The story of USS 'Belinda', Attack Transport PA22, launched late 1943 with regular-navy captain Hawks and ex-merchant captain MacDougall as boat commander. Despite personal friction, the two have plenty to deal with as the only experienced officers on board during the "shakedown." Almost laughable incompetence gradually improves, but the crew remains far from perfect when the ship sees action, landing troops on enemy beachheads. And few anticipate the challenges in store at Okinawa... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Kerama Retto is mentioned as the destination of the Bellinda after she is seriously damaged by a kamikaze. This island, about a dozen miles southwest of Okinawa, was taken by the 77th Infantry Division at the start of the invasion, and used as both a staging area and an emergency anchorage, exactly as shown in the movie. See more »
When the boat rocks back and forth when the officer explains why the floors in the mess hall are waxed, there is an external shot that shows the boat and the ocean, the horizon moves with the boat. See more »
There was a time that I would watch any war movie I could find. A Saturday afternoon on KHQ in Spokane would have either the "Creature Features" or something else innocuous and old, like Away All Boats, a movie that boasted being the most expensive film ever made by its studio or Hollywood, back in 1956.
Having read the book and seen the movie (probably a dozen times), it would be fair to say that it's one of my favorites, the story an attack transport in the Pacific War, captained by a man who wants to command a real warship, but is willing to pay his dues first.
It's all so vanilla, with every darn stereotype you can imagine, only on a big, lumbering freighter instead of in a foxhole. The skipper is wound too tight, the XO can't figure him out, the officers and men hate him, and they're all up to the task when the Kamikazes show up and turn the Belinda into a big, lumbering piece of almost scrap iron.
It is fun watching and identifying all the character actors who man the guns in this classically antiseptic, very '50s, WWII shootemup. The special effects are pretty impressive, what with a lot of the ships the US Navy lent to the film makers still in service. Modern kiddies might groan at the matte photography of Japanese Zeroes hurtling in to smash the Belinda into a blazing hulk, but I still have an image burned (pun intended) in my memory of Jeff Chandler screaming at the oncoming plane, waving as if he could by force of will make the crippled plane and its Jihadist pilot miss, "Get away from my ship, get AWAY from MY ship!"
That scene made Away All Boats step up a rung on the quality-meter and makes me recommend it to you, if you can find it in the "classics" section of your larger video store.
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