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Film / In Harm's Way

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A 1965 epic based on James Bassett's novel of World War II, directed and produced by Otto Preminger and featuring an All-Star Cast including John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Patricia Neal, Dana Andrews, and Henry Fonda. It is notable for being one of the last World War II films (and the last John Wayne film) to be shot in black and white.

For the trope of the same name, go here.

In Harm's Way includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Anachronism Stew: The hairstyles and civilian dress in the movie were contemporary to the time it was made, rather than the time it takes place. Similarly, the movie features various smaller vehicles that were not in the US inventory at the time, including the HU-16 Albatross Flying Boat and the M151 MUTTs pretending to be WWII era jeeps.
  • Badass Family: Rock and his son Jeremiah are both naval officers, and end up fighting in the same naval battle.
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  • Creator Cameo: Jerry Goldsmith as the piano player.
  • David vs. Goliath: The film's climax, with Rock Torrey leading an outmatched force of cruisers, destroyers, and PT boats against a much larger Japanese force. Most vividly demonstrated in Jeremiah Torrey's PT boat raid on the Japanese fleet early in the battle.
  • Death by Sex: Seemingly the cause for Doom Magnet.
  • Death Equals Redemption: After he rapes Annalee, Paul Eddington goes on a One-Way Trip in a bomber to try and find the Japanese fleet, and is shot down and killed shortly after calling his sighting in.
  • Doom Magnet: Paul Eddington. Every character within two degrees of separation of him (via sexual relationships) dies before the credits roll.
  • Driven to Suicide: Both Eddington and Annalee.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Rock Torrey decides to pursue the Japanese forces that launched the attack on Pearl Harbor, only for his ship to be torpedoed by a Japanese submarine he blunders across. Justified by the orders he has received, and the certainty that the superiors who gave them are aware that Torrey's cruiser is very low on fuel, and that they will be drastically outgunned by a Japanese fleet large enough to launch the strike against Pearl Harbor, if they were to find them. As Torrey explains later, "Under the circumstances, I could only assume that my ship was considered expendable."
  • Military Brat: Jeremiah Torrey, who has become an officer in the Navy like his father. The two have a strained relationship.
  • Operation: [Blank]: "Skyhook", a planned offensive to sieze the island of Levu-Vana to use as a base for American heavy bombers.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Eddington, after his wife's cheating ways, and her death during the Pearl Harbor raid (along with an extramarital lover of hers) drives him to drinking and brawling. He's reassigned as "officer in charge of piers and warehouses" on an obscure island.
  • Seastrike Impossible: Jeremiah's PT boat squadron makes a torpedo run on the much larger Japanese fleet under cover of darkness. They get badly mauled for their trouble, but cripple several Japanese ships. Jeremiah is killed in the battle.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: A highly-fictionalized account of the bloody Solomon Islands campaign and the even-bloodier sea battles that went with it. Levu-Vana and Gavubutu are expies of Guadalcanal and Rabaul.