The Info List - Stand By For Action

Stand By for Action
Stand By for Action
(British title: Cargo of Innocents) is a 1942 American war film directed by Robert Z. Leonard, starring Robert Taylor, Brian Donlevy, and Charles Laughton, also featuring Walter Brennan and, in her film debut, Marilyn Maxwell. Suggested by a story by Laurence Kirk, and with an original story by Captain Harvey Haislip and R. C. Sherriff, the film's screenplay was written by George Bruce, John L. Balderston, and Herman J. Mankiewicz.


1 Plot 2 Cast 3 Production 4 Release 5 Response

5.1 Criticial response 5.2 Box office

6 Awards and honors 7 References 8 External links

Plot[edit] During World War II, well-connected, Harvard-educated Lieutenant Gregg Masterman (Robert Taylor) enjoys his cushy posting as junior aide to Rear Admiral Stephen "Old Ironpants" Thomas (Charles Laughton), playing tennis and arranging social events. During a chance encounter, he gives bad advice to up-from-the-ranks Lieutenant Commander Martin J. Roberts (Brian Donlevy) out of spite. As a result, Thomas gives Roberts command of an obsolete, World War I-vintage destroyer, the Warren. To his dismay, however, Masterman finds himself assigned by Thomas as Roberts' new executive officer. When Masterman learns that Henry Johnson (Walter Brennan), the ship's civilian caretaker, was a member of the Warren's original crew, he helps him reenlist and serve aboard his beloved ship. Despite his awkward beginning, Masterman begins to turn into an effective officer under Roberts' tutelage, though Roberts has to constantly remind him that he cannot put the welfare of one person over that of the mission. On their way to rendezvous with a convoy commanded by Thomas, they are attacked by a Japanese airplane. Then, Johnson sustains a serious head injury during a storm, leaving him delirious and believing he is back in World War I. Finally, they rescue two pregnant women and 20 babies, survivors of a torpedoed ship. For comic relief, the crewmen (especially Masterman) have to deal with their unusual passengers. One woman gives birth just before they sight the convoy. An aircraft hit cripples Thomas's flagship, damaging the steering mechanism. Thus, when a Japanese battleship sights the convoy, it is all up to the Warren. Roberts informs Masterman of his plan of attack. He intends to set up a smoke screen, hide behind it, and then emerge to launch a torpedo salvo. When the captain is injured, Masterman assumes command. During the battle, Johnson takes over the helm when a crewman is knocked out. It takes two attempts, but the Warren sinks the enemy. Cast[edit]

Robert Taylor as Lieutenant Gregg Masterman Charles Laughton
Charles Laughton
as Rear Admiral Stephen Thomas Brian Donlevy
Brian Donlevy
as Lieutenant Commander Martin J. Roberts Walter Brennan
Walter Brennan
as Chief Yeoman Henry Johnson Marilyn Maxwell
Marilyn Maxwell
as Audrey Carr Henry O'Neill
Henry O'Neill
as Commander Stone M.C. Marta Linden as Mary Collins Chill Wills
Chill Wills
as Chief Boatswain's Mate Jenks Douglass Dumbrille
Douglass Dumbrille
as Captain Ludlow

Cast notes

Singer Marilyn Maxwell
Marilyn Maxwell
made her screen debut in Stand By for Action.[2]

Production[edit] A number of titles were considered for the film which became Stand By for Action, including Cargo of Innocence – the name under which the film was released in the United Kingdom, A Cargo of Innocents, Men O'War, Clear for Action, Navy Convoy, This Man's Navy, and Pacific Task Force.[3] Although film was shot in Hollywood, it was originally scheduled to be filmed in late 1941 at the MGM studio in England, with Clarence Brown
Clarence Brown
directing Robert Donat
Robert Donat
and Edmund Gwenn, but production was shifted to California because of the war situation.[3] The original intention was that the film would be about the British Navy in the Atlantic Ocean, but after the U.S. entered the war, the story was changed to focus on the U.S. Navy in the Pacific, the first naval war film made by MGM.[3] Release[edit] The film premiered on New Year's Eve 1941 in a number of cities, including Boston, Providence, Rhode Island, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Norfolk, Virginia, San Diego, California, and San Francisco,[4] but MGM had previously screened the film for naval officers on bases in California.[3] Response[edit] Criticial response[edit] The critical response to the film was not good, with the reviewer for Yank magazine saying that the film was "not about The War, but about Hollywood's War," and other reviewers comparing it to In Which We Serve, the 1942 British naval film written by and starring Noël Coward and directed by Coward and David Lean, with the earlier film being deemed superior.[3] Bosley Crowther, the film critic for The New York Times, thought that Charles Laughton's performance was not his best, an opinion that Laughton himself agreed with, saying that it was like something out of H.M.S. Pinafore.[2] Box office[edit] Despite the poor reviews, Stand By for Action
Stand By for Action
was successful at the box office.[2] It earned $2,013,000 in the US and Canada and $1,185,000 elsewhere making MGM a profit of $786,000.[1][5] Awards and honors[edit] The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Special
Effects (A. Arnold Gillespie, Donald Jahraus, Michael Steinore).[6] References[edit]

