Cast & Crew
Pearl Harbor, ill-prepared and unknowing, is attacked by the Japanese. Shortly afterwards, Capt. Rockwell Torrey is ordered to lead several U. S. Navy vessels against the enemy. The mission ends in disaster, and upon his return to base, Torrey is assigned to a desk job. He becomes attracted to nurse Maggie Haynes, who informs him that his son, Jere, whom he has not seen in the years since he was divorced from his wife, is an ensign on the island. Jere, an opportunistic, callow youth with only contempt for his father, has plans for obtaining an appointment on the staff of the weak and indecisive Admiral Broderick. Meanwhile, Torrey's temperamental executive officer, Eddington, has learned that his unfaithful wife was killed in a car crash during the attack. As retaliatory naval operations are being set into motion, Torrey's true value is recognized by his superiors, and he is promoted to Rear Admiral. Broderick has been unable to accomplish the spearhead mission of capturing several key islands, and Torrey is assigned to the task. Participating in the operation are Eddington, Maggie, and Jere. On Gavabutu Island, springboard for the attack, Torrey launches a successful foray, and boosts morale among his troops. He thus wins the respect of Jere, who asks to be transferred back to his PT boat. Meanwhile, Eddington, tormented by the memory of his wife's infidelity, drunkenly rapes Jere's girl friend, Annalee, at a beach party. Annalee commits suicide, and Torrey breaks the news to Jere, thereby cementing the bond between them. To redeem himself, Eddington undertakes an unauthorized "certain death" reconnaissance mission, and before he is shot down, he radios the exact size and location of the enemy force which is moving to intercept the U. S. invasion group. In the great sea battle that ensues, the American force is largely destroyed, but the Japanese retreat in confusion. Among those killed is Jere. Torrey, badly wounded, returns home to recuperate in Maggie's care. He is assured, however, that he will soon be back in action to command a new task force in the war against Japan.
Brandon De Wilde
Richard Le Pore
Capt. Blake B. Booth Usn
Lawrence W. Butler
Hugh S. Fowler
Don Hall Jr.
James E. Henderling
Capt. Colin J. Mackenzie Usn Ret.
Daniel J. Mccauley
In Harm's Way
Set in Hawaii on the eve of the attack on Pearl Harbor (December 6, 1941) and culminating in a decisive naval battle between the U.S. navy and the Japanese fleet, In Harm's Way was an attempt by Preminger to create a courageous epic. "After all these anti-war films which seem to have been more defeatist than pacifist," he said, "the Navy needs a film like this!" (from Behind the Scenes of Otto Preminger by Willi Frischauer). And who better than the Duke to play the brash full-speed-ahead Capt. Torrey aka "The Rock," a career navy man who abandoned his wife and family years earlier because his duty to country came first. Like Torrey, Wayne was a hawk and well known for his right wing politics. His choice of screen roles also reflected his belief that playing weak, ambivalent or villainous characters would alienate his fans and he was probably right. Wayne couldn't, for instance, understand why Kirk Douglas would want to play the brooding, deeply conflicted Commander Paul Eddington in In Harm's Way (he couldn't fathom why Douglas wanted to play the tormented Vincent Van Gogh in Lust for Life  either). In a crucial scene, Eddington gets drunk and rapes the fiancée, Ensign Annalee Dorne (Jill Haworth), of Torrey's estranged son Jeremiah (Brandon De Wilde). The incident drives Annalee to commit suicide and Douglas to sacrifice himself for the greater cause but Wayne was very unhappy with how the screenplay depicted Eddington. Wayne said, "If I were playing this part, I would want the girl's boyfriend to return, face me, and kill me." For his own character, Wayne wanted it made clear that he cared about his men. "I must show that I care about other people. Otherwise, when they go off and get killed on my orders, people will hate me." (from John Wayne: Prophet of the American Way of Life by Emanuel Levy).
