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Thursday, June 24, 2010

In Harm's way (released in 1965) - starring John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Patricia Neal and Henry Fonda - A war movie (Black and White) based on the Second World War

In Harm's Way is a 1965 American epic war film produced and directed by Otto Preminger and starring John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Patricia Neal, Carroll O'Connor, Tom Tryon, Paula Prentiss, Burgess Meredith, Brandon De Wilde, Jill Haworth, Dana Andrews and Henry Fonda.
This is an epic war film released in 1965 and is one of the last John Wayne movies which is in black and white. After this movie the color era really begins. The title of the movie is derived from the quote by American revolutionary hero John Paul Jones “I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way."
The central character is Rockwell Torrey played by John Wayne who is a second generation naval officer and a navy academy graduate. After a disastrous campaign against the Japanese in which his ship is torpedoed he is shunted out to a desk job. During the fag end of the war he is promoted to the post of Rear Admiral and given a crucial job aboard a cruiser. He is involved with a pretty naval nurse and yearns for an emotional anchor in his life after his divorce. His son is an ensign with the navy and is estranged with his father.

Another important character is Captain Paul Eddington (played by Kirk Douglas), a wayward officer, taken to drunkenness because of his wife's infidelity. He resigns from the cruiser and returns to surface navy as an officer in charge of warehouses. And then his wife is killed during the raid on Pearl Harbor while she was having a romantic tryst with another officer. This tragedy further brings down Paul Eddington until Torrey reaches out to him to be a part of the mission. Tom Tryon, a junior grade officer, just out of the naval academy, presents a complete opposite of Paul Eddington.
He has a loving wife, a stable marriage and has every emotional support which Torrey and Eddington crave. As the story progresses, Eddington, in his drunken fits, rapes Torrey's son's fiancée', nurse Annalee Dohrn. She commits suicide by consuming sleeping pills. But Torrey feels his need for the mission. Eddington sort of redeems himself by giving advance warning of the huge Japanese fleet and thus sacrificing himself for the success of the mission. This movie is considered as a classic World War epic and in a side role, indicts all the bureaucratic wrangles and political manipulations that a servicemen face while doing duty for the nation.
This movie was nominated for the Oscar for the “Best Cinematography” in the year 1965. It is mostly noted for John Wayne's understated performances and he is said to have been diagnosed with lung cancer during the making of the movie. Actress Patricia Neal was awarded the “Best Actress” citation at the BAFTA awards for this movie.

In Harm's way (released in 1965) - starring John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Patricia Neal and Henry Fonda - A war movie (Black and White) based on the Second World War

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