Mister Roberts

The tense battle of wills between Henry Fonda’s Lt. Roberts and James Cagney’s arrogant Capt. Morton supplies the ballast in this 1955 drama set aboard a U.S. Naval cargo ship during World War II. Fonda seemed tailor-made for the decent, if slightly fractured, Roberts, making it all the more surprising that he only landed the part due to director John Ford’s insistence. Fonda may have lacked the swagger of Marlon Brando and William Holden, whom Warner Bros. originally wanted, but it’s his everyman quality that makes for such a compelling ride. (The irony is that rumored personal problems between Ford and Fonda resulted in the director’s jettisoning before the movie even wrapped!) Film scholar Dr. Michael Berlin leads an intro and post-film discussion.
Thu., March 11, 1:30 p.m., 2010

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