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One of the best WW2 films. There are several reasons why I rate this as
only just below the top notch WW2 films. The special effects for the
period are excellent, particularly during the kamikaze attacks. You
only need to look back to WW2 films from a few years before this (They
Were Expendable, Guadalcanal Diary etc) to see the advances that were
made in special effects over a short period. The fact that it is not
based on one of the more high profile naval vessels such as aircraft
carrier, submarine, battleship is also a bonus. The purpose of the
transport ships was to land the troops safely at a given point at a
given time. They were not glamorous but were critical to the success of
island hopping in WW2. The film also shows human frailties as well as
strengths such as incompetence, poor officers, even cowardice is hinted
The story develops well, and shows the moulding together of a crew to become an effective fighting force. How realistic it is I don't know, but it looks good on film. The fact that there are several character actors well known at the time such as Richard Boone is a bonus.
Some of the scenes are a bit over the top and detract slightly from the quality, but I think this is pretty typical of films from this era. Not sure the scenes between George Nader and Julie Adams add much to the film, but I suppose they do demonstrate that many of the crew were family men and that sacrifices were made by all, not just those directly involved in the war.
Altogether very good though, and a film I shall enjoy watching frequently.
Away All Boats is a nice war picture about the captain and crew of a
Navy transport ship in World War II. Jeff Chandler is all navy and the
total professional as he takes command of the USS Belinda and whips the
crew and the ship into professional fighting trim.
But command is a lonely business and the captain is slowly broken down both physically and mentally. In a way, Chandler's Jebediah Hawks is the antithesis of the Captain in Mister Roberts. Chandler is also in one of the less glamorous parts of the Navy, but even as a disciplinarian, he commands respect in a way that James Cagney in Mister Roberts never could and never will.
Chandler gets good support in this film from the rest of the cast which includes such professionals as Richard Boone, George Nader, Lex Barker, and Charles McGraw.
Good war picture, I highly recommend it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I am going to give reasons here why "Away All Boats" is just about the best naval drama ever put onto film. Self-evidently, this unpretentious but absorbing movie has a lot going for it, Among its assets are beautiful color photography, a stellar cast headed by Jeff Chandler as Captain Jeb Hawks, steady direction by Joseph Pevney, a very good cast, dramatic situations and very interesting characters. Standouts in the very unusually-large cast include Richard Boone, Charles Mcgraw, Keith Andes, Arthur Space, Frank Faylen and James Westerfield. All the creators and technicians involved have given this film a very spacious and attractive look. Kenneth Dodson's intelligent novel has been realized here as a very in-depth look at how the US Navy's officers and enlisted men got their job done in WWII. If anything was missing from the final product, it was three minor elements. Jeff Chandler, fresh off his most charismatic work in "Flame of Araby" here acts well but lacks his usual voltage to a degree; George Naderis attractive and adequate as his heir apparent, but Keith Andes should have played this vital role. And there could perhaps have been a bit more character development accorded to some of the other crewmen along the way in Ted Sherdeman's generally excellent film script. But the several battle scenes are very excitingly-mounted and staged; the dialogue is always above average; Hawks' warning the kamikaze planes away from his vessel is an unforgettable moment; and the long climax as the men try to save their ship after the captain has been killed, following his dying advice, is an unforgettable achievement. Julie Adams plays Nader's lovely wife, and there is comedy and incompetence, bravery and extreme ingenuity on exhibit throughout. This is an adult film about the Navy; but it is also about what it takes to be a successful human being, especially in a time of great danger or challenge. One of my favorite never-missed and always-recommended cinematic works.
Though frequently melodramatic, this film gives a viewer a good feel for the business of running one of the less glamorous but vital warships of the period. Much of the Navy footage is vivid and convincing. The opening dialogue between the old shipbuilder and the young officer is a memorable dramatic device.
AWAY ALL BOATS differs from a lot of war movies at the time . It's shot
in colour ( Don't forget that many prestigious war movies from the mid
1950s were still being done in monochrome )and doesn't suffer from the
seriously deadpan pseudo intellectualism of many other war films of
The setting for the story is on the USS Belinda , a navy transport ( Assualt ? ) ship in the Pacific campaign . It should be pointed out that AWAY ALL BOATS is also a film that doesn't concentrate on action , so don't go into this film expecting massive explosions all the way through because it's a much more thoughtful film than that . We see why discipline is needed , why it's a bad idea to wax a floor on a ship and why aircraft identification is very important , it was very rare in those days for Hollywood to show a friendly fire scene and after seeing this movie you'll feel as though you've just served alongside Captain Hawks
A war film that's possibly more informative than it is exciting but one that has merit
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is my movie! I served active duty Navy from 1976 to 1983. My first
assignment was aboard USS Mobile (LKA-115). Mobile was built in 1967, a
successor of the Belinda. We had cargo holds, landing craft, 120 troop
berths for a combat battalion. Our mission was to transport troops and
put them on the beach with the means to stay engaged for two weeks,
until resupplied. My service was during peace, no one was shooting at
But to see the movie, the ship to shore movement, Landing Craft circling prior to loading troops and equipment, discuss them as the main weapon of the ship - brought back many memories.
Many of the scenes felt "true" to me, watch standing, inspecting the water filled hold, towing to safety.
When I am asked what my navy experience was like I tell people to watch this movie but realize I served when we were at peace.
I have watched this movie countless times and still rate it as one of the best to ever come out of Hollywood. Jeff Chandler is superb in his leadership role, and one has to feel touched by his loneliness, trying to play the role of leadership and friend. George Nader did an outstanding job in support along with a star-studded cast of Julie Adams, Lex Barker, Keith Andes, William Reynolds, Don Keefer, Jock Mahoney and everybody else who participated in this movie. The photography was well ahead of it's time with the battle scenes and beautifully filmed in every way. A must to see, and always looking for re-runs.
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.
Away All Boats is a World War II movie about men at sea. The first time I watched it, I thought it was rather slow moving. I've now seen it 5 times, and it gets better every time. I catch something new each time I watch it. I'm looking forward to seeing it again. How did I miss so much the first time I saw it? I now love the pace of this movie and see that it is well suited to telling the story. The photography is great and sometimes even spectacular in Away All Boats. There are also some nice moments of humor in this movie. I recommend this one. 8/10.
This film is a true classic and one against which many other films of the genre have been judged. This is basically THE representative film of all the World War 2 films made in the 50's. Some of those other films were better than this one, some worse. This film is a middle of the road type film. It has a couple of big stars and a lot of character actors as well....faces you've seen in lots of films, yet you don't know the actors name. LOTS of actors made very comfortable lives doing just this sort of work. Some of those actors eventually became stars, like Richard Boone and Jeff Chandler, but the majority didn't. War films flourished in the late 40's and through the 50's, usually black and white (this one is color), low budget films, but Hollywood churned them out. And people flocked to them. This one is no exception...well done, overall.
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