Thomas Heggen’s salty comedy about life aboard a Navy cargo ship had no trouble moving from the printed page to the stage [in a play by Heggen and Joshua Logan]. Figuring importantly in the sock manner with which it all comes off on the screen is the directorial credit shared by John Ford and Mervyn LeRoy, the former having had to bow out because of illness midway in production.
Henry Fonda, who scored on the stage in the title role, repeats in the picture as the cargo officer who resented not being in the thick of the fighting in the Pacific during World War II.
James Cagney is simply great as the captain of the ship. William Powell tackles the role of ship’s doctor with an easy assurance that makes it stand out and Jack Lemmon is a big hit as Ensign Pulver.
1955: Best Supp. Actor (Jack Lemmon)
Nominations: Best Picture, Sound