It's taken a dozen years for Otto Preminger's In Harm's Way to turn up in anything resembling a respectful home video edition -- it was promised in a letterboxed laserdisc at the end of the 1980s that never showed up. Thanks to the release of Pearl Harbor in the spring of 2001, it's finally out on DVD, in a transfer that's so clean, sharp, and carefully shaded that it's a joy to watch for its entire 167-minute length. Watching the movie again this way -- fully letterboxed to capture its Panavision aspect ratio -- it's astonishing to realize how contemporary the movie still seems over 35 years after it was made. One of the last big-budget movies shot in black-and-white, it has a raw look that only enhances its story, which centers on a group of officers and the women around them who survive the attack on Pearl Harbor and go on to help carry the war back to the Japanese. There are no white knights in this story, and stars John Wayne and Kirk Douglas play a pair of notably flawed protagonists. The performances, from Wayne and Douglas on down to the most anonymous extra, are perfect, and seen in the careful framing by Preminger and cinematographer Loyal Griggs, make In Harm's Way a rewarding as well as an urgent film. A major restoration has been done to the sound on this disc. The dialogue and sound effects punch through like they're happening in the same room with the viewer (there's a tiny drop in volume about 40 minutes in, but that's it for problems). Also, the music, a score by Jerry Goldsmith that has an almost Copland-esque depth at times, sounds lusher than ever. The chaptering is a little skimpy, with 24 chapters to cover a movie running over two-and-a-half hours. The supplement includes three trailers in which Otto Preminger tries to pull a Hitchcock, turning up in the middle of an action scene as himself and walking viewers through a summary of the plot and cast, all the way down to Carroll O'Connor. When he gets to Barbara Bouchet as Douglas' sluttish wife, he announces, "a new face, and a new body." His narration of the trailers is entertaining in its own way (though bizarre in some aspects of the plot summary). These, in turn, are accompanied by a featurette, "In Harm's Way: The Making of a Movie," which has considerable behind-the-scenes footage, including Bouchet's screen test. Much of it focuses not only on the actors, both in and out of character, but also on the Navy and its cooperation. The menu opens automatically on start-up and is very easy to maneuver around, advancing automatically as each item in the special feature selection plays.
[Dolby Digital Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Widescreen version enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs; Dolby Digital: English 5.1 Surround; English Dolby Surround; English subtitles; Interactive menus; Scene selection; Three theatrical trailers; "The Making of in Harm's Way"
Side #1 1. One Last Dance [5:38] 2. The Rock [:32] 3. Japanese Attack [3:28] 4. Twelve Blind Ships [2:54] 5. Relieved Of Command [5:10] 6. Less Formal [1:02] 7. Ensign Torrey [6:25] 8. Dinner Invitation [4:00] 9. Ambush [2:35] 10. Welcome To Toulebonne [5:42] 11. Missing In Action [5:58] 12. Skyhook [2:03] 13. Gavabutu [4:24] 14. Operation Apple Pie [6:14] 15. A Blueprint Of Levu Vana [7:15] 16. Survivor's Leave [:41] 17. The Face Of The Tiger [4:31] 18. Canfil's Report [:55] 19. Leave Me With A Baby [2:12] 20. The End Of Paul And Annalee [3:58] 21. Stop The Yamato [:50] 22. Pala Passage [8:41] 23. Final Orders [7:37] 24. Titles [1:25]
In Harm's Way 4.5 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
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.
More than 1 year ago
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!
More than 1 year ago
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.
More than 1 year ago
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).
More than 1 year ago
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!
More than 1 year ago
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.
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