In Harm's WayDirector: Otto Preminger, John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Patricia Neal
In Harm's Way, based on James Bassett's novel Harm's Way, has enough plot in it for four movies or a good miniseries (when it was shown on network television in prime time, it was broken into two very full nights). On the morning of December 7, 1941, a heavy cruiser, commanded by Captain Rockwell Torrey (John Wayne), and the destroyer Cassidy, under acting commander Lieutenant (jg) William McConnell (Thomas Tryon), are two of a handful of ships that escape the destruction of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Under Torrey's command, the tiny fleet of a dozen ships carries out its orders to seek out and engage the enemy fleet. But lack of fuel and a daring maneuver (but tragic miscalculation) by Torrey causes his ship to be seriously damaged. He's relieved of command and assigned to a desk job routing convoys in the shakeup following the attack, and his exec and oldest friend, Commander Paul Eddington (Kirk Douglas), is reassigned after a brawl, the result of his anger after identifying the body of his wife (Barbara Bouchet) who was killed during the attack while cavorting with an Marine Corps officer. Torrey's shore assignment leads him to reestablish contact on a very hostile level with his estranged son, Ensign Jere Torrey (Brandon de Wilde), from his long-ended marriage; he establishes a romantic relationship with Lt. Maggie Haynes (Patricia Neal), a navy nurse; and he also befriends Commander Egan Powell (Burgess Meredith), a special-intelligence officer. Partly as a result of his contact with Powell, Torrey is chosen by the commander of the Pacific Fleet (Henry Fonda) to salvage an essential operation called Sky Hook, which has become bogged down through the indecisiveness of its area commander, Vice Admiral Broderick (Dana Andrews). Promoted to rear admiral, with Eddington -- who'd been rotting away on a shore assignment, drunk most of the time -- assigned as his chief of staff, Torrey gets Sky Hook rolling and finally finds his purpose in this war, gaining the belated admiration of his son in the process. Eddington is similarly motivated but is still haunted by the violent, ultimately self-destructive demons that blighted his marriage and his life -- he is particularly attracted to a young nurse, Annalee Dohrn (Jill Haworth), not knowing that she is already involved romantically with Jere Torrey. Meanwhile, McConnell survives the sinking of his ship and is ordered to join Torrey's staff. Matters all come to a head when the Japanese begin a counter-offensive to Torrey's planned troop landing. And just at the time Torrey needs his men at their best, Eddington's violence and rage boil to the surface in a way that will destroy him and blight both men's lives. In a final attempt at redemption, Eddington provides Torrey with the information he needs to set up a battle that he has at least a chance of winning, pitting his small task group of destroyers and cruisers against the Japanese task force led by the Yamato, the largest battleship ever built.
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Cast & Crew
|John Wayne||Capt. Rockwell Torrey|
|Kirk Douglas||Cmdr. Paul Eddington|
|Patricia Neal||Lt. Maggie Haynes|
|Tom Tryon||Lt. William McConnel|
|Dana Andrews||Adm. Broderick|
|Paula Prentiss||Bev McConnel|
|Brandon DeWilde||Ens. Jeremiah Torrey|
|Henry Fonda||CINCPAC Admiral|
|Jill Haworth||Ens. Annalee Dorne|
|Stanley Holloway||Clayton Canfil|
|Burgess Meredith||Commander Powell|
|Franchot Tone||CINCPAC I Admiral|
|Patrick O'Neal||Cmdr. Neal O'Wynn|
|Carroll O'Connor||Lieutenant Commander Burke|
|Slim Pickens||CPO Culpepper|
|Barbara Bouchet||Liz Eddington|
|Hugh O'Brian||Marine Corps Major|
|James Mitchum||Ens. Griggs|
|George Kennedy||Col. Gregory|
|Bruce Cabot||Quartermaster Quoddy|
|Tod Andrews||Capt. Tuthill|
|Stewart Moss||Ens. Balch|
|Richard Lepore||Lt. Tom Agar|
|Chet Stratton||Ship's doctor|
|Jerry Goldsmith||Piano Player|
|Larry Hagman||Lieutenant Cline|
|Soo Yong||Tearful Woman|
|Hope Bryce||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Lawrence W. Butler||Special Effects|
|Hugh S. Fowler||Editor|
|Jerry Goldsmith||Score Composer|
|Morrie Hoffman||Set Decoration/Design|
|Richard Mansfield||Set Decoration/Design|
|Eva Monley||Production Manager|
|Al Y. Roelofs||Art Director|
|Lyle Wheeler||Production Designer|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This movie has John Wayne, Kirk Dougls, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Carol O'Connor, Burgess Meredith, Patrick Oneal, Dana Andrews, and Patricia Neal. If it only had a decent cast it might have been a great movie (just kidding). Too many plots to mention. Otto Preminger (sp?) Does a great job weaving a tapestry about life and human conflict which just happens to be going on in the middle of the biggest war in the history of man. The only detraction is the special effects budget was not strained during the making of this film, but it's a film about relationships, loyalty and reconciliation before it is a film about world war two. It's about the reality that there may be a UCMJ and a navy regulations book, but there is also the real way you get things done. Damn the torpedoes boys....full speed ahead! This should be your first J.W. DVD purchase.
