Hero Ships: Season 1, Episode 8

USS Laffey (21 Jul. 2008)

TV Episode
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The USS Laffey was in reality two great vessels with the same name--the first, DD-459, fought to the death in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in November 1942. The second, DD-724, was at ... See full summary »

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The USS Laffey was in reality two great vessels with the same name--the first, DD-459, fought to the death in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in November 1942. The second, DD-724, was at the center of World War II's most intensely brutal kamikaze attack, where it earned the nickname "The Ship that Would Not Die." However, the crew casualties were high: over 30 perished and another 70 were wounded. Written by Lou Reda Productions

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21 July 2008 (USA)  »

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Jury Rigged.
1 October 2014 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

The first USS Laffey was a Benson class destroyer built from a 1930s design. Compared to later models it was slow and underarmed. It was sent to help relieve the Marines stranded on Guadalcanal in 1942, participated in several engagements, and was sunk during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.

The second USS Laffey was a Sumner class destroyer, bigger and better armed. The second Laffey participated in the D-Day invasion, shelling German positions near Cherbourg, and taking a hit from a massive German artillery shell that did not explode. Then she was sent to the Pacific and took station as a picket ship whose mission was to warn of incoming Kamikaze attacks. The Laffey became a prime target and was hit by bombs, a torpedo, and several suicide planes. Wrecked but still afloat, she was sent to Seattle and later installed as a relic in the harbor at Charleston, along with several other ships of the period.

The editing of the film is nicely done and there is some raw movie footage taken aboard the Laffey after the Kamikaze attacks. The writers have presented a rough sketch of the history in an organized manner.

Yet, the film is irritating. The electronic musical score, by Firstcom or some such outfit, is -- whew -- awful, sounding like the track from some cheaply made Italian horror movie. It spoils every scene in which it's audible.

And the writers don't know their stuff, and neither does the narrator. The viewer will be surprised to learn that Douglas MacArthur landed at an island named Leyte, rather than at a gulf of the same name. While the film isn't a sleazy flag waver, it does airbrush some incidents so that the Americans and the Laffey emerge looking polished.

As interesting as anything else in the film, and far more endearing, are the remembrances of the crew members who survived long enough to be interviewed for the program.

It's too bad so many elements were thrown together with so little care for major and minor details.


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