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A semi-documentary dramatization of five weeks in the life of Vice Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey, Jr., from his assignment to command the U.S. naval operations in the South Pacific to the Allied victory at Guadalcanal.
Joe spends a lot of his time at Nick's Pacific Street Saloon. Tom, who credits Joe with once saving his life, stops by regularly to run errands for Joe. Today, Tom notices a woman named Kitty when she comes into Nick's, and he quickly falls in love with her. Meanwhile, a distraught young man repeatedly calls his girlfriend, begging her to marry him. Nick himself muses on all the various persons who come into his bar, some to ask for work and others just to pass the time.Written by
Interesting Idea Plus Some Good Character Profiles
It was an interesting idea to film this William Saroyan play, which does not seem to lend itself particularly well to a screen adaptation. It turned out well enough, and in particular most of the characters are brought to life believably and effectively. James Cagney stars in what is quite an atypical role for him, and he is backed up by a good cast of character actors.
The story has Cagney as Joe, a regular at Nick's saloon who watches everyone come and go. Rather than a main story line, there are instead a number of things happening in the lives of the characters - some are important and some trivial, but all of them matter to the characters themselves. To make it work as a movie, it is essential that the cast makes the characters realistic and worth caring about, and in that regard they succeed pretty well.
William Bendix is very enjoyable as Nick, and the cast also includes Jimmy Lydon, Cagney's sister Jeanne, and Tom Powers, who is pretty effective as a menacing bully. Even most of the minor characters get some good moments of their own.
This is the kind of movie that can be pretty enjoyable if you are in the right mood for it, but that won't seem like much if you aren't. Most of it relies on simple conversation and interaction among the characters, and it has a decidedly offbeat feel to it, but if/when that's what you're in the mood for, then this works rather well.
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