In Harm’s Way
I’ve been on a classic war movie kick of late…they’re just one of my guilty pleasures. Even when they’re flag waving, chest thumping odes to a nationalistic fantasy, they still strike a chord installed in my childhood. Hell is for Heroes, Year of the Dragon, Across the Pacific, Force 10 from Navarone, The Good Sheppard, The Desert Rats, Twelve O’Clock High. I think I loosely remembered that Preminger did this, but just threw it into the queue expecting the same fare.
So when In Harm’s Way began, I expected that it would be another vehicle for John Wayne’s bravery, John Wayne the indestructible, John Wayne the smooth ladies man. I expected charming and handsome Kirk Douglass to save the day, to act the honorable hero, to be above reproach. I expected Patricia Neal to be the swooning and sassy nurse love interest. I expected the military to be populated by men with integrity and poise, to be singularly focused on wining the war.
What Preminger brings, of course, is exactly not that.