Mister Roberts

Mister Roberts

4.4 7
Director: John Ford, Mervyn LeRoy

Cast: Henry Fonda, James Cagney


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John Ford and Mervyn LeRoy's WW II comedy/drama comes to DVD in a superb package. The disc boasts a widescreen transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. A closed-captioned English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital 5.1, while a French soundtrack has been recorded in Dolby Digital Mono. Subtitles are accessible in both of those… See more details below


John Ford and Mervyn LeRoy's WW II comedy/drama comes to DVD in a superb package. The disc boasts a widescreen transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. A closed-captioned English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital 5.1, while a French soundtrack has been recorded in Dolby Digital Mono. Subtitles are accessible in both of those languages. The bountiful supplemental materials include a commentary track by the late great Jack Lemmon (who won an Oscar for his work in this movie), nine theatrical trailers, production notes, an excerpt from an episode of The Ed Sullivan Show that concerned the film, and an excerpt from the documentary Fonda on Fonda. This disc proves that lavish DVD releases can and should be given to classic films.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Reprising the role he made famous in Joshua Logan’s Broadway smash, Henry Fonda stars in Mister Roberts, an almost perfect comedic drama distinguished by bright scripting, unobtrusively effective direction, and superb playing by a marvelous ensemble cast. The story takes place during World War II, largely aboard an American cargo ship where patriotic officer Fonda laments that he’s not seeing action. Additionally, he’s tormented by James Cagney, as the boorish, irascible Captain Morion, a career hack who bullies all his subordinates in general and Fonda in particular. Former leading man William Powell sparkles as a wryly philosophical doctor who commiserates with Fonda, and Jack Lemmon very nearly steals the picture with his dynamic portrayal of the crafty, opportunistic Ensign Pulver, whose schemes precipitate some of the film’s most memorable sequences. The adaptation by Logan and Frank Nugent retains much of the stage show’s snappy dialogue, and Fonda predictably brings his ineffable charm and quiet dignity to the title role (reportedly his favorite). Direction began under John Ford (The Searchers), who quarreled incessantly with the star and was eventually replaced by Mervyn LeRoy (I Am a Fugitive from the Chain Gang) with no apparent detriment to the final product. No other film better chronicles the lighter side of World War II, making Mister Roberts unique among movies set during that tumultuous conflict. The DVD includes a commentary by Jack Lemmon, relevant excerpts from the documentary Fonda on Fonda, nine theatrical trailers, production notes, and footage from Ed Sullivan's TV tribute to the stage show.
All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Mister Roberts was one of the more thoughtful, reflective films from the 1950s to deal with World War II. It was a reflection of the distance filmmakers as well as the public had come from the war, a distance which allowed for a more sophisticated dramatic treatment of the conflict and the people involved. Other films during this era also reflected the new maturity, among them, The Caine Mutiny, Between Heaven and Hell, and The Naked and the Dead. Mister Roberts was the most successful of them all, and for good reason -- though getting it made properly took real work. It stood to figure that John Ford was ideal for the project, since he loved the United States Navy more than almost anything else in his life (he retired from the reserves as a rear admiral). With Mister Roberts, however, Ford may have been too close to his subject and slightly too old to do justice to the script, and he butted up against the competing personality of star Henry Fonda. Fonda had scored a huge hit on Broadway in the stage version of Mister Roberts, but he'd given up hope of ever doing the movie, since he hadn't been on-screen in eight years and major studios weren't convinced that he was still a box office draw. As a condition of directing the film, Ford insisted on Fonda to star -- but the two were at loggerheads from the beginning of the production, mainly over the director's tendency to inject rough-house comedy into his movies. Such an approach breathed life into Ford's somber cavalry movies, such as Fort Apache, but Mister Roberts was a character-driven story with very little real action, and Fonda thought the director's emphasis on laughs would destroy the integrity of the material. Ford's demanding, dictatorial directing style -- exacerbated by his excessive drinking -- created tension between the two, which erupted into a fistfight after only a few weeks' work. Ford left the production and was replaced by Mervyn LeRoy, who essentially asked the cast to use their best judgement and make the kind of movie Ford would've made. The end result is a finely textured character study that captured the best dramatic moments of the play as it interspersed an effective, new comic element. Fonda, who'd previously performed in four films for the director, would never work with Ford again; the director would only make one more navy film after Mister Roberts, the successful Donovan's Reef.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital, monaural]

