I would classify this 1943 film as "war movie with a lot of comedy and a little romance". Destroyer is the story of the USS John Paul Jones II from the day her keel was laid to her acceptance as a fighting ship.
Steve Boleslavski (more commonly known as Boley), is an old has-been sailor with a long and interesting history--much of which we discover throughout the film. He "built" the second John Paul Jones and manages to get himself aboard the new ship as First Chief. In the process, he pushes out the younger Micky Donohue.
Old Navy and New Navy clash as the "Jonesy" goes out for her sea trials--twice. Regarded as unfit for duty, she's relegated to a mail carrier--much to the disgust of the crew. Lt. Commander Clark (the ship's captain and an old friend of Boley's), finds himself with numerous transfer requests on his hands.
Boley manages to save the ship--in a figurative sense and literally--twice simply because of his love for her and the Navy. His little history lesson about Captain John Paul Jones was really one of my favorite scenes.
(I persist in calling the ship "her" because it fits with the tenor of the film as the following quotation will show: When Kansas [played by the inestimable Edger Buchanan] asks Boley, "Why do you call a ship a 'she'?" Boley responds, "Because she's like a woman--she curves in the right places, wears a coat of paint, and squawks loud in an agrument.")
While Old Navy (Boley) and New Navy (Donohue mainly) butt heads, Commander Clark sets up a little scheme to try to get them to work together--knowing both are good men and could learn a lot from each other. The scheme includes Boley's pretty daughter Mary, who just adores her dad and knows that if he gets kicked off the "Jonesy" it would break his heart. Not to give too much away, the scheme doesn't work out exactly like it was supposed to....
All told, I really enjoyed this film. The story was quite engaging. There was character growth in both the main characters, Dad is not portrayed as dumb (maybe a little set in his ways, but not stupid), and of course, Edgar Buchanan provided plenty of humor as Kansas. Brave, sacrificial manhood is encouraged, even while the old sailor tells the scared kids that it's alright to be scared--and even to cry! "It'll do you good..."
No language, no gore, a small amount of kissing...See below for my one big area of 'issue-taking'--it's a spoiler.
Beware: spoiler! I don't agree with the "underhanded" way the Micky and Mary got married--most particularly Micky's chicken-ness in telling Boley about it. It's an example of how not to get married, even though there really was nothing wrong with the match so to speak--and if Boley hadn't been serving with Donohue, he probably would not have had any real objections.
This 1943 romantic comedy is a howler from the opening scenes where everything discribed in a broadcaster-ish voice over is the exact opposite of what is seen on-screen.
Mr. Dingle (Charles Coburn), an old politician arrives in Washington and needs a room in the World War Two housing shortage caused by extra people coming in to work in the surrounding defense factories. Taking his lead from an inscription seen on a monument to David Faragutt, "Damn the torpedos...full speed ahead!" he acquires half an apartment--leased by a Miss Milligan (Jean Arthur). He then rents half of his half to a young man named Joe Carter (Joel McCrea; this is the second film I've seen with him in it and I think I like the actor), who is on special assignment for the government.
Life is tricky...and amusing...and then things totally go whacky. I can't tell you much more than that without devulging plot points, but suffice to say when the FBI gets involved, an already interesting situation gets even stickier. Mr. Dingle's meddling and "full speed ahead" mentality really shakes things up and leaves the audience breathless with laughter as the situation deepens.
This is a romantic comedy, so you do have the rather fast development of the romance, but this one takes several days to develop rather than being an instantaneous thing. I liked that.
Mr. Carter was rather free with his hands in one particular scene--Miss Milligan could have put a more effective stop to it if she really wanted to...but anyway. One can't get away from some of this in Hollywood romances. It actually was used to comic effect as Connie kept removing Joe's hands when she could have just walloped him a good one on the jaw and he would have stopped. In this same scene, Miss Milligan's dress is cut somewhat low so exposes a trifle more skin than some might be happy with (more in the back than in the front).
Mr. Dingle happily goes along planning things to his own busy-body pleasure. He is the source of much laughter as he quite good-naturedly bumbles along with his own motives guiding his actions. One can't help but like the old rascal who guides the story even when off-screen.
I quite enjoyed this ridiculous movie...but be warned there is kissing (though not as much as many romances have) and a situation that could have been inappropriate if certain characters had not been honorable.
A Reformed Presbyterian girl who enjoys a good movie or a good book any ol' time.
Note: All images picked up online. No copyright infringment intended.