Director Otto Preminger had tackled justice, international and U.S. politics and religion in his four previous big-novel adaptations. In this 1965 triple-decker, he takes on warfare in general and WWII in particular. The source is a James Bassett best seller, and the focus, as usual with Preminger, is on the complex workings of a social mechanism: all the byzantine intrigues and maneuvers as a sturdy, unshakable Navy captain (John Wayne) copes with Machiavellian colleagues and one flawed buddy (Kirk Douglas). Though the film failed at the time, there’s now a fascination in several elements: its bravura long-take style, its adult themes and its broad canvas, its remarkable cast--including Patricia Neal, Henry Fonda, Burgess Meredith, Dana Andrews, Tom Tryon, Paula Prentiss and Brandon De Wilde. An interesting companion piece to the earlier Ford-Wayne “They Were Expendable” and an underrated film: Special mention is due Saul Bass’ epic end-title credits, which, coupled with Jerry Goldsmith’s score, make a tremendous climax.
Video Reviews and News : Excellent Good Ordinary Poor : <i> Recent videocassette releases, reviewed by Times critics.</i> : Movies : “In Harm’s Way.” <i> Paramount. $29.95. 1965.</i>
<i> Compiled by Terry Atkinson</i>