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.
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 »
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 »
As would be the case with DESTINATION GOBI (1953), which I’ve just watched, this unusual war film about a specialized outfit also happens to be a starring vehicle for Richard Widmark (and, similarly, featured no prominent female roles). Fox were noted for the documentary-style approach to their films for the first few years of the post-war era; this was a typical example, mixing realistic detail (while the underwater photography in itself is well done, the film tends to drag during these sequences) with a number of established Hollywood conventions.
Widmark begins by rubbing his men the wrong way because of their devotion to his predecessor, with Dana Andrews as his chief antagonist (especially after the former opts to leave the latter behind during a reconnaissance operation). At one point, however, Andrews has to take over a mission when Widmark becomes indisposed (where the former’s lack of responsibility leads to serious injuries sustained by one of the men); eventually, the two acquire a mutual respect – which occurs when a torpedo fired at the ship by the enemy fails to explode and has to be delicately dismantled.
The latter sequence is one of four suspense/action set-pieces in the film: the others being the two underwater missions themselves and the trial run for the first operation mentioned above. The supporting cast is led by Gary Merrill (acting as, more or less, the voice of conscience) and Jeffrey Hunter (as a brash young member of the team); also appearing, in unbilled roles, are subsequent favorite character actors James Gregory and Jack Warden.
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