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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 November 2013
This is a brilliant war-time comedy with some more serious elements included towards the end. Below more of my impressions, with some limited spoilers.

1. Origins

"Mister Roberts" was first a novel, written in 1946 by Thomas Heggen, a young veteran of Pacific War, just discharged after serving succesively on board of two auxiliary warships, attack cargo ship USS "Virgo" and cargo ship USS "Rotanin". This brilliantly written and hilariously funny book became instantly a bestseller and in 1948 was adapted into a Broadway play, already with Henry Fonda in the main role. The production run for 1157 performances and finally in 1955 Hollywood produced a film version.

2. The film.

I do not want to reveal too much about the story, so let's just say that everything happens on board of a cargo ship requisitioned for duration of war by US Navy and named USS "Reluctant" - quite obviously in reality there never was a US Navy ship carrying such a name... The commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Morton (James Cagney) is a petty tyrant, of limited intellect and ability and as ridiculous as he is vicious, but certainly decided to make the life of everybody on board a living hell, when in the same time obsequiously crawling in front of any superior officer.

Morton relies for most of real work on his very able executive officer, Lieutenant Junior Grade Douglas Roberts (Henry Fonda), whom everybody adresses with the utmost respect as "Mister Roberts". Two more characters are important - an annoying, slightly pathetic slacker and self proclaimed Casanova, Ensign Frank Pulver (Jack Lemmon) and an aging medical officer, a Lieutenant we know only as "Doc" (William Powell). The role of Ensign Pulver brought to Jack Lemmon his first Oscar (Best Supporting Role) and this character is certainly something you don't see every day...)))

Two more things play an important role in this film: a palm that Morton received as trophy from the Admiral for delivering "more toothpaste and toilet paper than any other cargo ship in the whole Pacific theater" and Mister Roberts repeated, daily requests for a transfer to a destroyer, as he simply cannot stand anymore to stay on board of the USS "Reluctant" and delivering toilet paper when a real war is fought by others...

3. My impressions

This is a masterpiece of comedy, subtly mixed with some drama. Watching it was a delight and I guarantee that quite soon in the film you will get emotionally involved: you will root for Mister Roberts, the "Doc" and the whole crew, you will want to bitchslap a couple of times Ensing Pulver and you will certainly want to STRANGLE Morton - if possible after sticking his infamous palm tree up his bum...)))

The humour shown in this film is very, very superior to most of things we can see nowadays on the screen as it relies mostly on brilliant dialogs, avoids foul language and is especially very humane and much gentler than what we can see in so many modern "comedies" - even the abominable Morton is more a moron than a monster and at some moments we are more enclined to feel pity for him than pure hatred...

The best comic moments are those during the liberty granted finally to the crew on a French controlled tropical island - believe me, you WANT to see this part!

Towards the end the film becomes for a moment more serious - and actually that only adds to its charm...

Bottom line, this is a GREAT moment of cinema! Grab some popcorn in one hand and Morton's palm tree in the other and sail with USS "Reluctant" to the Pacific to travel "from apathy to tedium with occasional side trips to monotony and ennui", when in the same ROARING with laughter. Enjoy!
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on 8 June 2017
Brought back happy memories of the first time I saw it, many tears ago. Very though-provoking and beautifully acted.
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on 18 July 2017
Good film , great cast.
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on 16 April 2017
Great Movie and good service from the seller
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on 6 April 2017
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on 8 October 2010
The statement 'Korean Import' was a little worrying - perhaps a better description would be 'Korean subtitles on screen if required' - but no problem and the film was just as good as when first seen. Thanks for the fast delivery.
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on 25 January 2015
A fine film featuring both of the main protagonists featured in the two versions of Twelve Angry Men - thought I would mention that as there is not much one can add about this fine film with superb performances all round. Nice to see William Powell come out of retirement and placed alongside a young Jack Lemmon early in his career. Henry Fonda, as always, is charismatically reliable but it is, as is so often the case, Cagney who is magnificent - go see - go buy - it is one of the classics.
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on 14 June 2016
A brilliant, brilliant film. James Cagney is just a joy. Love it.
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on 24 August 2007
Some war films show war is hell. This maybe true but ask any veteran what war is like and they'll ultimately tell you it's an hour of sheer terror followed by days of boredom. This is one of the few films to show you what military personnel do with their spare time. It also has a message- treat the men well and look after their legitimate needs and they'll look after you- something that many modern companies would do well to remember.

Ultimately it's about a supply ship in the pacific and "Mister Roberts" is the popular lieutenant who hates the captain and wants to see some action but because the captain knows this he won't let him off the ship. So cagney and fonda are set up for a clash of ideals. Add to this a laid back doctor and a wound up Jack Lemmon and you have superb actors working from an excellent script.

The banter and camaraderie is great and the scene where everyone is returning from shore leave is still funny over 50 years later. We are talking about some of the best actors of the age all together chewing the scenery. It is based on a play so expect talk not action but the verbal sparring and serious subtexts all add together for the perfect Sunday afternoon film.

If you liked this there's more historical debate and fun at @HistoryGems on Facebook and Twitter
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on 20 November 2013
This movie sprang from the Stage production,very famous shortly after the end of the Second World War,and it probably came nearer to the reality of the numbing awfulness of doing absolutely nothing for ninety percent of the war in the vast arena.of the Pacific.
The storyline is hilarious,the cast just about the finest actors available at the time,and the film itself has not dated at all,since it was first made. Real gems never lose their lustre. The action,which takes place on a US Navy freighter, focuses on a common hatred,sharpened by fear on the part of the officers who run the ship,for the Captain_James Cagney-a petty tyrant,never realising that he is as much a victim of circumstances,as they are. How they work out their frustrations and fantasies, try to live together,and manage the Captains own idiosyncratic behaviour,getting back at him when they can,is a joy to watch! This film is great family viewing,and you will appreciate the wonderful,funny cast from years gone by.
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