^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study . ^ a b c Nixon, Rob. "Stand By for Action" on TCM.com ^ a b c d e "Notes" on TCM.com ^ "Overview" on TCM.com ^ "Top Grossers of the Season", Variety, 5 January 1944 p 54 ^ "The 16th Academy Awards (1944) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2013-06-23. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Stand By for Action
Stand By for Action

Stand By for Action
Stand By for Action
at the TCM Movie Database Stand By for Action
Stand By for Action
on IMDb Stand By for Action
Stand By for Action
at AllMovie

v t e

The films of Robert Z. Leonard

The Master Key (1914) Judge Not; or The Woman of Mona Diggings (1915) Secret Love (1916) The Plow Girl (1916) On Record (1917) A Mormon Maid
A Mormon Maid
(1917) The Primrose Ring (1917) At First Sight (1917) Face Value (1918) The Bride's Awakening (1918) Danger, Go Slow
Danger, Go Slow
(1918) The Delicious Little Devil
The Delicious Little Devil
(1919) The Miracle of Love (1919) April Folly
April Folly
(1920) The Restless Sex
The Restless Sex
(1920) The Gilded Lily (1921) Heedless Moths
Heedless Moths
(1921) Peacock Alley (1922) Fascination (1922) Broadway Rose (1922) Jazzmania
(1923) Mademoiselle Midnight
Mademoiselle Midnight
(1924) Circe, the Enchantress
Circe, the Enchantress
(1924) Cheaper to Marry (1925) Time, the Comedian (1925) Bright Lights (1925) Dance Madness
Dance Madness
(1926) Mademoiselle Modiste (1926) The Waning Sex
The Waning Sex
(1926) A Little Journey (1927) The Demi-Bride
The Demi-Bride
(1927) Adam and Evil (1927) Tea for Three (1927) Baby Mine (1928) The Cardboard Lover (1928) A Lady of Chance
A Lady of Chance
(1928) Marianne (1929, silent) Marianne (1929, musical) The Divorcee
The Divorcee
(1930) In Gay Madrid (1930) Let Us Be Gay (1930) The Bachelor Father
The Bachelor Father
(1931) Five and Ten (1931) It's a Wise Child (1931) Susan Lenox (Her Fall and Rise)
Susan Lenox (Her Fall and Rise)
(1931) Lovers Courageous (1932) Strange Interlude (1932) Peg o' My Heart (1933) Dancing Lady
Dancing Lady
(1933) Outcast Lady
Outcast Lady
(1934) After Office Hours
After Office Hours
(1935) Naughty Marietta (1935) Escapade (1935) A Tale of Two Cities (1935) The Great Ziegfeld
The Great Ziegfeld
(1936) Piccadilly Jim (1936) Maytime (1937) The Firefly (1937) The Girl of the Golden West (1938) Broadway Serenade
Broadway Serenade
(1939) New Moon (1940) Pride and Prejudice (1940) Third Finger, Left Hand
Third Finger, Left Hand
(1940) Ziegfeld Girl (1941) When Ladies Meet (1941) We Were Dancing (1942) Stand By for Action
Stand By for Action
(1942) The Man from Down Under
The Man from Down Under
(1943) Marriage Is a Private Affair
Marriage Is a Private Affair
(1944) Week-End at the Waldorf
Week-End at the Waldorf
(1945) The Secret Heart (1946) Cynthia (1947) B.F.'s Daughter (1948) The Bribe
The Bribe
(1949) In the Good Old Summertime (1949) Nancy Goes to Rio
Nancy Goes to Rio
(1950) Duchess of Idaho
Duchess of Idaho
(1950) Grounds for Marriage
Grounds for Marriage
(1951) Too Young to Kiss
Too Young to Kiss
(1951) Everything I Have Is Yours (1952) The Clown (1953) The Great Diamond Robbery (1953) Her Twelve Men
Her Twelve Men
(1954) The King's Thief (1955) Beautiful but Dangerous (1955)

v t e

Works by R. C. Sherriff


Journey's End
Journey's End
(1928) Badger's Green (1930) St Helena (1936) Miss Mabel (1948) Home at Seven (1950) The White Carnation (1953) The Long Sunset (1955) The Telescope (1957)


The Invisible Man (1933) One More River
One More River
(1934) Dracula's Daughter
Dracula's Daughter
(1936) The Road Back (1937) Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) The Four Feathers (1939) Lady Hamilton (1941) This Above All (1942) Mrs. Miniver
Mrs. Miniver
(1942) Stand By for Action
Stand By for Action
(1942) Forever and a Day (1943) Odd Man Out
Odd Man Out
(1947) Quartet (1948) No Highway in the Sky
No Highway in the Sky
(1950) Trio (1950) The Dam Busters (1955) The Night My Number Came Up
The Night My Number Came Up


The Hopkins Manuscript (1939)

TV plays

The Long S