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The story of USS 'Belinda', Attack Transport PA22, launched late 1943 with regular-navy captain Hawks and ex-merchant captain MacDougall as boat commander. Despite personal friction, the two have plenty to deal with as the only experienced officers on board during the "shakedown." Almost laughable incompetence gradually improves, but the crew remains far from perfect when the ship sees action, landing troops on enemy beachheads. And few anticipate the challenges in store at Okinawa... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The studio got the U.S. Navy's permission to join 200 ships and 10,000 men in the Virgin Islands to film a three-day assault on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. Some of the footage was included in this film. The cast and crew boarded in St. Thomas and filmed aboard the USS Randall (renamed the Belinda in the film). The crew shot deck and aerial photography of the Navy's maneuvers. Director Joseph Pevney hired 25 Marines as extras for the film. See more »
Lines are visible towing models of Japanese planes several times during the final battle sequences. See more »
Capt. Jebediah S. Hawks:
[to his officers on the bridge]
Rehearsals from now on will be with troops. Please do not drown them. They are needed for future commitments to battle.
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One of the best WW2 films. There are several reasons why I rate this as only just below the top notch WW2 films. The special effects for the period are excellent, particularly during the kamikaze attacks. You only need to look back to WW2 films from a few years before this (They Were Expendable, Guadalcanal Diary etc) to see the advances that were made in special effects over a short period. The fact that it is not based on one of the more high profile naval vessels such as aircraft carrier, submarine, battleship is also a bonus. The purpose of the transport ships was to land the troops safely at a given point at a given time. They were not glamorous but were critical to the success of island hopping in WW2. The film also shows human frailties as well as strengths such as incompetence, poor officers, even cowardice is hinted at.
The story develops well, and shows the moulding together of a crew to become an effective fighting force. How realistic it is I don't know, but it looks good on film. The fact that there are several character actors well known at the time such as Richard Boone is a bonus.
Some of the scenes are a bit over the top and detract slightly from the quality, but I think this is pretty typical of films from this era. Not sure the scenes between George Nader and Julie Adams add much to the film, but I suppose they do demonstrate that many of the crew were family men and that sacrifices were made by all, not just those directly involved in the war.
Altogether very good though, and a film I shall enjoy watching frequently.
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