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In Harm's Way

John Wayne  Actor Kirk Douglas  Actor Patricia Neal  Actor Tom Tryon  Actor Dana Andrews  Actor Paula Prentiss  Actor

MPAA Rating: NR
Contains:Suitable for Children

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In Harm's Way

UPC: 097360641844

Studio: Paramount

MPAA Rating: NR   Contains:[Suitable for Children]

Summary: In Harm's Way, based on James Bassett's novel Harm's Way, has enough plot in it for four movies or a good miniseries (when it was shown on network television in prime time, it was broken into two very full nights). On the morning of December 7, 1941, a heavy cruiser, commanded by Captain Rockwell Torrey (John Wayne), and the destroyer Cassidy, under acting commander Lieutenant (jg) William McConnell (Thomas Tryon), are two of a handful of ships that escape the destruction of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Under Torrey's command, the tiny fleet of a dozen ships carries out its orders to seek out and engage the enemy fleet. But lack of fuel and a daring maneuver (but tragic miscalculation) by Torrey causes his ship to be seriously damaged. He's relieved of command and assigned to a desk job routing convoys in the shakeup following the attack, and his exec and oldest friend, Commander Paul Eddington (Kirk Douglas), is reassigned after a brawl, the result of his anger after identifying the body of his wife (Barbara Bouchet) who was killed during the attack while cavorting with an Marine Corps officer.

Torrey's shore assignment leads him to reestablish contact on a very hostile level with his estranged son, Ensign Jere Torrey (Brandon de Wilde), from his long-ended marriage; he establishes a romantic relationship with Lt. Maggie Haynes (Patricia Neal), a navy nurse; and he also befriends Commander Egan Powell (Burgess Meredith), a special-intelligence officer. Partly as a result of his contact with Powell, Torrey is chosen by the commander of the Pacific Fleet (Henry Fonda) to salvage an essential operation called Sky Hook, which has become bogged down through the indecisiveness of its area commander, Vice Admiral Broderick (Dana Andrews). Promoted to rear admiral, with Eddington -- who'd been rotting away on a shore assignment, drunk most of the time -- assigned as his chief of staff, Torrey gets Sky Hook rolling and finally finds his purpose in this war, gaining the belated admiration of his son in the process. Eddington is similarly motivated but is still haunted by the violent, ultimately self-destructive demons that blighted his marriage and his life -- he is particularly attracted to a young nurse, Annalee Dohrn (Jill Haworth), not knowing that she is already involved romantically with Jere Torrey. Meanwhile, McConnell survives the sinking of his ship and is ordered to join Torrey's staff. Matters all come to a head when the Japanese begin a counter-offensive to Torrey's planned troop landing. And just at the time Torrey needs his men at their best, Eddington's violence and rage boil to the surface in a way that will destroy him and blight both men's lives. In a final attempt at redemption, Eddington provides Torrey with the information he needs to set up a battle that he has at least a chance of winning, pitting his small task group of destroyers and cruisers against the Japanese task force led by the Yamato, the largest battleship ever built. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

Category: War

Awards: Best Foreign Actress – British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Black and White Cinematography – Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Features: 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"

In Harm's Way

Format: DVD

Release Date: 05/22/2001

Audio: DD5.1 Dolby Digital 5.1, DDS Dolby Digital Surround

Runtime: 167 Minutes

Sides: 1

Number of Discs: 1

Language(s) English

Subtitles: English

Region: USA & territories, Canada

Chapters: 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]

Bruce Eder

In Harm's Way has endured extraordinarily well for an epic war movie made in the 1960s, owing to a multitude of virtues. For starters, it was the last big-budget, all-star Hollywood movie to be shot in black-and-white, and that gives the film a harder, sharper, more defined edge than it ever could have had if it had been photographed in color. It was also shot in Panavision (and it should be seen letterboxed), and cinematographer Loyal Griggs (who was nominated for an Oscar), production designer Lyle Wheeler, and director Otto Preminger use every inch of that widescreen image to tell their story. Additionally, Preminger's decision to shoot the movie on actual locations, and to use actual naval personnel throughout the film as extras and in small speaking roles, also gave the movie an immediacy and a verisimilitude that is striking, as well as unique among films dealing with this subject on this scale. From the first moments aboard Captain Torrey's cruiser, Old Swayback, the willing suspension of disbelief kicks in effortlessly as actual sailors go about their business, including rushing to battle stations, and appear more realistic than any group of actors ever could. Indeed, one gets the sense of watching a near-documentary, not far removed from the same kind of illusion achieved on a different scale in Richard Lester's A Hard Day's Night.

