In Harm's Way (1965) June 27, 2016 01:17

Barbara Bouchet wakes up on the beach.

Not being an overly enthusiastic fan of John Wayne or war films In Harm's Way at a 2 hour and 45 minute run-time it took some personal persistence and a couple individual sittings to complete.  But as a Barbara Bouchet fan it's a pivotal film in her career as her transition from un-credited extra to actress.  For general movie audiences, not watching it for the lovely Bouchet, its a well packed film of the period's Hollywood elite, Kirk Douglas, Patricia Neal, Burgess Meredith, Carol O'Connor, Larry Hagman and Peter Fonda all join The Duke.

Kirk Douglas and John Wayne on the deck of a war ship.

After being discharged for not following orders that he deemed to be suicidal during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Captain Rockell Torrey (John Wayne) finds himself surprisingly promoted to Admiral and put on the front lines of a behind the scenes mission that could turn the tides on the escalating war with the Japanese.  At his side is newly promoted Captain Paul Eddington (Kirk Douglas), a loose cannon whose past continues to drive him to make poor decisions.  Together they attempt to survive through numerous trials and personal loses to regain a grip on their careers and help to swell the tide of the recent Japanese attack.

John Wayne and Patricia Neal

While I'm not a big war film buff I can still enjoy and appreciate a good one from time to time, but In Harm's Way is far from good.  Although it's outfitted with a very respectable cast the film is off balance as the actors find it difficult to grasp emotional aspects of certain scenes and completely overact in those that never warrant it.  There was simply too many key characters introduced that forced the writers to cut corners on character development and never properly tie up all the loose ends they created, instead they simply killed them off with no one shedding a tear over it.

Barbara Bouchet puts on her makeup right before the Japanese attack.

Bouchet plays Liz Eddington, Kirk Douglas's young and floozy wife, whose at an officers party with another man and completely drunk out of her mind.  Once she does a grand job of embarrassing herself at the party she and her "date" head off to the beach where it is implied they have a nice "romp".  They awaken in the morning to the Japanese attack, but in their attempt to make a quick getaway they swerve to miss a truck and end up driving off a cliff to their fiery demise. 

Barbara Bouchet poll dancing drunk.

While it's another brief film appearance it's a definite step up in her career and ironically Barbara Bouchet's party scenes (where she swings around a pole drunk) and the promotional pictures on the beach, did more for the film than any of the big name stars could, and are easily the most memorable aspects of In Harm's Way.  In the end, a small role definitely created a big splash for the excelling of her career even though the film itself is pretty much a dud.

6/10 

 

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