Special Features

Audio commentary by Jack Lemmon; Documentary excerpt of an Ed Sullivan "Toast of the Town" tribute episode featuring the movie's stars; Excerpt from the documentary "Fonda on Fonda" profiling Henry Fonda's involvement with the play and film; Soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1; Interactive menus; Production notes; 9 theatrical trailers ; Scene access; Languages and subtitles: English, Français

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Henry Fonda Lt. Doug Roberts
James Cagney Captain Morion
William Powell Doc
Jack Lemmon Ens. Frank Thurlowe Pulver
Betsy Palmer Lt. Ann Girard
Ward Bond C.P.O. Dowdy
Philip Carey Mannion
Nick Adams Reber
Ken Curtis Dolan
Frank Aletter Gerhart
Fritz Ford Lindstrom
Buck Kartalian Mason
William Hudson Olson
Harry Tenbrook Cookie
Perry Lopez Rodrigues
Robert Roark Insigna
Patrick Wayne Bookser
Tige Andrews Wiley
Jim Moloney Kennedy
Shug Fisher Johnson
Danny Borzage Jonesey
Jimmy Murphy Taylor
Kathleen O'Malley Nurse
Maura Murphy Nurse
Mimi Doyle Nurse
Lonnie Pierce Nurse
Gregory Walcott Shore Patrolman
James Flavin MP
Jack Pennick Marine Sergeant
Duke Kahanamoku Native Chief
Harold Kruger Schlemmer
Harry Carey Stefanowski
William Henry Lt. Billings
Stubby Kruger Schlemmer
Martin Milner Shore Patrol Officer

Technical Credits
John Ford Director
Mervyn LeRoy Director
Gordon Bau Makeup
Leland Hayward Producer
Winton Hoch Cinematographer
William L. Kuehl Set Decoration/Design
Art Loel Art Director
Joshua Logan Screenwriter
Moss Mabry Costumes/Costume Designer
William Mueller Sound/Sound Designer
Jack Murray Editor
Frank S. Nugent Screenwriter
Wingate Smith Asst. Director
Franz Waxman Score Composer

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Scene Index

Side #1 -- Widescreen
0. Jump to a Scene
1. Dawn Watch Credits; Reveille [3:57]
2. The Latest Letter [6:46]
3. Sick Call [2:38]
4. Taking in the View [3:00]
5. Captain on Deck [3:19]
6. Pulver Meets the Nurses [4:08]
7. A Scotch Recipe [7:43]
8. A Challenge to Pulver [3:04]
9. Roberts Wants In [3:21]
10. The Firecracker Idea [1:04]
11. "Ain't Never Gonna Get Off This Ship!" [6:03]
12. "Are You One of My Officers?" [3:43]
13. Harmless and the Visitors [5:27]
14. Welcome to Elysium [3:58]
15. The Price of Liberty [8:24]
16. Returning From Liberty [8:59]
17. Shoving Off [1:41]
18. A Changed Roberts [4:16]
19. A Big Bang for V-E Day [10:22]
20. Casting Out the Enemy [3:17]
21. General Alarm [1:47]
22. "Who Did It?" [1:51]
23. Stabbed in the Back [1:54]
24. Doctor on the Double [1:14]
25. "Good Night, Mister Roberts" [1:04]
26. Transfer Day [2:10]
27. Thanks for Everything [3:45]
28. The New Cargo Officer [1:01]
29. Order of the Palm [2:59]
30. Mail Call [1:13]
31. The Unseen Enemy [3:25]
32. Sad News [1:21]
33. I, Pulver; Cast List [1:51]

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