Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Overlooked Movies: Mister Roberts

This is the first movie I remember seeing about the one man in conflict with authority, the guy who takes it for the team, a theme that was successful later on in books and movies like Cool Hand Luke and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.  In this one, the man is Mister Roberts, (Henry Fonda), and the representative of the repressive authority is ship's captain Morton (James Cagney).  

Roberts is serving on a cargo ship during WWII, and he desperately wants to transfer to a combat vessel.  His requests for transfer are always sabotaged by Morton, who's interested only in his career and who knows that Roberts is the one responsible for his success.  Morton is in constant conflict with Roberts, but he needs him too much to let him go.  The crew of course is devoted to Roberts and hate Morton.  It appears at one point that Roberts has gone over to the other side, and the crew members turn against him until they learn the truth.  Pretty much the Luke and Cuckoo's Nest template, too.  The resolution is the pretty much the same, and the characters all come to about the same end, too.

The poster clues you in to one of the best things about this movie: the cast.  Lemmon was the one who won the Oscar, but Cagney, Powell, and Fonda are great. There are a lot of laughs, but it's not all fun and games.  The ending really got to me long ago.  Still does.  If you haven't seen this one, take a look and see what you think.


Todd Mason said...

This is yet another where I've landed in the middle of it several times, w/o catching much of it, in hopes of seeing the whole thing...I'm not even sure what Lemmon's role is (screwup that Fonda's character has to save?)...but shall find out soonly, I suspect.

Unknown said...

I suspect you could guess Lemmon's role if you think about those other movies.

James Reasoner said...

I love this movie. One of the all-time greats.

Bud said...

A great example of ensemble acting by all the cast! i re-watch it ~ once a year.