Wayne was equally adamant about the casting of his female co-star. He had been particularly uncomfortable with the romantic scenes in Hatari! (1962) opposite Elsa Martinelli, who was young enough to be his daughter. He no longer thought it appropriate for a man his age to be cast opposite some young ingénue so he was particularly happy to learn that the thirty-eight-year-old Patricia Neal had accepted the part of his love interest, Lt. Maggie Hayes. Neal wrote in her autobiography, Patricia Neal: As I Am, that In Harm's Way "brought me back into a working relationship with John Wayne, whom I had not seen since Operation Pacific . Those days were not pleasant for either of us and we had both been through a lot since then. He was certainly a better man for it, much more relaxed and generous. This time we got along splendidly."
Surprisingly enough, both Wayne and Neal also enjoyed a good relationship with director Otto Preminger who had a terrible reputation in the industry for his often cruel and contentious behavior on movie sets. Hollywood insiders expected a battle of egos between the director and Wayne but the actor told an interviewer, "He had my respect and I had his respect. He is terribly hard on the crew, and he's terribly hard on people he thinks are sloughing off. But this is a thing I can understand because I've been there...I came ready and that he appreciated." As for Neal, she admitted, "This will come as a surprise to some...but Otto Preminger may have been the most generous man I ever knew." According to the actress, he held up the production of In Harm's Way until after the birth of her child plus he invited her entire family to join them on location in Hawaii and covered all the expenses.
Kirk Douglas, however, had a different view of the director who on this film would strut around on the set proclaiming, "I'm the man with no hair who shoves around the people with hair." Douglas was particularly appalled by Preminger's treatment of actor Tom Tryon who had already been humiliated by the director during the making of The Cardinal (1963) and should have known better than to work with Preminger again. "Whispered rumors that Tryon was gay might have inspired Preminger's venom." (quoted from John Wayne: American by Randy Roberts and James S. Olson). "Kirk Douglas remembered, "Otto would scream. He would come right up to Tom, saliva spitting out of his mouth, and he would just yell. I've never seen anyone treated that way. Tom was shattered." Douglas begged Tryon to stand up to the old man. "The next time Otto screams at you," Douglas counseled him, "just yell right back. 'Otto, Go f*ck yourself!' and walk off the set." Tom Tryon did not like confrontations and kept his peace, suffering through the abuse. Preminger tried to bully Douglas a few times, but the star would have none of it. "Once, he raised his voice in a nasty way toward me. I walked over to him, nose to nose. In a very low voice, I said, 'Are you talking to me?' That was the end of it. He never insulted me again."
Preminger gave short shrift to In Harm's Way in his autobiography but he did admit that "Wayne is an ideal professional: always prompt, always prepared" and noted with some pride, "The good timetable that we kept in the making of In Harm's Way helped to save John Wayne's life," a reference to the fact that Wayne was able to arrange a medical exam (where they discovered his cancer) because Preminger finished ten days ahead of schedule. The director also recalled with some amusement (in The Cinema of Otto Preminger by Gerald Pratley) Paula Prentiss's final scene in the film (she plays Bev McConnell, the newlywed wife of Tom Tryon's character). "...She so much wanted to be good that she kept unconsciously kicking herself in the ankle. When the scene was over, she suddenly couldn't walk, and she was taken to the hospital. She had broken her ankle, but she was concentrating so hard on the scene that she didn't realize it."
In Harm's Way, based on James Bassett's best-selling novel, was indeed an epic undertaking and Preminger was able to count on the US Defense Department for practically everything he needed in order to recreate the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and other combat scenes. The U.S. Navy "supplied him with the USS St. Paul, a cruiser, and sailed the entire cast and crew from Seattle to Hawaii. On the way Preminger shot a number of the onboard scenes, ordering the St. Paul's captain and crew around as if they were employees. The naval base at Pearl Harbor became a Preminger set..." The only obstacles to overcome were mere technicalities: "No importation of explosives into operational bases and no laying mines in Pearl Harbor by civilians. Instead, dummies were rigged up on vacant lots and wired with gas and oil for controlled fires." (from Behind the Scenes of Otto Preminger by Willi Frischauer). In some battle scenes, Preminger resorted to using miniatures which some critics realized were obviously toy ships and detracted greatly from the film's realism; John Wayne also complained to Preminger about it.
