Saturday, August 22, 2009

Movies A-Z: Action in the North Atlantic (1943)

This is not a bad actioner if you can get over the gung-ho propaganda. The special effects are good for the period. The strategy was so accurate this was used as a training film in the Merchant Marine. The problem is the film feels like a training film. There's some pretty snappy dialogue, but the relentless propaganda is so unforgiving that a sailor who simply expresses a wish to be home with his wife and family is made to feel like an unpatriotic coward. Needless to say he has a change of heart and signs up for another tour of duty. I actually preferred the brief civilian scenes when Bogie goes on shore leave and gets himself a wife after getting into a scrap in a bar with a poor bozo whose loose lips threaten to sink ships. Raymond Massey as the ship's captain hams it up considerably. There is a great funeral aboard ship where Bogie leads in the Lord's Prayer, reads from the Scriptures and says, "Now that's God's Word. And it's good." That's worth the price of the DVD! The cover said it was 102 minutes; it was actually 120 and it does drag a bit. Two and half stars from me. Here's the trailer:

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