EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|THE GALLANT HOURS (director: Robert Montgomery; screenwriters: Frank D. Gilroy/Beirne Lay, Jr.; cinematographer: Joseph MacDonald; editor: Fredrick Y. Smith; music: Roger Wagner; cast: James Cagney (Fleet Admiral William Halsey), Dennis Weaver (Lt. Commander Andy Lowe), Ward Costello (Captain Harry Black), Vaughn Taylor (Commander Mike Pulaski), Richard Jaeckel (Lt. Commander Roy Webb), (James T. Goto (Admiral Yamamoto); Runtime: 111; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Robert Montgomery; United Artists; 1960)|
|"Aside from Cagney's gritty
performance, the subdued biopic, shot in
black-and-white and in an episodic semi-documentary
style, lacks oomph and muscle."
by Dennis Schwartz
turned director Robert Montgomery ("Here Comes
Mister Jordan"/"The Secret Land"/"They Were
Expendable"), who was a PT boat commander during WW 2,
directs his final film, a reverential treatment of Fleet Admiral William F.
"Bull" Halsey, Jr (James Cagney). It covers only five weeks
in Halsey's life, mostly during the battle of
Guadalcanal in 1942, when he was commander of the
Pacific Fleet. Aside from Cagney's gritty performance,
the subdued biopic, shot in black-and-white and in an
episodic semi-documentary style, lacks oomph and
Halsey was born in New
Jersey in 1882. He graduated from the U.S. Naval
Academy in 1904 and earned his Naval Aviator's wings
at the age of 52, the oldest person to do so in the
history of the Navy. Halsey was commander of the
Naval sea war in the South Pacific in 1942, giving
America its first success in the Pacific with his
Guadalcanal victory. Halsey was promoted to Five-Star
Fleet Admiral in December 1945 and retired from active
duty in 1947 to go into business. He died in August
1959 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
The pic was spurned by the
public mainly because it eschewed battle scenes for
lots of talk, character development and depicting the
stress of command. Intelligent war pics without bloody
battles are often shot down in this manner by the
public, but are often acclaimed, as was this pic, by
history buffs for their respect in getting the history
Cagney decided to retire after The Gallant Hours but returned for the Billy Wilder comedy One, Two, Three (1961). He did not return to the big screen again until Ragtime (1981), his final theatrical feature.
REVIEWED ON 7/18/2013 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