This movie is perhaps one of the best naval and modern war movies ever made, with its realistic composite characters and graphic surreality of war, leadership and combat command, trauma, personal loss, and rediscovery. This film should had gone on to follow-up works on the often belittled and ignored early years of the Pacific war where the Army and Navy had to fight with too few assets against an overwhelming foe! Modern medias and academics exploit the great military achievements of America's carrier forces in the Central Pacific after 1943, but too often fail to mention that MacArthur and Halsey,with their nontraditional mix of allied fighting forces unused to working with foreign compatriots, opened the way for the great Central Pacific drives by forcing Japan to divert expend men, ships and planes from all around her new empire to try and stop the Allies in the south Pacific and the Solomons! I hope that, one day, someone in Hollywood will create a qualitative miniseries that will do justice to those early difficult days and months of WW2 in the Pacific!
Great movie, the characters are human, so there flawed, real and believable, ordinary men and women fighting two wars, World War 2 and the war between themselves, their true selves,good and bad, ugly and beautiful,right and wrong.
This is an excellent movie. Not only are the characters believable but the flavor of the movie depicts a very real sense of the difficult days of WW2. The only weakness has to be in the combat scenes and model use. I am sure they were the best of the time but I wish there was some mechanism that would allow these to be removed and replaced with some using the most up to date techniques (computers and models).
Great story and lots of action! One of my favorite war films. Lots of stars in this film. The Duke and Kirk Douglas should have made more movies together. Special effects are good but the ships in the final battle look very cheesy even for that era. The sub plot between Bev (Paula Prentiss) and her husband, Lieutenant William McConnel (Tom Tryon) doesn't work in the movie and should have been left on the cutting room floor. I might also add that Paula Prentiss comes across as a poor actress in this movie. All in all this movie is a winner!
I have seen this motion picture numerous times and still enjoy it. It is one of those that you pick up things you may have missed before that make it even more meaningful. John Wayne is a natural in his role as Captain (Later Admiral) Rockwell Torrey and Kirk Douglas performs his role in an excellent manner as well. Patricia Neal adds the needed feminine touch in a war movie, but also gives a an excellent performance in her role as a naval nurse. I have always enjoyed seeing Wayne, Douglas, and Neal perform. The supporting cast in this memorable film do a very credible job as well. It is tragic that Brandon DeWilde died at an early age as I think he would have become an even better actor. He did well as Torrey's son, Jere. Of course, Dana Andrews, Carroll O'Connor, Tom Tryon, and Henry Fonda provided excellent performances as well. Preminger put together an excellent cast for this film. I do not have any one favorite film, but this one ranks along with my favorites which include The Fountainhead, The Razor's Edge, Casablanca, Patton, and others. In Harm's Way is a spendid film dealing with World War II in the Pacific Theatre. I would recommend this film to anyone who values substance, a worthy plot, decency, beliveable action, and honor in human endeavors. While I realize it does not carry an R rating, frankly I think it ranks far and above much of the cinema trash making its way to movie houses today.