Written by / 2/06/2020 / No comments / , , , , , , , , , , ,

JOHN WAYNE & KIRK DOUGLAS IN PREMINGER'S 'IN HARM'S WAY'

Kirk Douglas with Jill Haworth and John Wayne in the poster for IN HARM'S WAY Year: 1965
In 1965, the same year stylistic and artistic director Otto Preminger would provide a stylistically artistic comeback with the B&W mystery BUNNY LAKE IS MISSING, he directed an anti-war film starring John Wayne and the recently-departed Kirk Douglas, which is one of the few movies not a John Wayne or Kirk Douglas Picture but a Preminger Film they happened to star in...

Very different for The Duke in that, set in Pearl Harbor, beginning with the last jazz-soaked night of oblivious peace, when the wife of yet unseen Kirk Douglas and her lover (a sexy Barbara Bouchet and Air Force stud Hugh O'Brien) are frolicking at the beach, IN HARM'S WAY is not gung-ho or overly patriotic but more cerebral and cautious in tone, which fits Douglas's forte after PATHS OF GLORY late in the previous decade...
Hugh O'Brien and Barbara Bouchet in IN HARM'S WAY
The camera glides around a slew of characters in various scenes where eventually Wayne, who was blamed for attacking a Japanese sub after the attack, later has a chance for a comeback — despite the fact he did nothing wrong in the first place...

Meanwhile, during the attack are random scenes on the harbor, and while bombs splash the surrounding sea, we never do see, only hear, the attacking planes. Making this one of the more low budget war pictures featuring The Duke, and Douglas.
Burgess Meredith, Kirk Douglas, Dana Andrews, John Wayne in IN HARM'S WAY
Preminger's former leading man from Film Noir classics LAURA, FALLEN ANGEL, DAISY KENYON and WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS, Dana Andrews, plays the token idiotic Admiral, and he's mentioned more than actually seen, a contrary persona to Wayne's diamond in the rough...

What Andrews's Broderick fails at, Wayne makes right... with the sporadic help of his flawed and cocky sidekick, Douglas, seeming a tad more free-spirited 1960's than 1940's (and resembling his LUST FOR LIFE Vincent Van Gogh at one point): He winds up raping a grownup but still young, flirtatious Jill Haworth, who Preminger directed in the horrible EXODUS...
Jill Haworth right before the beach rape by Kirk Douglas in IN HARM'S WAY
Providing Douglas the kind of flawed character he preferred to play (like in his personal favorite role, LONELY ARE THE BRAVE); while Wayne showcases a thoughtful, slowburn style, painfully dealing with the fact his bitter and one-dimensional, long-lost son is in cahoots with Andrews and political patsy Patrick O'Neal...

Everyone other than the "good guys", also including Burgess Meredith, are basically buffoons, making it too easy for the overly obvious heroes to be capable without proving it through action or dialogue: basically, they are who they are (Wayne, Douglas, Meredith) because they aren't who they aren't (Andrews and O'Neal).
Dana Andrews and Otto Preminger's Fallen Angel actor Bruce Cabot in IN HARM'S WAY
What works in IN HARM'S WAY is almost everything except the war/battle scenes, thrown together via archive footage, not visually gelling with the otherwise beautiful B&W cinematography that Preminger revels in...

And, as is his style, during each moment of every conversation, the camera moves like a slow dance among the characters... Making this one of his most creatively filmed films, which is surprising given such an otherwise mainstream genre and leading man...
Stuntman/actor and future director Hal Needham w/ Kirk Douglas, In Harm's Way
And while the war scenes, especially during the rushed climax, are extremely cheated and phony looking, what Preminger does well... showing people being people... is visually sublime..

Providing John Wayne and love interest Patricia Neal... as a nurse providing a big sister for Haworth and a kind of motherly yet romantic figure for Wayne... natural, easygoing performances, like they've known each other forever and simply have to remind themselves of their place in life...
John Wayne starring in Otto Preminger's IN HARM'S WAY
So even more than a war film it's a hang-out flick the likes of ANATOMY OF A MURDER and even LAURA; and this is Preminger's last decent picture...

