Aboard the U.S. submarine S13 in the China seas, Chief Torpedoman Burke goes about his duties. In actuality, he is Quartermaine, the infamous former commander of the British ship Royal Scot, which was sunk by Germans with a Field Marshal aboard. Quartermaine had told his sweetheart that the Field Marshal would be aboard, not knowing that she was an informant for the enemy. When the S13 sinks, Burke takes charge when the commander, Ensign Price, is unable to command. Burke must keep his mates alive long enough on the bottom of the sea for rescuers to arrive.Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
"frankie and johnny were sweethearts"..You know the old brass-rail ballad now being revived and sung by respectable people. But wait till you hear Frank Richardson sing it at the world's longest bar on the lurid Shanghai Bund...one of many scenes in Men Without Women (Print Ad- Florence Times-News, ((Florence, Ala.)) 13 April 1930) See more »
The only extant sound version is actually from a work print for the International version. It's held by the Museum of Modern Art. See more »
The only existing version is in the Museum of Modern Art and runs 73 minutes. The credits differ widely from those listed in the AFI Catalogue, probably because this was a working print, as explained in the trivia section. See more »
An Underrated Early Sound Gem From Director John Ford
The full sound version of this early talking John Ford film remains lost but thankfully this international work-print with inter-titles for dialogue and narration (and some sound) has survived and is preserved by the Museum of Modern Art. Up to now, this film was only available from VHS recordings of AMC's Film Preservation Festival from 1999.
After being called back to their ship during liberty in Shanghai, the sailors of the S-13 are struck by another passing vessel and sink to the bottom of the ocean. While waiting to be rescued and with oxygen levels dwindling, the men of the S-13 fight for their lives and sometimes each other in suspenseful anticipation to see who will make it out alive.
In addition to Ford's direction, the cast of characters makes the movie an enjoyable experience and makes you care for each of their fates. Kenneth McKenna as the Naval officer with a secret, young Frank Albertson as a rookie ensign who is unexpectedly thrust into being a leader for his men, Warren Hymer as a ruffian sailor hiding a heart of gold, young Stu Erwin as the S-13's radioman and Ford stock player J. Farrell McDonald as the old navy veteran. Be on the lookout towards the end of the film for young John Wayne as a radioman up on the surface.
The film has been restored for Fox's MOD DVD release and I've never seen it clearer and more beautiful. Kudos to everyone involved in getting this film restored and released because it's a true unsung gem in John Ford's very long directorial career.
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