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 to enter through the scuttle in the overhead. See more »
Stock plot benefits from fine technical detail-- an interesting historical document
The story in this one is nothing new-- the captain of an underwater demolition team (UDT) during WWII, who is a replacement to the previous beloved captain, must gain the respect of his men. The dialogue is at times a little hokey, and the performances are solid, but nothing stellar.
However, the project was obviously a heart-felt effort to capture, in detail, life aboard a WWII vessel, the procedures, the politics, and the rather fascinating methods and exploits of early UDTs, and that's what makes the film stand out. What you get is (I'm guessing) a pretty accurate representation of naval special forces in WWII, and it is quite interesting to watch how a team would covertly get in and out of shallow water near a beach to plant explosives and do recon, while being heavily shelled, often with nothing on them besides swim trunks, flippers and goggles! There are also a few very good, tense scenes. (the scene where their explosives expert has to disarm a torpedo with a tongue depressor is particularly nice-- expresses all the emotion and tension of such a moment without forcing it with a dramatic score).
Recommended to anyone interested in war history, or who enjoys a nicely crafted war movie.
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