Reviewers were clearly divided on the merits of In Harm's Way. The New York Times proclaimed "This is a slick and shallow picture that Mr. Preminger puts forth here, a straight cliché-crowded melodrama.." Mike Mayo, author of Videohound's War Movies, wrote that the actors were "all saddled with a convoluted story that's so idiotically written it's unfair to judge the actors' work...One clue to the bad writing comes in the place names that were invented for the fictional campaign. When Torrey says, "You're gonna mop up Gavoobutu and mount the invasion of Lavoovona," it sounds even sillier than it reads." Kirk Douglas's volatile character doesn't come off any better with dialogue like "We've got ourselves another war...a gut-busting, mother-loving Navy war!"
Weighing in with positive assessments, however, were such respected publications as The New Yorker, Films in Review, and Variety. Brendan Gill of The New Yorker wrote, "The picture lasts two hours and forty-five minutes, nearly every one of which is filled with storm and stress, both literal and figurative, and it's an honest measure of its success as a melodrama that I, who am usually irritated by long movies, never once bent forward in my seat to consult my watch." Wilfred Mifflin of Films in Review confirmed Preminger's original reason for making the film: "I was absorbed not because its story is novel....but because I'm starved for movies which "accentuate the positive"...In Harm's Way is a pleasure to watch because it makes possible whole-hearted identification with a hero."
But it has to be said that the movie's major appeal was the Duke. Variety acknowledged this, stating "This picture was tailored for John Wayne...He is in every way the big gun of In Harm's Way. Without his commanding presence, chances are Preminger probably could not have built the head of steam this film generates and sustains for 2 hours, 45 minutes." Nevertheless, In Harm's Way was virtually ignored at Oscar® time with the exception of a well-deserved nomination for Loyal Griggs for Best Cinematography. His beautiful cinemascope compositions are particularly striking, especially during the opening sequence that sets up the pre-dawn attack on Pearl Harbor.
Producer: Otto Preminger
Director: Otto Preminger
Screenplay: James Bassett (novel), Wendell Mayes
Cinematography: Loyal Griggs
Film Editing: Hugh S. Fowler, George Tomasini
Art Direction: Al Roelofs
Music: Jerry Goldsmith, Michael Hennagin
Cast: John Wayne (Capt. Rockwell Torrey), Kirk Douglas (Eddington), Patricia Neal (Maggie), Tom Tryon (Mac), Paula Prentiss (Bev), Brandon De Wilde (Jere).
by Jeff Stafford
In Harm's Way
TCM Remembers - Carroll O'Connor
Carroll O'Connor - who died June 21st at the age of 76 - will be best remembered for portraying Archie Bunker on TV's All in the Family but his career actually was much more extensive. Born in New York on August 2nd, 1924, O'Connor served in the merchant marine during World War II before attending the University of Montana where he worked on the school newspaper. Before graduating, he followed his brother to another college in Ireland (he would later get a Masters in speech from Montana). It was in Ireland that O'Connor started acting in several local productions. He returned to the U.S. for his Broadway debut in 1958 and shortly after started to appear on numerous TV shows like The Untouchables and Naked City. His first film was Parrish (1961) though he eventually acted in over a dozen films during the Sixties including Cleopatra (1963), Marlowe (1969), Hawaii (1966) and Point Blank (1967). O'Connor even auditioned for the part of the Skipper in the TV series, Gilligan's Island, but it was his role as Archie Bunker in a 1971 sitcom that made him a star. All in the Family was an American version of the British sitcom Till Death Do Us Part that met some initial resistance (ABC rejected the first two pilots) but quickly captivated American audiences and became the country's top-rated TV show. Archie became such an icon that his chair is now preserved in the Smithsonian. The series lasted until 1979 and brought O'Connor four Emmys, even leading to a four-year spinoff Archie Bunker's Place starring O'Connor. (It also produced one of TV's oddest spinoffs in1994's 704 Hauser about a multi-racial family living in Archie Bunker's old house. It had no cast members from the earlier series and only lasted six episodes.) In 1988, O'Connor took the role of a Southern sheriff in a TV series based on the movie In the Heat of the Night and found himself in another hit, this one lasting until 1995. He also occasionally played Helen Hunt's father on Mad About You. By all accounts, O'Connor was nothing like Archie Bunker; in fact, O'Connor was an active anti-drug crusader, partly the result of his son's drug-related suicide.
