This was based on a true story. About a man (Caan) who discovers that his ex-wife has disappeared along with their children. It seems that her new boyfriend works for some criminals. After ... See full summary »
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A lonely Navy sailor falls in love with a hooker and becomes a surrogate father figure for her son during an extended liberty due to his service records being lost. Written by
Dana Luke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
James Caan appeared six years later almost identically in sailors garb for an uncredited cameo in Steven Spielberg's 1941 (1979) as the sailor who throws the first punch in the ballroom fight sequence. See more »
Let me give you one piece of advice, one old salt to another... Ah, to hell with advice.
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Granted there are some literary devices which are a tad far-fetched that simply have to be accepted to allow this story to work - for one, the cavalier way in which Baggs is treated while his papers are 'lost', and for so long. None the less, this is, in the end an affecting and inspiring tale. Perhaps one of the reasons for its dubious reception here is that in this extremely cynical and selfish age people have difficulty accepting a tale about someone who assumes so much grief in order to help people ("It makes me feel good," says Baggs, simply and disarmingly.) Perhaps the world would be a better place if we could all be more like the guileless Boatswain, played by James Caan in a good-guy departure from his usual tough guy parts.
Of particular note is the fine job Eli Wallach does with the minor part of Baggs' nemesis Forshay. It's a memorable moment when Baggs, asking Forshay, as he is drummed out of the service without benefits or pension, "Where are you going? Home?", hears Forshay reply "THIS was home." The combination of sadness, bitterness, and fear of the future that Wallach puts into these three words is testimony to his power as an actor.
A bit of judicious editing might have been called for, as the movie was a tad long (cutting Paul Williams' execrable songs would have been a good place to start), but none the less it's a feel-good movie that rises above its gritty setting.
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