Saturday, April 5, 2014

THE FROGMEN (1951)

The "prima donnas" of Underwater Demolition Team #4 have a new commander (Richard Widmark) and they're all butthurt over it because their last commander was a real man and this guy's just a turkey!  They hate his guts.  Behind his back they even call him Richard "Skidmark" Widmark.  Alright, that didn't really happen, but when, during a mission to scout a beach's underwater obstacles before an invasion, he makes a decision that they see as cowardly they really get their panties in a bunch.  Moral is low, but Widmark is so focused on the mission he doesn't have time to pamper his men.  Things only get worse when on the next mission a guy is shot doing something stupid.  Will Widmark be able to earn the respect of his men or will their petty squabbles cause all of the men to transfer?

THE FROGMEN was fun film.  I love the standard WWII movie, they're usually about airmen, armored cavalry or grunts, but seeing one about an underwater demolition unit is pretty unique.  Honestly, I can't even think of another one off the top of my head.  Strong (all male) cast, exciting underwater scenes, quick pace, Harvey Lembeck, Navy ships, explosions, heroism.  Highly recommended for WWII Navy buffs.

If you pay close enough attention you'll see a young Jack Warden in a brief role (the sailor who spills water on Dana Andrews shoes) and Robert Wagner in an even briefer role (all he does is stand there and say "Aye aye, sir." to Gary Merrill).

In one scene a UDT guy swims onshore and plants a sign on the beach welcoming the Marines.  I'm curious if anything like this ever happened in real life?
Underwater Demolition Team Team?