By Lang Thompson
TCM REMEMBERS JACK LEMMON 1925-2001
Whether playing a cross-dressing jazz bassist or a bickering roommate, Lemmon has kept his fans in stitches for fifty years. But beneath that comedian's facade, the actor had a very serious side, which occasionally surfaced in such films as Days of Wine and Roses (1962) or Costa-Gavras' political thriller Missing (1982). Lemmon was truly a one-of-a-kind actor and his track record for acclaimed performances is truly remarkable: 8 Oscar nominations (he won Best Supporting Actor for Mister Roberts (1955) and Best Actor for Save the Tiger (1973), a Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute, 8 British Academy Award nominations, 4 Emmy Award nominations, numerous Golden Globe nominations, a two-time Best Actor winner at the Cannes Film Festival, the list goes on and on.
Lemmon entered the world in a completely novel fashion; he was born prematurely in an elevator in Boston in 1925. The son of a doughnut manufacturer, Lemmon later attended Harvard University but was bitten by the acting bug and left the prestigious college for Broadway. Between theatrical gigs, he played piano accompaniment to silent films shown at the Knickerbocker Music Hall in New York. Later, Lemmon claimed that he learned more about comic technique by watching these Chaplin, Keaton and Harold Lloyd two-reelers than acting school could have ever taught him.
From Broadway and early TV appearances to Hollywood, Lemmon moved West to make his screen debut in It Should Happen to You (1954), opposite Judy Holliday in a variation of her 'dumb blonde' persona that had won her an Oscar for Born Yesterday (1952). In It Should Happen to You, Holliday plays a struggling actress who soon wins fast fame as the product of promotion. Lemmon plays her levelheaded boyfriend but finds himself on the sidelines when the suave and sophisticated Peter Lawford appears on the scene. It Should Happen to You, directed by George Cukor, was a popular success and Lemmon and Holliday were quickly teamed again in Phffft! (1954), another lightweight romantic comedy. A year later, Lemmon hit the major leagues when he supported Hollywood heavyweights Henry Fonda, James Cagney and William Powell in Mister Roberts (1955). As Ensign Pulver, a deckhand who avoids work whenever possible, Lemmon won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar®.
Onscreen, Lemmon's characters often found that they were the wrong men for their jobs. In Cowboy (1958), Lemmon plays a city slicker venturing out on the wild frontier. His romantic visions of the West are soon changed by the hard-living, hard-drinking reality. Cowboy is based on the autobiography of Frank Harris, and, like the author, Lemmon found himself adapting to the rough and tumble lifestyle on the trail.
Lemmon brought a new comic persona to Hollywood films. He combined elements of screwball and slapstick comedy with his own self-deprecating humor to create satiric portraits of the contemporary American male. The sometimes cynical comic sense of director Billy Wilder provided Lemmon with the perfect complement. Together they made seven films, but it was their first, Some Like It Hot (1959), that captured the sheer comic genius of their collaborations together.
