Unfortunately due to illness, Jill Haworth (pictured) did not attend the screening of In Harm’s Way last night at the Film Forum. However, author Foster Hirsch was there and gave a very spirited informative introduction to the movie. He is a extremely nice man and signed a copy of his book Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would Be King for me. The theatre was less than half full and Foster attributed this to the fact that liberal NYC film goers were just not interested in a pro-war movie starring John Wayne during these trying times.
As for In Harm’s Way, it is a long but atypical WWII war movie. The battle sequences are limited to the bombing of Pearl Harbor at the beginning of the movie and at the finale with the Japanese armada trying to run through some island straits. The film centers on the personal and professional challenges of the men and women in the navy. Standouts for me were Barbara Bouchet in a small role as the adulterous wife of drunken commander Kirk Douglas who pays for her wanton ways; Jill Haworth naturally in the ingenue role as an ill-fated nurse engaged to John Wayne’s son; and Brandon DeWilde as the Duke’s estranged fey boy who proves himself to be a hero just like dear ole dad. Not one of my favorite movies (I normally avoid WWII war movies like the plague) it is worth a look if it aired on TV.