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|Henry Fonda||Lt. JG Douglas A. 'Doug' Roberts|
|James Cagney||Capt. Morton|
|William Powell||Lt. 'Doc'|
|Jack Lemmon||Ens. Frank Thurlowe Pulver|
|Betsy Palmer||Lt. Ann Girard|
|Ward Bond||Chief Petty Officer Dowdy|
|Ken Curtis||Yeoman 3rd Class Dolan|
|Harry Carey Jr.||Stefanowski|
|Franz Waxman||Original Music Composer|
|Winton C. Hoch||Cinematography|
|Frank S. Nugent||Screenplay|
|Thomas Heggen||Theatre Play|
|Joshua Logan||Story Contributor|
|Thomas Heggen||Story Contributor|
"All The Uproarious Fun Of the Smash Broadway Play!"
"The Six-Year Stage Smash on the Screen!"
The film takes place in the waning days of World War II on the United States Navy cargo ship Reluctant, in the back areas of the Pacific Ocean. The unpopular captain, Lieutenant Commander Morton (James Cagney), is proud of his spotless record. His executive officer/cargo chief, Lieutenant, junior grade Douglas A. "Doug" Roberts (Henry Fonda), tries to shield the dispirited crew from Morton's draconian rule.Eager to join the fighting, Roberts repeatedly requests a transfer. Morton is forced by regulation to forward his requests, but refuses to endorse them, which means they are always rejected.Roberts shares quarters with Ensign Frank Thurlowe Pulver (Jack Lemmon). Pulver spends most of his time idling in his bunk and avoids the captain at all costs, so much so that Morton even forgets that Pulver is part of the crew.Roberts surreptitiously requests crew liberty from one of Morton’s superiors. It is granted, but when the ship reaches an idyllic South Pacific island, Morton denies the crew their much-needed shore leave. In private, Morton tells Roberts that the crew will not get liberty as long as he continues to request transfer and writes letters regarding disharmony aboard, which could endanger Morton's career. Finally, Morton agrees to grant the crew liberty on condition that Roberts never requests another transfer, no longer bends Morton's rules, and never reveals what made him change his attitude. Roberts reluctantly sacrifices his dreams.While on liberty, the crew lets loose after months of pent up frustration. Many crewmen are arrested and hauled back to the ship by the military police. The next morning, Morton is reprimanded by the port admiral and ordered to leave port immediately. Morton is irate about the black mark on his sterling record.Meanwhile, the crewmen are mystified by Doug's new strictness. Morton deceives them into thinking that Roberts is trying to get a promotion. When a crew member informs Roberts of a new Navy policy which might assist him in getting a transfer despite the captain's opposition, Roberts refuses to take advantage of it.News of the Allied victory in Europe depresses Roberts further, knowing the war may end soon without him ever seeing combat. Inspired by a patriotic radio speech celebrating VE Day, Roberts throws Morton’s prized palm tree overboard. The captain demands the identity of the culprit, but no one steps forward. He eventually realizes that Roberts is the only person aboard with the nerve to do it. Morton summons him to his quarters and accuses him of the deed. A open microphone reveals to the crew what changed Roberts.Weeks later, Roberts receives an unexpected transfer. "Doc" (William Powell), the ship's doctor and Roberts' friend, confides to him that the crew risked court martial by submitting a transfer request with Morton's forged imprimatur. Before he leaves, the crew presents Roberts with a handmade medal, the Order of the Palm, for "action against the enemy".Several weeks later, Pulver, who has been appointed cargo chief, receives a pair of letters. The first is from Roberts, aboard the destroyer USS Livingston, who speaks enthusiastically about his new assignment on the front lines near Okinawa. He goes on to say that he would rather have the Order of the Palm than the Medal of Honor. The second letter reveals that Roberts was killed in a kamikaze attack shortly after the first letter had been posted.Pulver throws the captain’s replacement palm tree overboard and marches into Morton's cabin, openly bragging about it and brazenly demanding to know why Morton has cancelled the showing of a film that night. Morton slowly shakes his head, realizing that his problems haven't gone away.
DVD : 1998-12-22