usually made in their Westerns and Serials. Their remedy was to stick to what they always did the best; that being to put their 'Thrill Factory Assembly Line" into working on the production.

THIS meant that they merely went to doing what they did best. They could use some of their own stock scenes of explosions, floods, fires and volcanic eruptions in movie after movie, without any adverse effect. These were always convincing and had served them well for years in lesser films.

THE reason because of their great Special Effects department, the scenes of train & airplane crashes or what have you, were done by the best guys in the business; being the Brothers Lydecker, Howard and Theodore. Their work was as fine as any in Hollywood and much better than in most cases. Even the 'Big 5' Studios of MGM, Paramount, 20th Century-Fox, RKO Radio and Warner Brothers all looked covetously at Republic's Special Effects team.

OUR STORY…………………Following the events of December 7, 1941 the need to have an all military construction unit; as the Imperial Japanese Armed Forces had no respect for unarmed civilian workers who were employed in building air strips, military compounds, etc., all throughout the Philippines and other locales in the South Pacific, They waste not a frame of film in giving background, the problems and the solution.

POUND for pound or rather frame for frame, we can't think of a better example of a great World War II Movie, BAR NONE!

POODLE SCHNITZ!!


3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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