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Hellcats of the Navy (1957)

 -  Drama | Thriller | War  -  May 1957 (USA)
5.3
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 528 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 1 critic

The daring exploits of a submarine commander whose mission is to chart the minefields in the watersof Japan during WWII. This is Ronald and Nancy Reagan's only screen appearance together.

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
...
Nurse Lt. Helen Blair (as Nancy Davis)
Arthur Franz ...
Lt. Cmdr. Don Landon
Robert Arthur ...
Freddy Warren
William Leslie ...
Lt. Paul Prentice
William 'Bill' Phillips ...
Carroll (as William Phillips)
Harry Lauter ...
Lt. (j.g.) Wes Barton
Michael Garth ...
Lt. Charlie
...
Chick (as Joseph Turkel)
...
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Storyline

The daring exploits of a submarine commander whose mission is to chart the minefields in the watersof Japan during WWII. This is Ronald and Nancy Reagan's only screen appearance together.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Down . . . Down . . . Down . . . into enemy waters with the fightin' hellcats of the U.S. sub pack !

Genres:

Drama | Thriller | War

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

May 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hellcats of the Sea  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The 'Los Angeles Times' in June 1956 reported that Edmund H. North worked on this movie's screenplay but as he is not billed as being a writer in the credits for this picture it is not known the extent to which his work may have been included in the final shooting script. See more »

Goofs

Just before the American submarine "Starfish" is sunk, a Japanese submarine hydrophone operator is shown wearing a Telephonics headphones headset. Telephonics is an American brand made in New York, NY. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing and Charm School (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

World War Two Submarine Saga Featuring Mr. & Mrs. Reagan
13 February 1999 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

US Navy submarines bravely try to penetrate the heavily-mined entrance to the Sea of Japan, in order to sink enemy shipping which is carrying coal, food and iron from China to the Japanese homeland.

On one level a simple war action movie, this film is also a commendable study in the morality of leadership. The central question posed by the movie is whether a commander's duty towards a single seaman in obvious danger outweighs his overall responsibility to his crew.

Ronald Reagan is very good as the straight, correct Captain Casey Abbott. Back at Guam he has a girl, a nurse in the military hospital (Nancy Davis, to give her her professional name). When a frogman who is also a rival for the nurse's affections gets into difficulties, Captain Casey has to try to separate personal and professional motivations.

Casey's Executive Officer, Dan Landon, clashes with his skipper but by a twist of fate finds himself having to make a very similar decision. Will he call the plays differently?

The film works as an uncomplicated war story, but does contain a few infelicities. The submariners are depicted as nice guys in order to enlist viewer sympathy, but this is a little overdone and the sailors come across as childish simpletons, stealing cookies and hiding their dice. Wes Barton has to be portrayed as a popular guy so that we will resent his treatment at the Captain's hands, but to have sailors pleading for a Barton story as he is entering the airlock on a dangerous mission is just unbelievable. The crew of the USS Starfish get sealed orders for a special mission. They are to enter the Straits of Tsushima, land a party on a fortified island, and destroy its defences. Would an ordinary submarine crew really be entrusted with such a specialised task? The frogman sequences are shot in murky water and are hard to follow. Penetration of the minefield channel is effected in a few seconds, when such an undertaking would surely last many hours.

For contemporary viewers, much of the film's interest will lie in the unique experience of watching Ron and Nancy onscreen together. They had been married for five years when "Hellcats" was made, and at the time of writing, 42 years later, they are still going strong. It is tempting, if unwarranted, to scrutinize their lines for significant snippets. Ronald Reagan's character is asked what he will do after the War and he announces, "I'm going into the surplus business." Given his leadership style, some would say that was an accurate prediction of both his gubernatorial performance in California and his presidency. Much of Ron's dialogue is an essay on the burden of leadership, and how only a special few are fitted to bear it. Nancy confides to him, "You know I was fresh out of a bad marriage when we met. I wanted to be sure this time. So we played it safe, until I knew you were Mr. Right." In fairness to the Reagans, that, at least, has proved to be autobiographical.


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Bad - really, really bad pat2580
Old Chesty Nimitz was in this. agoreski
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Error in cast listing. rdbzhch-1
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