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Stand by for Action (1942)

Stand by for Action (1942)

aka Stand by for Action

Directed By: 
Details: 109 mins · English

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Cast:

Small Lieut. Gregg Masterman
Small Rear Admiral Stephen Thomas
Small Lieut. Cmdr. Martin J. Roberts
Small Chief Yeoman Henry Johnson
Small Chief Boatswain's Mate Jenks
Small Cmdr. Stone M.C
Small Audrey Carr
Small Captain Ludlow
No_movie_poster Ensign Lindsay

Plot:

During World War II, well-connected, Harvard-educated Lieutenant Gregg Masterman (Robert Taylor) enjoys his cushy posting as junior aide to Rear Admiral Stephen "Old Ironpants" Thomas (Charles Laughton), playing tennis and arranging social events. During a chance encounter, he gives bad advice to up-from-the-ranks Lieutenant Commander Martin J. Roberts (Brian Donlevy) out of spite. As a result, Thomas gives Roberts command of an obsolete, World War I-vintage destroyer, the Warren. To his dismay however, Masterman finds himself assigned by Thomas as Roberts' new executive officer. When Masterman learns that Henry Johnson (Walter Brennan), the ship's civilian caretaker, was a member of the Warren's original crew, he helps him reenlist and serve aboard his beloved ship.

Despite his awkward beginning, Masterman begins to turn into an effective officer under Roberts' tutelage, though Roberts has to constantly remind him that he cannot put the welfare of one person over that of the mission. On their way to rendezvous with a convoy commanded by Thomas, they are attacked by a Japanese airplane. Then, Johnson sustains a serious head injury during a storm, leaving him delirious and believing he is back in World War I. Finally, they rescue two pregnant women and 20 babies, survivors of a torpedoed ship. For comic relief, the crewmen (especially Masterman) have to deal with their unusual passengers. One woman gives birth just before they sight the convoy.

An aircraft hit cripples Thomas's flagship, damaging the steering mechanism. Thus, when a Japanese battleship sights the convoy, it is all up to the Warren. Roberts informs Masterman of his plan of attack. He intends to set up a smoke screen, hide behind it, and then emerge to launch a torpedo salvo. When the captain is injured, Masterman assumes command. During the battle, Johnson takes over the helm when a crewman is knocked out. It takes two attempts, but the Warren sinks the enemy.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 1942-12-31 : United States of America

Theatrical : 1943-05-11 : New York City

Theatrical : 1944-02-14 : Sweden

Theatrical : 1944-03-01 : Portugal

Theatrical : 1945-10-14 : Finland