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On the morning of December 7, 1941, a heavy cruiser, commanded by Captain Rockwell Torrey (John Wayne), and the destroyer Cassidy, under acting commander Lieutenant (jg) William McConnell (Thomas Tryon), are two of a handful of ships that escape the destruction of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Under Torrey's command, the tiny fleet of a dozen ships carries out its orders to seek out and engage the enemy fleet. But lack of fuel and a daring maneuver (but tragic miscalculation) by Torrey causes his ship to be seriously damaged. He's relieved of command and assigned to a desk job routing convoys in the shakeup following the attack, and his exec and oldest friend, Commander Paul Eddington (Kirk Douglas), is reassigned after a brawl, the result of his anger after identifying the body of his wife (Barbara Bouchet) who was killed during the attack while cavorting with an Marine Corps officer. Torrey's shore assignment leads him to reestablish contact on a very hostile level with his estranged son, Ensign Jere Torrey (Brandon de Wilde), his estranged son from a long-ended marriage, who is also serving at Pearl Harbor; he also establishes a romantic relationship with Lt. Maggie Haines (Patricia Neal), a navy nurse; he also befriends Commander Egan Powell (Burgess Meredith), a special-intelligence officer. Through his son's boasting during their bitter first meeting, Torrey learns of a top-secret offensive called Sky Hook he figures out enough of it to impress Powell, and when Sky Hook gets bogged down by the indecisiveness of its commander, Vice Admiral Broderick (Dana Andrews), Powell convinces the commander of the Pacific Fleet (Adm. Chester Nimitz, unnamed here but played by Henry Fonda) that Torrey is the man to salvage the operation. Promoted to rear admiral, with Eddington who'd been rotting away on a shore assignment, drunk most of the time assigned as his chief of staff, Torrey gets Sky Hook rolling and finally finds his purpose in this war, gaining the belated admiration of his son in the process. Eddington is similarly motivated but is still haunted by the violent, ultimately self-destructive demons that blighted his marriage and his life he is particularly attracted to a young nurse, Annalee Dohrn (Jill Haworth), not knowing that she is already involved romantically with Jere Torrey. Meanwhile, McConnell survives the sinking of his ship and is ordered to join Torrey's staff. Matters all come to a head when the Japanese begin a counter-offensive to Torrey's planned troop landing. And just at the time Torrey needs his men at their best, Eddington's violence and rage boil to the surface in a way that will destroy him and blight both men's lives. In a final attempt at redemption, Eddington provides Torrey with the information he needs to set up a battle that he has at least a chance of winning, pitting his small task group of destroyers and cruisers against the Japanese task force led by the Yamato, the largest battleship ever built. The title of the movie comes from a quote from John Paul Jones: "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way."

Starring ... John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Patricia Neal, Tom Tryon,
Paula Prentiss,, Brandon De Wilde, Burgess Meredith,
Dana Andrews, Barbara Bouchet, Henry Fonda, Franchot Tone

Director: Otto Preminger
Producer: Otto Preminger


Year Released - April 1965

Length - 165 minutes

Music Composer: Jerry Goldsmith

Movie Distributed by Paramount Pictures



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In Harm's Way
'The Rock'
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In Harm's Way
'First Victory'
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