From sexual antics to social critique, Lemmon and Wilder sharpened their comic knives on the hypocrisies they saw in American culture. The Apartment (1960) focused on a working stiff who lends his home to his supervisors for their extramarital affairs. Problems arise when Lemmon falls for his boss's paramour - it gets even more complicated when she tries to kill herself in his pad! Though The Apartment was a comic success, with each passing year the film's serious side seems even more dark and derisive. Illicit love and the corruption of big business might not seem to be the stuff of hit comedies, but Wilder and Lemmon found humor in the most unlikeliest of places. Director and comic star went on to make five more films: Irma la Douce (1963), The Fortune Cookie (1966), Avanti! (1972), The Front Page (1974) and Buddy Buddy (1981).
Billy Wilder and Lemmon's lifelong comic foil Walter Matthau (nine collaborations with Lemmon in 32 years, including their most popular film, The Odd Couple, 1968) brought some of the comedian's finest funny moments to the screen. But there was a serious side too. Lemmon waived his salary to act in Save the Tiger (1973), the 'great American tragedy' of a businessman at the end of his rope. Lemmon won his second Academy Award for the film. In Missing (1982), directed by the uncompromising Costa-Gavras, Lemmon played a patriotic father searching for his kidnapped son in Latin America. The closer he gets to his goal, the clearer it becomes that a government conspiracy is behind his son's disappearance. Missing was inspired by a true story - the production was condemned by the Reagan administration and awarded the Golden Palm at the Cannes film festival.
Very few actors today can match Lemmon's range on the screen. He has acted in everything from lightweight sex farces (How to Murder Your Wife, 1965) to musicals (My Sister Eileen, 1955) to social dramas (Days of Wine and Roses, 1962) to political thrillers (The China Syndrome, 1979). Turner Classic Movies cherishes the memory of this remarkable talent.
By Cino Niles & Jeff Stafford
ANTHONY QUINN, 1915-2001
Not many actors can boast that they've inspired a Bob Dylan song but Anthony Quinn - who passed away June 3rd at the age of 86 - was one of the select few. But that's just one of many incidents in a life that can only be described as colorful. If a novelist had invented a character like Quinn, she would be accused of unbelievable invention. But in Quinn's case, it's all true.
Quinn was born April 21, 1915 in Mexico. His parents were involved in Pancho Villa's revolutionary struggle and must have made a striking couple since the father was half Irish and mother Mexican Indian. The couple were married on a train of rebel soldiers. After Quinn's birth, the family soon moved to East Los Angeles (after a quick Texas detour) where Quinn grew up in the shadow of Hollywood. (A branch of the Los Angeles County Public Library now occupies the site of Quinn's childhood home; in 1981 it was renamed in his honor.) At the age of 11 he won a sculpture award and shortly after began studying architecture under Frank Lloyd Wright. It was Wright in fact who suggested the possibility of acting to Quinn and even paid for an operation to cure a speech impediment. Along the way, Quinn also dabbled in professional boxing (he quit after his 17th match, the first he lost) and street-corner preaching. He continued to sculpt and paint for the rest of his life while also becoming a noted art collector.
Quinn's acting debut was in 1936 initially in a handful of barely noticable spots as an extra until he landed a speaking role in Cecil B. DeMille's The Plainsman, supposedly on the recommendation of the film's star, Gary Cooper. One unanticipated result was that Quinn married DeMille's daughter the following year; they appeared together in Phil Karlson's Black Gold (1947) and had five children. Quinn also appeared on stage in 1936 playing opposite Mae West. Quinn continued in film parts that gathered acclaim: Crazy Horse in They Died With Their Boots On (1941), a gambler in The Ox-Bow Incident (1943), a soldier in Guadalcanal Diary (1943).
