The new commander of a Navy Underwater Demolition Team--nicknamed "Frogmen"--must earn the respect of the men in his unit, who are still grieving over the death of their former commander and resentful of the new one.
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World War II drama in which Richard Widmark, as Lt. Cmdr. John Lawrence, replaces the popular commanding officer of a group of underwater demolition divers. a crew of fiercely independent studs who hang their proverbial hats in Davy Jones' locker. The martinet Lawrence tightens the discipline of the unit, making him mucho unpopular with the macho frogmen. Finally, Lawrence proves himself as more than just a stuffed white shirt, showing he has the cojones to keep up with their peculiar brand of the jones, becoming one of the team by fearlessly defusing a live torpedo at the risk of his own life. Written by
Jon C. Hopwood
The Underwater Demolition Team the frogmen in the film belong to is UDT-4 (some members of the team wear utility jackets with artwork of a large number "4" and a shark on the back). The real UDT-4 in World War II saw combat in the invasions of Okinawa, Saipan, Guam, and the Philippines. Like the fictional Team in the film, the real UDT-4 had one of their boats hit and sunk by Japanese fire at Leyte, and left a sign on the beach at Guam to welcome the invading Marines. See more »
After the torpedo hits the team's ship, the XO determines that they can't enter through the door as the water level in the compartment is too high. He says they'll have to go in through the manhole in the ceiling. The proper term would be enter through the scuttle in the overhead. See more »
After watching and enjoying this film, I checked out the trivia section for this film and found that many of the events in this film are based on the real life unit they were named for in the film--including the banner on the beach scene. At first I thought this scene totally ridiculous and didn't fit the film--seeing it REALLY happened is amazing! This is an interesting war film even if it didn't get made until well after the war. Most people never think about the need for naval demolitions crews, yet their incredibly dangerous job is shown in this film. How dangerous it was and how they actually performed it was truly interesting for history buffs like myself. Seeing them often diving with no real equipment such as snorkels or tanks (these were only used late in the film) and simply free-diving to set demolition charges is pretty amazing. What was more amazing was seeing how they picked up these guys on the fly, so to speak.
Apart from the technical aspects of the film, the plot itself is somewhat formulaic but interesting. Richard Widmark plays the typical hard-as-nails commanding officer and naturally the men miss their old C.O. since he was "one of the boys" (see THE FLYING LEATHERNECKS and TWELVE O'CLOCK HIGH and you'll see what I mean). The whole "loneliness at the top" angle has been done many times before, though this one was played a bit better. Having such pros as Dana Andrews, Jeffrey Hunter and Gary Merrill on hand sure didn't hurt! What did hurt, however, with the formula was that, at times, it made the men seem like whiners.
Overall, rather exciting and well worth seeing despite its roots in Hollywood formula and a fitting tribute to some incredibly brave men.
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