Destroyer (1943)

97 or 99 mins | Drama | 2 September 1943

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Destroyer Men . The film's prologue acknowledges the cooperation of the "officers and men of the U.S. Destroyer Base and U.S. Naval Training Station at San Diego, CA." The prologue describes the destroyers as "proud little ships because they bear the name of great heroes of the service and keep alive the fighting traditions of the Navy." News items in HR yield the following information about the film's production: Janet Blair was initially slated to play "Mary." Although a pre-production news item claims that Gus Schilling was to play a principal role, he does not appear in the final film. Craig Woods made his film debut in this picture. Leo Gorcey was borrowed from M-G-M for the production.
       The sets for the film, which occupied four sound stages, were designed according to Navy specifications for warcraft. Lt. Comm. Donald Smith, the film's technical advisor, served as Navigation Officer on the U.S.S. Arizona until one month before the ship was sunk at Pearl Harbor. Ray Enright was assigned to shoot additional battle scenes because the film's original director, William Seiter, was working on a project at RKO. Edward G. Robinson and Marguerite Chapman reprised their roles in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on 3 Apr 1944, co-starring Dennis ... More Less

The working title of this film was Destroyer Men . The film's prologue acknowledges the cooperation of the "officers and men of the U.S. Destroyer Base and U.S. Naval Training Station at San Diego, CA." The prologue describes the destroyers as "proud little ships because they bear the name of great heroes of the service and keep alive the fighting traditions of the Navy." News items in HR yield the following information about the film's production: Janet Blair was initially slated to play "Mary." Although a pre-production news item claims that Gus Schilling was to play a principal role, he does not appear in the final film. Craig Woods made his film debut in this picture. Leo Gorcey was borrowed from M-G-M for the production.
       The sets for the film, which occupied four sound stages, were designed according to Navy specifications for warcraft. Lt. Comm. Donald Smith, the film's technical advisor, served as Navigation Officer on the U.S.S. Arizona until one month before the ship was sunk at Pearl Harbor. Ray Enright was assigned to shoot additional battle scenes because the film's original director, William Seiter, was working on a project at RKO. Edward G. Robinson and Marguerite Chapman reprised their roles in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on 3 Apr 1944, co-starring Dennis O'Keefe. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
21 Aug 1943.
---
Daily Variety
11 Auy 1943
pp. 3, 6
Film Daily
16 Aug 43
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jan 42
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Oct 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Oct 42
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Oct 42
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Nov 42
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Nov 42
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Feb 43
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Mar 43
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Sep 43
p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald
14 Aug 43
p. 36.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
13 Feb 43
p. 1162.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
21 Aug 43
p. 1496.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
16 Oct 43
p. 1575.
New York Times
2 Sep 43
p. 15.
Variety
18 Aug 43
p. 10.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Ed Brophy
Eddie Dew
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dir of addl scenes
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Sd eng
VISUAL EFFECTS
Mont eff
Process photog and miniatures
PRODUCTION MISC
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Destroyer Men
Release Date:
2 September 1943
Production Date:
16 November 1942--25 January 1943
addl scenes mid February 1943
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
2 September 1943
Copyright Number:
LP12261
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
97 or 99
Length(in feet):
8,946
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After the famous Navy destroyer the S. S. John Paul Jones is sunk in the South Pacific during World War II, the Navy commissions a new destroyer to carry on her name and tradition. Steve "Boley" Boleslavski and Kansas Jackson, veterans of the World War I escapades of the Jones , proudly help build the new vessel. At her christening, Boley meets his old shipmate Clark, the commander of the new Jones . Their reunion gives Boley the idea of re-enlisting to serve on the Jones , but headquarters denies his request and assigns him to train recruits in San Diego instead. At the Naval base there, Boley is reunited with Kansas Jackson, one of his recruits. When his trainees are assigned to the Jones , Boley asks Clark to appoint him chief bosun's mate of the ship. Although Clark has already assigned Mickey Donohue to the position, he agrees to request Boley as his mate. Boley's appointment transforms him into a martinet, and he soon earns the animosity of the entire crew including Donohue, who has been re-assigned as gunner's mate. To insure cooperation between the two men, Clark arranges for Boley's daughter Mary to meet and woo Donohue. The ship's shakedown cruise results in disaster, and the malfunctioning equipment on board serves to inflame the already testy relations between Boley and his men, resulting in Boley's demotion. After Donahue is appointed the new mate, he agrees to allow Boley to remain onboard for Mary's sake. When a fire erupts in the engine room during the ship's speed trial, Boley risks his life ... +


After the famous Navy destroyer the S. S. John Paul Jones is sunk in the South Pacific during World War II, the Navy commissions a new destroyer to carry on her name and tradition. Steve "Boley" Boleslavski and Kansas Jackson, veterans of the World War I escapades of the Jones , proudly help build the new vessel. At her christening, Boley meets his old shipmate Clark, the commander of the new Jones . Their reunion gives Boley the idea of re-enlisting to serve on the Jones , but headquarters denies his request and assigns him to train recruits in San Diego instead. At the Naval base there, Boley is reunited with Kansas Jackson, one of his recruits. When his trainees are assigned to the Jones , Boley asks Clark to appoint him chief bosun's mate of the ship. Although Clark has already assigned Mickey Donohue to the position, he agrees to request Boley as his mate. Boley's appointment transforms him into a martinet, and he soon earns the animosity of the entire crew including Donohue, who has been re-assigned as gunner's mate. To insure cooperation between the two men, Clark arranges for Boley's daughter Mary to meet and woo Donohue. The ship's shakedown cruise results in disaster, and the malfunctioning equipment on board serves to inflame the already testy relations between Boley and his men, resulting in Boley's demotion. After Donahue is appointed the new mate, he agrees to allow Boley to remain onboard for Mary's sake. When a fire erupts in the engine room during the ship's speed trial, Boley risks his life to save the trapped crew members. Once the ship docks, Boley is ordered to remain onshore because of injuries he sustained in the fire. The ship is then assigned to carry mail because of her failure during sea trials, and the crew thinks that the vessel is jinxed and many apply for transfers. Meanwhile, Donohue proposes to Mary, and they secretly elope to avoid telling Boley of their marriage. When Boley returns to the ship and finds the crew packing, he rallies their spirits by recounting the heroics of Admiral John Paul Jones and the "tub" that he commanded. The men decide to remain onboard, and the ship sets sail for Dutch Harbor in the Northern Pacific. When Japanese bombers begin attacking American ships, the Jones is ordered into battle. Just as Washington rescinds the ship's permission to join the battle, she is attacked by Japanese planes. Although her hull is punctured by bombs, her artillery guns down all the enemy aircraft. Stalked by an enemy submarine, the Jones begins to sink and her engine fires are extinguished by the onrushing water. When the order comes to abandon ship, Boley begs for a few men to repair the rupture. Boley and his crew toil throughout the night, and with only thirty minutes remaining before daybreak, the repairs are completed and the ship's engines are fired. When the Japanese submarine surfaces to torpedo the Jones , the ship releases her depth charges. As the crew in their lifeboats cheer, the Jones then rams and sinks the enemy submarine. Both the Jones and Boley are redeemed by their act of heroism, and their victory is heralded throughout the country. Content with his success, Boley decides to leave the ship when it docks and is awarded the crew's admiration and the Jones commission pendant. When he steps onto the pier, he is greeted by Mary, who introduces him to her new husband, Donohue. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.