Published on February 21st, 2008 | by Chris2
In Harm’s Way (1965)
You know, I'm all for epic war movies. Especially with an all-star cast such as you find with In Harm's Way. But quite frankly, I didn't much care for this one, and I'll tell you why.
First off, lets get to the plot. Basically you're looking at the Pacific fleet in some made-up operations against some made-up islands. OK, I'll give you that. Gavabutu and Levu Vana or something or other. Operation Skyhook! Woo.
The big problem is that In Harm's Way is just long, and lacks direction. The movie starts with a rather convincing and stark portrayal of the attack on Pearl Harbor. I was thinking, "hey! this is going to be good!"... Until the attack was over.
Then it just turns into what I saw as little disjointed side stories. You've got the aging ship Captain Rockwell Torrey (John Wayne), who gets taken off his ship after making a snap judgement during the Pearl attack. Then there's his First Officer, Eddington (Kirk Douglas) the brash and cocky one. There's another officer, Mac McConnel (Tom Tryon) and his wife (Paula Prentiss), a pair of nurses, the senior Maggie (Patricia Neal) and the young Ensign Dome (Jill Haworth), and Torrey's long-lost estranged son Jeremiah (Brandon De Wilde). Are you lost yet? Well, I'm not finished. You've also got an incompetent Admiral Broderick (Dana Andrews) paired up with a power hungry rockstar senator turned Navy man, Neal Owynn (Patrick O'Neal), the intelligence officer and roommate of the senior Torrey, Powell (Burgess Meredith).... (take a deep breath)
Now, piece all of the above into the following sub plots: Torrey Senior falls for Maggie, who just happens to room with the junior nurse Dome, who gets involved with the junior Torrey. Play that whole soap opera out for a while.
Then you've got the assault on Gavabutu, which the brass sends Torrey out to salvage from Broderick, who sends Owynn as his 'liaison' to Torrey. Oh, and Torrey Jr. is Owynn's aide. Then Powell and the entire top secret Skyhook operation.... Ack.
Oh, and the bizarre and largely irrelevant tale of Mac McConnell and his wife. He gets thrust in charge of his ship after taking charge of it during Pearl, sent away only to become MIA. Found again, and sent away again to be a part of Skyhook. All with his wife playing the emotional roller-coaster ride.
Quite frankly the entire mess is confusing, and the tied-together subplots only make for a muddled mess of questions. "What are we doing at this moment?" "Where did that come from?" A lot of work went into the plot intricacies here, but not as much into the execution. Everyone seems related in some way to one another, but in a way that doesn't make you very interested in it.
On top of that, it just takes forever to get from Pearl to the end of the film, what with all these different events and relationships and whatnot. I think they tried to give equal time to all of them, but in the end, they all suffer the same confuddled fate.
I will say that for 1965 there are quite a few racy and daring moments in this picture. Starting right off with Eddington's wife skinny dipping with some random sailor after the Saturday night party, only to be killed in a car wreck wearing only a towel (which we're reminded of when the morgue personnel hand Eddington only a pair of shoes.) Then the assault on Nurse Dome by Eddington, which was completely unnecessary to the story, except maybe to give him a chance at redemption....
There's just so many turns and twists and mini-stories that its just hard to keep track of. I'm still thinking of a few and I run the risk of making this review just like In Harm's Way. Long and hard to keep an interest in.
Keep your eyes open for other cameo appearances by such big names as Larry Hagman, Charleton Heston, Carroll O'Connor, Slim Pickens, and others.
In Harm's Way
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Epic study on the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the effect it had on so many relationships.Genre: Feature Film-DramaRating: NRRelease Date: May 22, 2001Media Type: DVD
DVD InformationBinding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Brand: John Wayne
Original Release Date:
- John Wayne
- Kirk Douglas
- Patricia Neal
- Tom Tryon
- Paula Prentiss
Summary: There's just so many turns and twists and mini-stories that its just hard to keep track of. I'm still thinking of a few and I run the risk of making this review just like In Harm's Way. Long and hard to keep an interest in.