But it was the 1950s when Quinn broke out. Viva Zapata!(1952) provided him a wonderful role which he used to win a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. Oddly enough, in Viva Zapata! Quinn worked with Marlon Brando who he had replaced in the original Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire. (Director Elia Kazan tried to start a rivalry between the two actors but they were great admirers of each other.) Quinn again won Best Supporting Actor playing painter Paul Gauguin Lust for Life (1956) which at the time was the shortest on-screen time to win an acting Oscar. The following year came was a Best Actor nomination for George Cukor's Wild Is the Wind (1957). As he did throughout his career, Quinn rarely hesitated to take work whereever he found it, which resulted in dozens of potboilers like Seven Cities of Gold (1955) but also a few cult favorites like Budd Boetticher's The Magnificent Matador (1955). It was a trip to Italy that brought Quinn one of his most acclaimed roles: a simple-minded circus strongman in Federico Fellini's La Strada (1954). Quinn directed his only film in 1958, The Buccaneer, a commercial failure he later attributed to producer Cecil DeMille's interference. Towards the end of that decade he appeared in Nicholas Ray's The Savage Innocents (1959) as an Eskimo, inspiring Bob Dylan to write "Quinn the Eskimo" (a Top Ten hit for Manfred Mann in 1968). In 1965, his relationship with an Italian costumer created a minor scandal when it was revealed that the couple had two children. Quinn divorced DeMille's daughter and married the costumer.
He continued the same mix of classics and best-forgotten quickies throughout the 1960s and '70s. A key role in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) only confirmed his talents while he again earned a Best Actor nomination for the unforgettable lead role in Zorba the Greek (1964). The gritty crime drama Across 110th Street (1972) is one of the best American movies of its decade, enhanced by Quinn's turn as an embattled police captain. Quinn was a pope in The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968), an Islamic leader in The Message (1976), a thinly disguised Aristotle Onassis in The Greek Tycoon (1978) and an assortment of gangsters, con men, military leaders and what have you. The rest of his career might be summed up by the year 1991 when he gathered critical acclaim for his appearance in Spike Lee's Jungle Fever, was nominated for a Razzie as Worst Actor in Mobsters, co-starred with Bo Derek in Ghosts Can't Do It, worked beside John Candy and Macaulay Culkin in Chris Columbus' Only the Lonely and made a film so obscure it appears to have never appeared on video. Quinn married his third wife in 1997; they had one son. He had just completed the title role in Avenging Angelo (with Sylvester Stallone) at the time of his death.
By Lang Thompson
TCM Remembers - Carroll O'Connor
Old Rock of Ages, it looks like we got us a war. A slam-bang, gut bustin', mother-lovin' Navy war.- Commander Paul Eddington
In case it slipped your mind, it's gunnery stations at 0830.- Captain Rockwell Torrey
We both know what's eating you, Paul. You can't wash it out with booze.- Captain Rockwell Torrey
Paul, you're forcing me to throw my weight at you. Fish, or cut bait. Get on your feet or take your troubles elsewhere. I've got a ship to run.- Captain Rockwell Torrey
If you can hold a razor in that hand, you might shave before you come topside.- Captain Rockwell Torrey
Aye, aye, Father Torrey.- Commander Paul Eddington
The naval battle sequences were done with models that were so large in scale (for the sake of greater detail) that they could be operated from the inside.
Early in the film, prior to the Pearl Harbor attack, the composer can be seen as the pianist signaling the orchestra to stop playing.
Copyright length: 170 min. Produced in cooperation with the Department of Defense, including the Department of the Navy. Filmed in Hawaii, San Francisco, San Diego, and aboard U.S.S. Braine, U.S.S. Capitaine, U.S.S. O'Bannon, U.S.S. Philip, U.S.S. Renshaw, U.S.S. Saint Paul, and U.S.S. Walker.
Released in United States Winter January 1, 1965
Released in United States August 1997
Shown at Locarno International Film Festival (50 Years of American Film) August 6-16, 1997.
Released in USA on video.
Released in United States Winter January 1, 1965
Released in United States August 1997 (Shown at Locarno International Film Festival (50 Years of American Film) August 6-16, 1997.)