In Harm's Way
With John Wayne Kirk Douglas, Patricia Neal .
US, 1965, 35mm, black & white, 165 min.
Print source: UCLA
Otto Preminger was at the height of his fame and prestige when he signed a contract with Paramount in the early 1960s. His first film for the studio was the World War II film In Harm’s Way, which – like Ford’s They Were Expendable – stars John Wayne fighting in the Pacific, with the war’s toll on his private life as important as the battle scenes. Similarly reminiscent of Ford is a subplot about Wayne’s attempts to reconnect with his son, who has also joined the military. However, the combination of hard-edged realism with a large cast of stars young and old is pure Preminger. Critic Chris Fujiwara points out the film carefully balances images of destruction with images of consensus and concludes that “in no other Preminger film is the negative so shattering…, but in no other film is the positive so reassuring.”