Col. Mike Kirby picks two teams of crack Green Berets for a mission in South Vietnam. First off is to build and control a camp that is trying to be taken by the enemy the second mission is to kidnap a North Vietnamese General.
A Union Cavalry outfit is sent behind Confederate lines in strength to destroy a rail/supply center. Along with them is sent a doctor who causes instant antipathy between him and the ... See full summary »
On patrol the morning of December 7th commanding a cruiser Captain Torrie receives word of the attack on Pearl Harbor. His orders are to find the Japanese force and attack it. The picture tells the story of three families during the outbreak of World War ll. Written by
Until recently Adms. Kimmell and Nimitz were identified in the credits simply as CINCPAC1 and CINCPAC2. Neither of them is referred to by name in the movie and any reference to them is always as 'CINCPAC'. See more »
At the formalities bestowing Admiral's rank on Capt. Torrey, Admiral Nimitz (CINCPAC II) said "After the formalities of the ceremonies peter out, join Egan and me." Admiral Torrey was briefed and then Adm Nimitz handed Torrey his old 2 stars for the collar, and said, "If there was any luck in them, you're gonna need it." Torrey thanked him, and then standing, still within Nimitz's "zone" (to Adm. Nimitz) merely turned and left. In practice, this would never happen. Adm. Torrey would have taken one step rearward still facing Adm. Nimitz, came to attention, and then been "dismissed," although it might have been an understood dismissal and not verbalized. See more »
I've always felt that in these big budget all star epics, the trick is to give each of the star a role of substance as small as the part might be sometimes. That's one of the best things about In Harm's Way, Otto Preminger cast this film with a whole lot of big movie names and each one of them made their presence felt.
Case in point the three admirals played by Franchot Tone, Dana Andrews, and Henry Fonda. All three are very different type men. Tone is a man knowing he'll be sitting the war out because it was on his watch that the Pearl Harbor attack occurred. He's not bitter, he knows that's how things work in the navy. Dana Andrews is a publicity conscious admiral who employs the unctuous Patrick O'Neal in that regard. Henry Fonda plays the second commander in chief of the Pacific, Chester Nimitz in all but name. Oddly enough Fonda would play Nimitz again and by name in the film Midway a decade later. All three of these men make a deep impression on the audience despite having limited roles.
I'm sure that when Otto Preminger was casting In Harm's Way he must have seen Operation Pacific and saw the easy chemistry that John Wayne and Patricia Neal had 14 years earlier. Playing older and wiser versions of themselves from the previous film, Wayne and Neal show love ain't just for the young.
In Harm's Way has the Duke as a father figure for the first time. As Rockwell Torrey, the rock of ages as Kirk Douglas calls him, in addition to the Pacific War he takes on a whole lot of people's problems and they look to him for advice and comfort. In addition to his biological son Brandon DeWilde, the Duke also deals with Kirk Douglas and his problem concerning his tramp of a wife and the problems of young Lieutenant j.g. Tom Tryon and his wife Paula Prentiss.
One of my favorite John Wayne scenes is with Prentiss as he brings her the news about Tryon being missing in action. It is so well done from both players I'm still moved after having seen In Harm's Way a dozen times or more.
Acting honors however may go to Kirk Douglas as Wayne's chief aide who has the most complex role in the film. Douglas runs the gamut of emotions as he does in so many of his roles, from naval hero to maniacal rapist. Douglas actually hopes the war coming will help him put his personal problems on a back burner. For a while and it does, but only temporarily.
Another favorite I have here is Patrick O'Neal who if there is a villain other than the Japanese, he's it. He's a smarmy former Congressman who's looking as the war as a series of photo ops and is already planning his post war political career. O'Neal's not above jeopardizing a naval operation for the sake of a little publicity for his boss Dana Andrews. His confrontation with Kirk Douglas in the latrine is a classic.
In Harm's Way is a skilled blend of war drama and soap opera in the best sense of that term. It can be enjoyed and appreciated by fans of both.
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