Preminger and screenwriter Wendell Mayes also capture important little details that some modern filmmakers (including the makers of the 2001 feature Pearl Harbor) overlook entirely, such as the civilian chaos ensuing after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In one compelling scene, while Kirk Douglas' Paul Eddington is seen in the foreground on the right side of the screen, claiming the effects of his wife (who died while cavorting with a Marine Corps officer the morning of the attack), a Japanese-American woman is seen on the left-hand side of the screen, in medium shot, frantically trying to find out what has happened to her son. Perhaps the most amazing element of the movie, however, is Preminger's success in getting his actors to melt into their roles. He had a deep, and totally interwoven understanding of his characters, story, and setting, and it comes out in the little nuances. Some of this can be attributed to James Bassett's original book and Mayes' surprisingly faithful (albeit simplified) screenplay, but ultimately it has to be on the screen. A perfect example: When the Old Swayback is hit by torpedoes, and Kirk Douglas' Eddington, just back from damage control, remarks, "We've got us a gut-bustin', mother-lovin' navy war," the glints in his and Torrey's eyes capture perfectly how many career navy officers felt at that point. The United States Navy had found little to do during World War I, and by 1941, it had been four decades since its ships or men had seen any combat action; a lot of career navy men saw this as the chance of a lifetime.

Even small parts, such as Bruce Cabot's portrayal of a quartermaster on McConnel's destroyer, and James Mitchum's one scene as an ensign on the cruiser, are memorable. Most of the characters are very well developed, and there's another surprise there; John Wayne plays a deeply flawed yet heroic figure, his personal life a shambles and his career not much different. He seems, very subtly, almost close to tears at times, without sacrificing his toughness; the part of Torrey was one of the most tragedy-laden of Wayne's career, his character's personal life and naval career both in shambles for most of the movie, losing one real son and one surrogate son (in Douglas' Eddington) in the course of the action, and then getting rescued by another surrogate son (Tom Tryon's McConnel). Similarly, Kirk Douglas' portrayal of Eddington crawls with near-psychopathic anger just below the surface, only visible once or twice onscreen but always lurking nearby. Each character has important motivating flaws that fit neatly and quietly into the action and affect the story in quiet but critical ways, and all are engrossing on their own terms. Additionally, this is one of the few fictionalized war movies of its kind that holds up to the scrutiny of historians, since Bassett's book and Mayes' screenplay both based their action on real-life strategies and planning, and the final battle is essentially a retelling of the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Add to those virtues the unexpectedly lively pacing and stunning special effects (the naval combat scenes were shot aboard seven different ships and augmented by generally excellent model work, and the final battle is a bone-rattling affair), and In Harm's Way seems like a very fast-moving two and a half hours. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

Cast and Crew: Jerry Goldsmith  Composer (Music Score) 
Wendell Mayes  Screenwriter 
Otto Preminger  Director 
Otto Preminger  Producer 
John Wayne  Actor 
Kirk Douglas  Actor 
Patricia Neal  Actor 
Tom Tryon  Actor 
Dana Andrews  Actor 
Paula Prentiss  Actor 
Brandon de Wilde  Actor 
Henry Fonda  Actor 
Jill Haworth  Actor 
Stanley Holloway  Actor 
Burgess Meredith  Actor 
Franchot Tone  Actor 
Patrick O'Neal  Actor 
Carroll O'Connor  Actor 
Slim Pickens  Actor 
Barbara Bouchet  Actor 
Hugh O'Brian  Actor 
James Mitchum  Actor 
George Kennedy  Actor 
Bruce Cabot  Actor 
Tod Andrews  Actor 
Stewart Moss  Actor 
Richard Le Pore  Actor 
Chet Stratton  Actor 
Dort Clark  Actor 
Jerry Goldsmith  Actor 
Larry Hagman  Actor 
Soo Yong  Actor 

Country: USA