16 April 2015 | dougdoepke
Affecting Little Indie
Plot-- A veteran navy CPO begins to feel loneliness on shore-leave in San Diego. Luckily he meets a lonely barroom waitress, and together they plan on a modest farming future as husband and wife. But first he has to survive combat duty off the Korean coast during the war there.
Well-done flag waver. Good to see that sensitive little b&w's were still being made at a time when the big screen was saturated with Technicolor spectacles and bosomy sex goddesses. Brand and Sterling are perfectly cast as ordinary non-glamorous Americans of the kind that put real mettle in the nation's fabric. Surprising to see Brand demonstrate a range of sensitive emotions unlike his usual thuggish roles. Then too, it's just a year after his scary convict part in Riot in Cell Block 11 (1953). Sterling, of course, specialized in working class roles with plenty of soul. Watch, too for a number of familiar faces from that time—Doucette, Langton, Haggerty, Corrigan, among others.
Also, pay special attention to the destroyer Brand serves on. That's the USS Maddox of Gulf of Tonkin fame. It was the supposed shelling of the Maddox and the C. Turner Joy that triggered our mass intervention into South Vietnam in 1965. Thus, the ship has real historical significance. Then too, it's ironic that we would view scenes of Pearl Harbor from the deck of a ship that figured in another triggering wartime event. Anyway the movie's very competently done, never drags, and even manages to put over it's feel-good message in a way that didn't offend this professional cynic. It's also a telling contrast to such swollen big-budget similars as Battle Cry (1955) and In Love and War (1958). In my book, this little indie is one of those forgotten gems that old movie fans love to find.