Sunday, June 29, 2014

1957 - THE GROWLER STORY, another odd career moment for John Ford

Film director and navel reserve officer John Ford was asked to dramatize an incident for the US Navy.  During World War II when the Captain of the USS Growler, Howard Gillmore was wounded during an attack by a Japanese patrol boat.  Gillmore ordered the sub to dive with him on the deck in order to save the ship from being sunk by the Japanese.

Ford brought along two of his actor cronies, Ken Curtis who played the captain and Ward Bond who played a typical Ward Bond character a loud mouthed sailor named Quincannon.

Shot in color with 16mm film by a navy camera crew, this film is mostly amateur hour with occasional moments of the John Ford touch.  Ford really indulges him self with lots of sloppy sentiment about navy traditions, (marching bands, the professional of arms, corny humor etc).  The battle scenes are rather poorly filmed, it's tough to know what exactly is going on.  But you have to give the actor Ken Curtis some credit since it appears he actually laid on the submarine's deck while the ship dived.

Well at least it's short.

22 minutes

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