In Harm's Way (1965)

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Released 2-Jun-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category War Theatrical Trailer-3
Featurette-Making Of-Original 1965 Featurette
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1965
Running Time 160:13
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (81:53) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Otto Preminger

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring John Wayne
Kirk Douglas
Patricia Neal
Tom Tryon
Paula Prentiss
Brandon de Wilde
Jill Haworth
Dana Andrews
Stanley Holloway
Burgess Meredith
Franchot Tone
Patrick O'Neal
Slim Pickens
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Jerry Goldsmith

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Spanish Titling
Italian Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, end credits designed by Saul Bass

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    A big all-star epic from the 1960s, this is an interesting counterpart to the more recent Pearl Harbor. While the later film concentrated on a lengthy special effects extravaganza at the expense of paper-thin characters and a dull plot, this earlier blockbuster deals with the effects of the attack on a group of naval officers and their women.

    John Wayne is Rockwell Torrey, Rock to his colleagues, captain of a destroyer that was lucky to be out on patrol when the Japanese attacked. His executive officer is Paul Eddington, star of Yes, Minister. Oops, sorry, not that Paul Eddington - this one is played by Kirk Douglas. Rock's ship is torpedoed after he is ordered to attack the Japanese fleet, and because he broke the zigzag course that official naval tactics dictate, his command is taken away and he is given a desk job.

    Eddington's philandering wife was killed in the attack and he takes to drink and an unreciprocated desire for nurse Annalee (Jill Haworth), who is more attracted to Rock's estranged son Jere (Brandon de Wilde). Her roommate is Maggie (Patricia Neal), who becomes friendly with Rock.

    Meanwhile, Rock tries to get back his command with the assistance of Commander Powell (Burgess Meredith), a former Hollywood scriptwriter, and with the help of Admiral Chester Nimitz (Henry Fonda) Rock becomes a key commander in the US Navy in the Pacific, with the rank of Admiral.

    And I haven't even begun to tell you half the plot of this epic. There are more stars, former stars and future stars in this film than you can poke a stick at. Throw in Hugh O'Brian, Paula Prentiss, Patrick O'Neal, Slim Pickens, Larry Hagman, George Kennedy, Bruce Cabot, Dana Andrews, Carroll O'Connor, Tom Tryon and Stanley Holloway as the token Australian (Chips Rafferty must have been out of town) and you have a remarkable cast. Franchot Tone appears briefly as Admiral Kimmel, looking all of 90 years old even though he was only 60 - it just goes to show what hard living will do to a man.

    The film was directed in typical fashion by Otto Preminger: long, complex and overblown but with some good acting. This film runs two hours and forty minutes and the melodrama is laid on with a trowel. That it still succeeds in being entertaining is due to the capable cast and some excellent battle scenes, even though there are problems with the latter. Some of the special effects in these pre-CGI days are pretty poor and the large-scale model battleships look like they are not sitting deep enough in the water. Also, if you are expecting to see a recreation of the actual attack on December 7th, then all you get is a couple of minutes showing the destruction and reaction on the ground.

    While not the sort of film you will want to watch over and over again, this is an enjoyable epic with an unusual depiction of the post-Pearl Harbor machinations in the American military. It was based on a novel by James Bassett, who was part of Nimitz's staff during the war, and this adds a touch of authenticity to the story.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.

    This is a pretty good transfer, though it is not ideally sharp. Detail is good but I felt that it looked a little lacking in the finer detail. Shadow detail is adequate, and although there are some murky sequences in this black and white film, none of the action is missed as a result.

    There is some aliasing visible in this transfer, but it is not so severe that it is distracting. There is also some minor blockiness in some of the ocean sequences. Edge enhancement is visible throughout, although it is not severe.

    Film artefacts are relatively few, with some white specks and flashes of larger damage occasionally, but nothing untoward for a 1960s film. Small pieces of dirt are also present from time to time.

    Subtitles are provided, and they are nice and large and quite clear. They appear to be pretty accurate as well.

    This is an RSDL-formatted disc with the layer change at 81:53, well placed during a fade to black between scenes.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The default audio channel is English Dolby Digital 5.1, with an additional 2.0 mix available. I listened to the former.

    The remix is done reasonably well, though there is really not a lot to work with. The bulk of the film is taken up with dialogue scenes, and the dialogue comes across nice and clearly. The surrounds only get a workout during the battle sequences or when music is playing. There are a few directional effects from the rear channels, but the subwoofer really gets a workout from the booming naval guns. You should also watch the excellent end credits sequence by Saul Bass, with raging seas that have the subwoofer continually rumbling loudly.

    The music score is by Jerry Goldsmith, and is quite good for the material, with some odd electronic sounding music at times that somehow works. While it seems anachronistic, it is no more so than the female characters' hairstyles and outfits.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Trailers (8:34)

    Three theatrical trailers are included. All are narrated by Otto Preminger in his Hogan's Heroes-style German accent (think General Burkhalter). The first is longest (4:55), with a rundown of the cast and story, plus special mention of "Barbara Bouchet: a New Face, and a New Body". The second, running 1:55, is an abbreviation of the first, but manages to mention "Barbara Bouchet: a New Face, and a New Body". The last (1:44) is slightly different with some behind the scenes footage. And of course Barbara Bouchet's new face and new body. All are in 2.35:1 and 16x9 enhanced. The trailers, not Ms Bouchet's body.

Featurette: The Making of a Movie (8:03)

    This is a behind the scenes trailer from 1965 featuring cast members arriving in Hawaii, Preminger directing the actors, the filming of some sequences and so on. Interesting, but you would only watch it once.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The US Region 1 release is identical to the Region 4 in all respects except TV format, so there is no reason to prefer one above the other.


    A pretty good naval epic, this one is worth a rental at least.

    The video quality is pretty good.

    The audio quality is pretty good too.

    The extras are nice, though they don't amount to a lot.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Saturday, July 17, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V596 for surround channels; Yamaha AX-590 as power amp for mains
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Richter Harlequin; Rear: Pioneer S-R9; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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