Old Movie Weekend

Since we had another weekend of mostly bad weather in Denver, I spent some time watching a couple of classic World War Two movies on DVD. The first was The Enemy Below from 1957, starring Robert Mitcheum and Curt Jurgens (who was the villain in the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me). This is basically a battle of wits between two war-weary naval captains, that was unusual in that it treated the Germans with some sympathy, or at least understanding. Most World War Two movies up until that time portrayed any German characters as evil caricatures or foolish buffoons. At any rate, it is a very entertaining film, that I enjoyed.

Second, I watched an old favorite of mine, Otto Preminger’s In Harm’s Way, from 1965. I have enjoyed this movie since I was a kid. It has a great performance by John Wayne (who had lung cancer at the time), and also had Kirk Douglas. The DVD had a "making of" featurette that showed how they filmed the movie in Hawaii, with a lot of cooperation from the U.S. Navy. One minor nit is the way that most of the female characters have 1960’s vintage hairstyles, even though the movie was set in 1941-42.

When I was about ten years old, I used to reenact the naval battle scenes from In Harm’s Way with little fleets of naval ships that I built with Mattel Tog’ls. Tog’ls were a relatively unknown Lego competitor, that used softer, plastic blocks that lent themselves into becoming ships that could be used as targets that would fly apart in thrilling fashion, without permanently breaking, along with my explosion sound effects.

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