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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André De Toth
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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
Opening credits: This is a true story based on incidents which occurred in the latter part of World War II. It deals with one of the most hazardous and unique branches of the Armed Forces---- the Underwater Demolition Teams. See more »
The triple-tank aqualungs used by the UDT frogmen during the film's climactic mission are incorrect for the WWII period. Although 'Jacques Cousteau', an officer in the French Navy, was working with experimental aqualungs near the end of WWII, U.S. Navy Underwater Demolition Teams did not have them during the war. See more »
Richard Widmark plays the new skipper of an elite UDT (Unerwater Demolition Team) unit in WW2. In many ways it was typical of the patriotic fare that was popular back then. The skipper takes over for a popular commander that was lost in a previous mission. We watch as he agonizes over almost every decision he makes. He constantly second guesses himself and compares himself to the ever popular Cassidy at every turn. As you can imagine, he grudgingly gains the respect of the team while making these life or death decisions.
The support cast is reliable - even talented. Unavoidably for the genre, we have the guy from Brooklyn - in this case Canarsie - played believably for a change by Harvey Lembeck. Not once did I hear him say the word "goil". Dana Andrews plays a veteran CPO who identifies too well with his crew and resents the skipper. Gary Merrill does a very credible job as the captain of the transport ship that delivers the UDT crew to their targets.
A couple of things caught my attention. Although this movie was produced in 1951, it depicts what amounts to an experimental unit developed in WW2. I couldn't help but notice how primitive the operations were back then. No underwater breathing gear, no communications once they were in the water, simple slates and pencils to record the details of their mission. As a launch brought them into target range, they would jump into a rubber boat, then roll off into the water. Worse yet, at their pick up point, they had to tread water, raise their hand, and wait like sitting ducks to be pulled back into the rubber boat at speed.
This is not a silly movie. It celebrates the courage of men doing a very dangerous job under impossible conditions. There are a few clichés here, but nothing we can't overlook. A good action adventure flick, well worth watching.
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