Hellcats of the Navy
Hellcats of the Navy is a World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

 movie starring Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 and his wife, billed as Nancy Davis
Nancy Reagan
Nancy Davis Reagan is the widow of former United States President Ronald Reagan and was First Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989....

, her then professional name. This was the only film in which they appear together.


Reagan plays Captain Casey Abbott, commander of the fictional submarine USS Starfish
USS Starfish
USS Starfish, a fictional submarine named for the various species of class Asteroidea, was the setting for the movie Hellcats of the Navy. She was commanded by Commander Casey Adams, played by Ronald Reagan....

, who is ordered to undertake a dangerous mission which sees him attempting to cut off the flow of supplies between China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 and Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 in the heavily-mined waters off the Asiatic mainland. When a diver, who is Abbott's competitor for the affections of Nurse Lieutenant Helen Blair (Davis) back at home, gets into a dangerous situation, Abbott must struggle to keep his personal and professional lives separate in dealing with the crisis.


Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz endorses the film on screen at the start of the movie. Reagan noted in his autobiography that he was disappointed in the film overall, having expected a result more like Destination Tokyo
Destination Tokyo
Destination Tokyo is a 1943 submarine war film. It was directed by Delmer Daves and written by Daves, Steve Fisher and Albert Maltz, and stars Cary Grant and John Garfield with featured performances by Dane Clark, Robert Hutton and Warner Anderson. Production began on June 21, 1943 and continued...

a major Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

 film of a decade previous. The diminishing status of the films he was offered led to his leaving the big screen.


Glenn Erickson of DVD Talk
DVD Talk
DVD Talk is a website for DVD enthusiasts founded in January 1999 by Geoffrey Kleinman when DVDs and DVD players were first beginning to hit the market.The site started as an online forum, an email newsletter, and a page of DVD news and reviews...

 reviewed the DVD release of Hellcats, and thought that although the direction was "competent", the script was "completely derivative and cornball". He went on to criticize the lack of realism in the supporting characters and the use of stock footage
Stock footage
Stock footage, and similarly, archive footage, library pictures and file footage are film or video footage that may or may not be custom shot for use in a specific film or television program. Stock footage is of beneficial use to filmmakers as it is sometimes less expensive than shooting new...

, especially where footage of a US Navy patrol boat was used as a Japanese ship. Overall, he described the itself as "fair". David Krauss of Digitally Obsessed described the production values as "bargain basement" and found the stiff performances of the cast alienated viewers. He gave the film a C for style and a B- for substance, although he also described the direction as "dry as a military briefing on CNN".

Erick Harper at DVD Verdict
DVD Verdict
DVD Verdict is a judicial themed website for DVD reviews. The site was founded in 1999. Current editor in chief is Michael Stailey, who also reviews for Rotten Tomatoes...

 thought that the movie followed in producing a series of submarine war movie cliché
A cliché or cliche is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel. In phraseology, the term has taken on a more technical meaning,...

s, in the love triangle and the action sequences. Parts of the film were compared to Star Trek
Star Trek
Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment franchise created by Gene Roddenberry. The core of Star Trek is its six television series: The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise...

, in that it follows a standard Hollywood formula. He described Ronald Reagan as "comfortable" and "believable", and said that the film was "worth checking out for the historical value, if nothing else".

External links

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