- Audio Commentary
- Excerpt from the Documentary Fonda on Fonda
- 9 Theatrical Trailers
- Languages and Subtitles
- English and French
- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 2 hours, 3 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: December 22, 1998
- Originally Released: 1955
- Label: Warner Home Video
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Snap Case
- Aspect Ratio: Letterbox - 2.55
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen - 2.55
- Additional Release Material:
- Audio Commentary: Jack Lemmon - Star
- Trailers: Original Theatrical Trailer
- Ed Sullivan Documentary Excerpt
- Henry Fonda Documentary Excerpt
Performers, Cast and Crew:
William Powell &
Harry Carey, Jr.,
Jack Lemmon &
John Ford &
Frank S. Nugent &
Art Direction by
Director of Photography:
Winton C. Hoch
Academy Awards 1955 -
Best Supporting Actor: Jack Lemmon
Description by OLDIES.com:
The USS Reluctant carries cargo along World War II's forgotten Pacific seaways. Beyond the horizon, the real war passes its stir-crazy crew by. Mister Roberts
, directed by John Ford and Mervyn LeRoy, is the classic story of men fighting to survive not war's dangers but its indignities.
Henry Fonda's reprise of his Tony-winning Broadway role returned him to movies after seven years away. Jack Lemmon won his first Academy Award as hapless, lecherous Ensign Pulver. James Cagney's petty, scrappy Captain makes a fierce adversary. In his final film, William Powell make world-weary Doc a sage for the ages. Mister Roberts has moments of unforgettable humor. But sadness tempers the comedy. No shot is fired. No blood is spilled. Yet Mister Roberts endures as one of our most truthful war sagas.
The film represents Henry Fonda's return to the screen after an absence of seven years, part of which was spent playing the eponymous officer in the immensely successful stage version of Thomas Heggen's novel. As cargo officer and second in command on a supply ship during World War II, the easygoing Lt. Doug Roberts is excluded from a much desired combat role while playing whipping boy to dyspeptic tyrant Captain Morion (James Cagney). Ensign Frank Pulver (Jack Lemmon), a brash yet cowardly wheeler-dealer, entertains Roberts with his elaborate pranks while the fatherly Doc (William Powell in his last screen appearance) offers advice. The young crew tries every available means of killing boredom, including eyeballing the nurses on a nearby island through a telescope, and Roberts does what he can to get them the R and R they badly need. The film had a troubled production history, mostly because of conflicts between Fonda, a friend of author Thomas Heggen's, and Ford, who wished to make changes that Fonda disliked. Shortly after physically attacking Fonda, Ford suffered a ruptured gallbladder and was replaced by Mervyn LeRoy. Fonda is excellent, and Lemmon gives an inspired, Oscar-winning performance in a film that flows evenly from the comic to the tragic and stands among the best World War II films produced in the 1950s.
The crew of a World War II cargo ship comes to rely on the genial Mister Roberts to mediate the tantrums of an unqualified captain.
Essential Cinema |
High Seas |
Theatrical Release |
World War II
- MISTER ROBERTS features William Powell's final screen performance.
- John Ford was replaced by Mervyn LeRoy because of illness.
- Producer Leland Hayward also was responsible for the Broadway production.
- Henry Fonda played Mister Roberts on Broadway as well.