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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mister Roberts (Released in 1955) starring Henry Fonda, Jack Lemmon and William Powell

Mister Roberts is a comedy – drama, which was adapted from the book written by Thomas Heggan based on his experiences aboard USS Virgo in the South Pacific during world war II. It is also adapted as a broadway play. Mister Roberts was nominated for 4 Oscars, winning Jack Lemmon an Oscar for the best supporting actor.
The film takes place aboard an American Naval Cargo ship during World War II in the south pacific. The ship supplies the essentials to the US naval fleet engaged in combat in the South Pacific and is commanded by Captain Morton, a dictatorial officer who does not give any leeway for the crew but has a spotless record of delivering the goods on schedule. Because of his oppressive behaviour, the crew despises him. Mister Robers or Lt JG Douglas Robert, the second-in-command, is a genial man and has an excellent relationship with the crew. He is the only one who is able to manage the crew and make them do the needfull and, without the Captain's knowledge, gives some freedom to the crew members. But his heart is set for a transfer to the combat areas. Captain Morton refuses his requests because, he knows that Roberts is the only one who can manage the crew.

Morton bags all the credit for managing the crew and is presented with a palm tree by an Admiral. This much despised tree is kept on the bridge of the ship in a dirt filled bucket. For the crew it is a symbol of subjugation. Ultimately Roberts, tired of the oppression, supercedes Captain Morton and requests for crew liberty. Morton, after heated discussion, grants a small vacation in lieu of Roberts not pushing for a transfer. Roberts agrees and the crew goes for a vacation. But this liberty comes at a great cost with the crew members indulging in arson, stealing and other disruptive activities. Things go from worse to worst, with the military police surrounds the ship to prevent the crew from going ashore. Captain Morton yells at Roberts, which further depresses him.
As the world war is ending Roberts finds himself very far from the combat zone and his dream of engaging in combat slipping away. He gets very depressed. Yet one day, inspired by a radio speech, he tosses the Captains palm tree overboard. The incensed Captain transfers Roberts and elevates the mild-mannered Ensign Pulver, to his position and oppresses the crew as before.
Things change when Mr. Roberts' letter arrives for Pulver where he describes combat in Okinawa and his excitement to a part of it. This is followed by another letter From Pulver's friend who is posted at the same front as Roberts informing him about his death in combat. This breaks Pulver's pleasant demeanor and energizes him to fight for his rights. An inspired Pulver confronts the captain and asks for the liberty of the crew and symbolically throws his palm tree overboard. Captain Morton realizes his mistake and understands his reign of terror is now over.

Mister Roberts (Released in 1955) starring Henry Fonda, Jack Lemmon and William Powell

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