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.
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.