1950s Mister Roberts (1955)

Published on September 4th, 2008 | by Chris

2

Mister Roberts (1955)


Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On September 4, 2008
Last modified:October 6, 2012

Summary:

Mister Roberts might be a fun diversion, or a wayback machine for those who might've been stuck in such a role during the war, but not much else.

Mister Roberts (1955)Take the crew of a cargo ship that hasn't been on leave in over a year, and a hard-nosed captain, a disillusioned cargo officer and a misfit laundry officer and you've got Mister Roberts.

The plot of Mister Roberts revolves around, well, Mister Roberts (Henry Fonda), the cargo officer who wants desperately to be transferred off the ship and into real combat. He's a hero to the men on the ship and an all around nice guy. On the other side is the "by-the-book" Captain Morton (James Cagney), who proudly displays his palm tree award just outside the bridge.

Honestly, I didn't much care for Mister Roberts. The film is merly slightly amusing most of the time, struggling hard to be funny, but never really getting there. There are a few comedic moments straight out of 50's TV, and really that's about as good as it gets.

I think the problem is Fonda. He's a master actor, but here he just kind of, I dunno, seems to be rolling along with a certain melancholy. Pissed off at the captain, and his being stuck on the boat... the character never really is, well, funny. Then there is Captain Morton. Cagney is, well, Cagney, but again, he just seems PO'd to be playing this part. No real acting there except to bark out orders and reprimands with stern face. Pulver? Inept and naive, but never really all that much.

Then there is the entire sequence where the crew finally gets to go to a "leisure port" and proceeds to trash the entire joint in an endless array of misdeeds. The whole thing is actually kind of uncomfortable.

And the ending. Any hope of cementing this as a comedy effort is dashed upon the rocks as Pulver reads his two letters, and goes off on a tirade towards the Captain.

I just didn't get it, maybe. The whole thing seemed forced and un-thought out. I wish it weren't so, but I really didn't like it as much as I probably should have. Mister Roberts might be a fun diversion, or a wayback machine for those who might've been stuck in such a role during the war, but not much else. Wish I had more to say, but that about covers it!

SPOILERS in this clip, you've been warned....

Mister Roberts (1955) Chris

Summary: Mister Roberts might be a fun diversion, or a wayback machine for those who might've been stuck in such a role during the war, but not much else.

3.0


User Rating: 0 (0 votes)


About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.



2 Responses to Mister Roberts (1955)

  1. I have to say, an opinion like this is so off the mark that it raises doubts about your basic taste and judgement. The film is about boredom, and what it does to men: it is about what real military service involves. It’s not a conventional comedy at all, and the ending is one of the most famous and most imitated death scenes in movie history. Ford directed a spectacular quartet of stars, and let old pros—well, one new pro, Jack Lemmon, who became a star with Pulver—just do wonderful things with rich characters and great dialogue. You have right to your opinion, but anyone who can’t enjoy Fonda, Cagney, Powell and Lemmon at their best isn’t going to convince me of much.

  2. Roxana Darnell says:

    I watched “Mr. Roberts” on TCM. I guess you have to look at the time period when it was filmed. When Pulver referred to one of the women as a “stupid blonde” who would do anything for scotch, (basically he wanted to get her drunk so he could take advantage of her), I became disenchanted with his character. While on shore leave they almost raped women from good families, that turned me off as well. But I suppose since those women weren’t white that was considered funny. I’m sorry but its the 21st century now, this women bashing just isn’t funny anymore.

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