Thursday, August 21, 2014

IN HARM'S WAY (1965)

Reminiscent, at least to me, of FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, IN HARM'S WAY also tells the story of various military personnel and their wives, husbands and lovers in Hawaii during 1941/1942.  And at 165 minutes it packs in a lot of story.

U. S. Navy Captain John Wayne is on duty during the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Kirk Douglas is his executive officer.  They manage to get their ship safely away, but other problems arise when Wayne disobeys orders while trying to track down an enemy vessel.  He's stripped of command and sentenced to desk duty.  Kirk has it even worse when he finds out that his wife was off screwing some dude on the beach during the attack and killed!  Other characters include John Wayne's estranged son who is also in the Navy and has thrown in with a seedy officer; the seedy officer himself; a nurse who's wanting to knock boots with The Duke; Burgess Meredith as Wayne's roommate; Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews and Franchot Tone as officers and the ridiculously sexy Jill Haworth as a nurse involved with both Wayne's son and Douglas.  There's also a side story about officer Tom Tyron and his wife Paula Prentiss, but it could have been cut completely.

IN HARM'S WAY is a good watch.  Most of the dramatic scenes were excellent, but unfortunately the action scenes towards the end are terribly dated and kinda boring.  I was all eyes when Kirk and Jill were on the beach or when Wayne was making googly-eyes at Patricia Neal, but then the model boats come out with water splashing around and I felt my attention fading.  Also IN HARM'S WAY just lacks the sheer acting power and emotional charge of FROM HERE TO ETERNITY.  That movie was dynamite!

Entertaining watch with a impressive supporting cast, but dated.  Recommended for classic movie fans.