In Harm's Way (VHS) ~ John Wayne (actor) Cover Art

In Harm's Way [VHS]

John Wayne (actor), Kirk Douglas (actor) and Otto Preminger (director)


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Release Note

Otto Preminger's sprawling World War II drama packs a lot into its 165 minutes, beginning with the attack on Pearl Harbor (which Preminger re-creates in amazing detail) and ending a couple of years later with America's return to the South Pacific in force. John Wayne and Kirk Douglas star as a career naval captain and his self-pitying commander in the peacetime navy who are thrust into battle when Pearl Harbor is bombed while they are on maneuvers. Minutes into WWII, they are already scapegoated and demoted by the embarrassed military brass. Wayne romances a WAVE nurse (Patricia Neal) and attempts a reconciliation with his estranged, spoiled son (Brandon de Wilde) while Douglas sinks into the bottle after the death of his cheating wife until the American fleet rebuilds and calls upon Wayne to lead one of the initial invasion forces. Henry Fonda makes a brief but commanding appearance as the fleet admiral. Burgess Meredith is a former writer turned witty commander, Dana Andrews a showy but indecisive admiral, and Stanley Holloway a genial Australian scout working with the American invasion forces. Tom Tryon and Paula Prentiss play newlyweds torn apart by the war, and also appearing are Franchot Tone, Carroll O'Conner, Slim Pickens, George Kennedy, Bruce Cabot, and Larry Hagman, among many, many more. Loyal Griggs's handsome black-and-white photography is topped only by Saul Bass's impressive closing credits sequence, a rising cascade of crashing waves and rough surf reportedly paced to mirror the dramatic rhythm of the film. --Sean Axmaker


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