In the horrific counter-culture psychedelic comedy misfire SKIDOO, footage of IN HARM'S WAY is used in a kind of satirical, sarcastic, those-days-are-behind-us fashion, proving he was done being taken seriously since the emerging baby boomers had no time for the prior generation's severely intense outlook on both life, and art.
Hugh O'Brien and Barbara Bouchet in Otto Preminger's IN HARM'S WAY
John Wayne and Patricia Neal make a mellow pair in IN HARM'S WAY
Burgess Meredith, Kirk Douglas, Dana Andrews, John Wayne in IN HARM'S WAY
Dana Andrews sadly underused in Otto Preminger's IN HARM'S WAY
Dana Andrews and Patrick O'Neal in Otto Preminger's IN HARM'S WAY
Kirk Douglas and John Wayne with Dana Andrews in IN HARM'S WAY Rates: ***1/2
Dana Andrews and Patrick O'Neal in Otto Preminger's IN HARM'S WAY
John Wayne and George Kennedy in IN HARM'S WAY
Hugh O'Brien and Barbara Bouchet in IN HARM'S WAY

Share This Post :
Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Featured Post

MARK STEVENS & JOANNE DRU IN THE NEO NOIR 'SEPTEMBER STORM'

Pulpy poster artwork for SEPTEMBER STORM Year: 1960 Rating: *** For a 3D movie with a giant shark on the poster, it's amazing how mu...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Most Popular Last Year

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM
Movie Reviews, Interviews, Articles and Pop Culture from White Heat to Blue City

FOR TELEVISION REVIEWS

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

TOTAL HITS

Popular Trending

FOUNDED BY JAMES M. TATE

FOUNDED BY JAMES M. TATE
RANDOM QUOTE: "George, that's the first time anyone ever thought enough of you to call you a shark. If you were a good lawyer, you'd be flattered." Everette Sloane to Glenn Anders, The Lady from Shanghai

FAVORITES SHORTLIST

1)THE FEARMAKERS 2)JAWS 3)THE CROWDED SKY 4)RAIDERS FROM BENEATH THE SEA 5)ANATOMY OF A MURDER 6)ASH WEDNESDAY 7)SHARKS' TREASURE 8)CANYON PASSAGE 9)THE MAN FROM LARAMIE 10)HOT CARS 11)CURSE OF THE DEMON 12)HARDCORE 13)VIOLENT SATURDAY 14)FALLEN ANGEL 15)DUEL IN THE JUNGLE 16)SWEENEY TWO 17)THE DEFECTOR 18)THE ROARING TWENTIES 19)AIR PATROL 20)THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN 21)THE SERGEANT 22)OTLEY 23)AL CAPONE 24)SWAMP WATER 25)JUDGEMENT AT NUREMBERG 26)THE KILLING 27)COMPULSION 28)MY BLOOD RUNS COLD 29)EASY LIVING 30)WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS 31)ATLANTIC CITY 32)WILLIAM CONRAD'S BRAINSTORM 33)CANYON RIVER 34)MADISON AVENUE 35)THE SHARKFIGHTERS 36)DEMETRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS 37)WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS 38)FRENZY 39)THUNDER ISLAND 40)THE DAY THEY ROBBED THE BANK OF ENGLAND

ACTORS 1)DANA ANDREWS 2)JAMES CAGNEY 3)MARLON BRANDO 4)JACK NICHOLSON 5)ORSON WELLES 6)PETER O'TOOLE 7)TOM COURTENAY 8)CHARLES BRONSON 9)GENE HACKMAN 10)VICTOR MATURE ACTRESSES 1)VIRGINIA MAYO 2)SUE LYON 3)GENE TIERNEY 4)MERRY ANDERS 5)FAYE DUNAWAY DIRECTORS 1)JACQUES TOURNEUR 2)RICHARD FLEISCHER 3)STANLEY KUBRICK 4)ORSON WELLES 5)OTTO PREMINGER 6)JOHN CARPENTER 7)MAURY DEXTER 8)JOHN LANDIS 9)MICHAEL WINNER 10)SAM PECKINPAH

RARITIES & EXPLOITATION

Popular This Month

CINEMA OF DANA ANDREWS

TRIPPING INTO THE SIXTIES

WESTERN GENRE REVIEWS

All Time Popular

TARGETING THE SEVENTIES

KICKING IN THE EIGHTIES

TALES AND REFLECTIONS

RETURN TO THE HOMEPAGE