Highly Underrated Movie!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am writing this review to correct a previous reviewer. Instead of discussing the pros and cons of this movie "laddie5" simply engaged in a character assassination of Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Having actually seen this movie, I can tell you that it is definitely a good one--and also highly underrated! The movie was well adapted from a novel by Vice-Admiral Charles A. Lockwood. In other words, the movie creates a very good image of what it was like on a WWII submarine. Furthermore, the acting is not stiff! The characters all really get into their roles and everything goes smoothly. I strongly recommend this movie to everyone and hope that my fellow reviewers will be more objective from now on."
Ronald Reagan's last film role as a hero (and Nancy too!)
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 06/16/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The "Hellcats of the Navy" are a special branch of the U.S. Navy Submarine Service who did Special Ops. Commander Casey Adams (Ronald Reagan) and the U.S.S. Starfish are sent to bring back sample Japanese mines for the Navy to study. The mission succeeds, but Adams is forced to abandon one of his frogmen, the popular Wes Barton (Harry Lauter). The boat's second in command, Lt. Commander Don Landon (Arthur Franz) second-guesses the captain's decision, since Barton had made advances to the skipper's girlfriend, nurse Helen Blair (Nancy Davis). Landon becomes even more unhappy when he learns Adams turns in a report that says he is a good junior officer but is emotional unfit for command (yes, parts of this movie are going to remind you of "U-157" while others are reminiscent of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan"). On the return mission, the Starfish is lost, but Adams, Landon and some of the men are rescued. Finally, after another successful mission their new sub gets a wire entangled in the rudder and Adams goes below in a diving suit to fix the problem. When a Japanese destroyer bears down on the sub, Landon gives the order to submerge, leaving Adams behind. This 1957 film directed by Nathan Juran, has the virtue of being based on a novel, "Hellcats of the Sea," written by a couple of Admirals, Charles A. Lockwood (played by Maurice Manson in the film) and Hans Christian Adamson. While it owes its place in cinematic history to the fact it is the only film in which Ron and Nancy Reagan appeared together, the strength of "Hellcats of the Navy" is the treatment of command decisions and the morality of leadership. This is a movie that you would have thought would have been produced during or shortly after World War II, but since it deals with secret operations it is not a story the Navy would have passed on until years later. This is not a great WW2 submarine film like "Destination Tokyo," but it is not a bad one by any means. Oh, and the scenes between Ron and Nancy? Well, the romantic sub-plot is pretty minimal and their scenes end up being minor curiosities that are somewhat flat when compared to the shots of them just looking at each other during their years in the White House."
Excellent WWII submarine movie! Good action sequences.
John Alderson | Central Maine, United States | 11/27/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie addresses the issue of what it takes to be a good wartime commander. Exciting enemy encounters, good account of a few social interaction between the swabbies and their families. It's an excellent movie despite public ridicule of former President Ronald Reagan's acting (His real-life wife is in it too). It leaves you with a sense that you have learned something, especially after watching it a second time."
Great Submarine Film
gobirds2 | New England | 10/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ronald Reagan as Commander Casey Abbott gives one of his best performances. Director Nathan Juran and cinematographer Irving Lippman provide excellent action scenes full of bravado. Charles H. Schneer of "Dynamation" fame produced this film. He and Nathan Juran also gave us the "7th Voyage of Sinbad.""