Battle Stations (1956)
To the Battle Stations Men
Father Joseph McIntyre (John Lund) has never served aboard a destroyer but that is what he is about to do having been sent to serve aboard a destroyer heading into battle with the Japanese fleet. During his time aboard he tries to offer support to the crew, especially a trio of men; an injured pilot wanting to return to action, a troublemaking seaman who wants to be kicked off and another sailor annoyed that he was passed over for promotion.
I'm sure I've seen it but I don't seem to have reviewed it, the synopsis sounds familiar as do the cast but still I can't find evidence of having watched or reviewed it. This was the situation I found myself in when I came across "Battle Stations" a movie which on paper made me deliberate as to whether I had watched it before as everything had a touch of familiarity about it including its name. Within minutes of it starting I realised I hadn't already watched "Battle Stations" yet had because much of what goes on in this flag waving WWII movie is familiar.
As such whilst "Battle Stations" came eleven years after then end of the war it has that same sense of patriotism and propaganda about it which those movies made during WWII had. We get to see the chummy nature of almost everyone aboard this destroyer and the humour of being aboard such as the men sweeping to the time kept by a band which are told to speed up. We also get to see thanks to the Commander that you can work your way up from scrubbing decks and what a privilege it is to serve aboard a naval vessel. We get the tough officer in charge of the men who busts their balls and I could go on because "Battle Stations" hits the same marks which many other WWII movies do right down to the highs and lows of receiving mail from home.
The trouble with "Battle Stations" is that it feels like who ever wrote it had watched dozens of other movies about life at sea during the war, picked out all the bits which they liked right down the music and then slotted them together. What it does it make it feel like "Battle Stations" is working its way through a check list of must haves, cramming them together but never really finding its own story to tell until much later on in the movie.
What this all boils down to is that "Battle Stations" delivers plenty of cliche when it comes to life aboard a destroyer from the chummy camaraderie to moments of drama. It means it is familiar and probably enjoyable for those who watched when it was released or served aboard a destroyer but can feel little more than a flag waving collection of cliches for those who discover it now.
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