Stand by for Action (1943) is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Monday, April 26 at 4:00 p,m, est.
Aside from the obvious encouragement to enlist this film has a good story line and contains truth, compassion and heroism. Stand By For Action was based on the book Cargo of Innocents, hence the inclusion of the women and babies found in the lifeboat. This is one of my favorite roles for Charles Laughton who is quite believable as a crabby naval officer from the early 20th century. It is also a great role for Robert Taylor who portrays a character entirely lost to Americans of the last 50 years; that is an ivy-league, privileged rich young man forced to learn his experience from real working class men who, as Laughton’s character exclaims “Built the navy”. Walter Brennan appeals to the side of every man who comes to love a ship or car or job for its own sake. Brian Donlevy does an excellent job as the farm boy turned navy captain, and Chill Wills is good as ever as the guy everyone wishes would have been his “Chief”. Youngsters need to see this movie because it reflects well on an America known to their grandparents, and the rest of us should review it once in awhile so as not to forget what we once were. Added plus: a thrilling, realistic sea battle complete with “fog-of-war”. Review by Paul Arnold for the IMDB