In the 1940s, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor destroyed Americans' morale. The president of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, decided to risk it all to bomb Tokyo, raising the ... See full summary »
On patrol the morning of December 7th while commanding a cruiser Captain Torrey receives word of the attack on Pearl Harbor. His orders are to find the Japanese force and attack it. The picture tells the story of three families during the outbreak of World War II.Written by
The islands identified by Torrey as Gavabutu, Levu Vana, and Tokaroa are actually San Cristobal, Guadalcanal, and Malaita. Pala Passage would become known as Ironbottom Sound because of the number of ships that would be sunk there in coming battles. Cape Titan probably referred to the Japanese base at Rabaul on New Britain, about six hundred fifty miles from Guadalcanal. The battle for Guadalcanal began on August 7, 1942, and would not end until February, 1943. Although they say that the majority of forces are with MacArthur in the Solomons, Guadalcanal is in the eastern Solomons. The dividing line between MacArthur's area of responsibility, and Nimitz's was the 159 degrees east. See more »
Naval regulation requires Navy personnel to remove their covers (hats) indoors. Nimitz and his staff are wearing their covers when visiting Torrey. See more »
Though a film about US entry into World War II centering on the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, "In Harm's Way" has a 60's look and feel about it. The opening sequence with Barbara Bouchet as Liz Eddington salaciously dancing around teasing all the men and infuriating all the women is more a twist than a swing. The dress she wears is also more of a sack dress than the skirts fashionable in America in 1941. John Ford's 1945 "They Were Expendable," starring John Wayne, is a superior film overall and is closer to home since it was made during the war years. Still "In Harm's Way" has its moments and should be enjoyed, especially by the many fans of the Duke.
The story about Capt. Rockwell Torrey (Wayne) trying to get to know the son he has not seen since the boy was four nearly slips into maudlin sentimentality several times, but is yanked back to more refined cinema by director Otto Preminger. Ditto for the budding romances between Admiral Torrey and Maggie Haynes (Patricia Neal), and between the admiral's son, Jere (Brandon De Wilde) and Annalee (Jill Haworth). The battle scenes are exciting and well-staged. The ending is a bit much but still satisfactory. The acting by a Hollywood cast of major stars of the era is top notch all the way as is to be expected.
The screen play by Wendell Mayes from James Bassett's novel, "Harm's Way," is effective, telling the story of Admiral Rockwell Torrey's daring comeback following humiliation at Pearl Harbor. Torrey is sent to salvage a mess up by politically motivated Admiral Broderick (Dana Andrews), whose tactics are similar to General George B. McClellan's in the early days of the American Civil War and for like reasons. The assignment is in reality a backup operation to take pressure from the main assault by the Japanese on General Douglas MacArthur's forces in the Pacific. Against great odds, including one of the largest ships in the Japanese navy, Admiral Torrey and his fighting men, including several nurses, must persevere. Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz (Henry Fonda) personally places full confidence and support in Torrey. Along with the brutal fighting are the subplots involving the romances and father-son theme mentioned above.
John Wayne fans and war action fans should enjoy "In Harm's Way." I highly recommend "They Were Expendable" for those viewers who like this movie.
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