Preminger, having already revealed a taste for excessive length in films like Advise and Consent, Exodus and The Cardinal, here stretches out a relatively conventional WWII drama to the point of tedium. Wayne is the discredited admiral whose reactions to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor finally convince both the Navy's top brass and his alienated, contemptuous son of his worth; subplots include his romance with nurse Neal, and his executive officer Douglas's trajectory towards self-destruction after he learns of his faithless wife's death. It goes on and on, the slowness exacerbated by Preminger's customary long takes and by the endless parade of star cameos. So what's it all add up to? War may be hell, but courage and honour will triumph in the end.
Cast and crew
Brandon de Wilde