An aircraft carrier is sent on a decoy mission around the Pacific, with orders to avoid combat, thus lulling Japanese alertness before the battle of Midway. All the men have their ... See full summary »
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An aircraft carrier is sent on a decoy mission around the Pacific, with orders to avoid combat, thus lulling Japanese alertness before the battle of Midway. All the men have their individual worries and concerns, but become increasingly frustrated at their avoidance of combat, for reasons unknown to them. But in the end, all get their chance to fight. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Director Henry Hathaway and his camera crew spent several weeks shooting approximately 50,000 feet of film aboard an American aircraft carrier. This included atmospheric shots, background footage and actual combat scenes. The "Hollywood Reporter" of 12 January 1944 reported that this footage was "the first ever approved by the Navy Department or War Department of any action on one of the new post-Pearl Harbor fleet plane carriers." Whilst on the flat top, Hathaway and crew also studied US Navy procedures and technical manual elements. See more »
Near the beginning of the film, when the ship's officers are seated around the captain waiting to open their Orders, the clock on the wall depicts 11:00 yet the ship's bell tolls four times. This is a goof as aboard a US Navy ship 11:00 would toll six times signaling the beginning of the forenoon watch. See more »
The best characteristic of this film is the fine quality of the film in terms of cinematic depth-of-field and clarity. There is excellent camera work, especially in the complicated action scenes. Each scene is balanced and seemingly well-edited. The theme of the movie is somewhat weak relative to the fight/no fight stance of the U.S. Navy, and it is overpowered by the many action scenes which resemble a "Victory at Sea" format. The facts of the battle at Midway Island as presented in this movie are somewhat questionable. The superior forces of the Japanese Imperial Navy could best any navy in early June of 1942. That good fortune played a role in the American fleet's victory is not in question, that poor planning and accident forced the Japanese Imperial Navy's tactics is also accepted. Beyond these general facts it is difficult to accept the overstatement that the position of the U.S. Navy was that "This is the battle we've been praying for." There is also some question in the film as to the accuracy of the reports concerning the U.S. torpedo planes' success. In essence, the Battle of Midway was decisive, and very lucky for the Americans. To present the battle and victory as well planned and well coordinated is misleading. A word on acting: Don Ameche as Commander Bingo Harper is outstanding. His performance is solid in terms of the classic dramatic hero. As commander, he never wavers from his responsibility, he does what must be done, and he understands both how much victory means and what price must be paid.
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