Operation Pacific (1951)

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    Photo with the courtesy of lasbugas


    Plot Summary
    Submarine commander Duke Gifford feels guilty in the death
    of his former commanding officer, as well as about his failed marriage.
    These issues pull at him during a hazardous mission against the Japanese in World War II.
    Summary written by Jim Beaver

    Full Cast
    John Wayne .... Lt Cmdr. Duke E. Gifford
    Patricia Neal .... Lt. (j.g.) Mary Stuart
    Ward Bond .... Cmdr. John T. 'Pop' Perry
    Scott Forbes .... Lt. Larry
    Philip Carey .... Lt. (j.g.) Bob Perry
    Paul Picerni .... Jonesy
    William Campbell .... The Talker (as Bill Campbell)
    Kathryn Givney .... Cmdr. Steele
    Martin Milner .... Ens. Caldwell
    Cliff Clark .... Commander, SUBPAC
    Jack Pennick .... The Chief
    Virginia Brissac .... Sister Anna
    Vincent Fotre .... Soundman
    Lewis Martin .... Squad commander
    Sam Edwards .... Junior
    Louis Mosconi .... Radarman Mosconi
    John Baer .... Fighter pilot (uncredited)
    Robert Carson .... Torpedo Officer (uncredited)
    Gail Davis .... Bit part (uncredited)
    Chris Drake .... Sparks (radioman) (uncredited)
    James Flavin .... Mick (SP commander) (uncredited)
    Bess Flowers .... Dance floor extra (uncredited)
    Ray Hyke .... Crewman (uncredited)
    Gayle Kellogg .... Crewman (uncredited)
    Al Kikume .... Hawaiian (uncredited)
    Brett King .... Lt. Ernie Stark (uncredited)
    Mike Lally .... Quartermaster (uncredited)
    Keith Larsen .... Crewman (uncredited)
    Harry Lauter .... Freddie (officer on submarine Corvena) (uncredited)
    Richard Loo .... Japanese fighter pilot (uncredited)
    Bob Nash .... Quartermaster (uncredited)
    Carl Saxe .... Shore Patrolman (uncredited)
    William Self .... Helmsman (uncredited)
    Michael St. Angel .... Lt. Jorgenson (uncredited)
    Bert Stevens .... Naval officer at briefing (uncredited)
    Milburn Stone .... Ground Control officer (uncredited)
    Harlan Warde .... Dick (admiral's aide) (uncredited)
    Steve Wayne .... Crewman (uncredited)
    Mack Williams .... Crewman (uncredited)
    Carleton Young .... Pilot briefing officers on carrier (uncredited)

    Writing Credits
    George Waggner (written by)

    Original Music
    Max Steiner

    Bert Glennon (director of photography)

    * During the film, the men of the Thunderfish watch Cary Grant in Destination Tokyo (1943).

    During filming Gary Cooper visited the set to persuade his mistress Patricia Neal to abort his child. Neal later became a pro-life activist.

    John Wayne and Patricia Neal did not get along during filming. She was particularly annoyed by his treatment of a gay publicity man. Nearly fourteen years later, however, they worked together on In Harm's Way (1965) where she noted that he had mellowed a lot, possibly because he was seriously ill with lung cancer at the time.

    This movie's opening foreword and dedication states: "When the Pacific Fleet was destroyed by the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, it remained for the submarines to carry the war to the enemy. In the four years that followed, our undersea craft sank six million tons of Japanese shipping including some of the proudest ships of the Imperial Navy. Fifty-two of our submarines and thirty-five hundred officers and men were lost. It is to these men and the entire silent service that this picture is humbly dedicated."

    The problems with submarine torpedoes shown in the movie are accurate. A poorly designed and tested firing pin could malfunction on a good hit (that is, a torpedo striking within about 45 degrees of perpendicular to the side of the target). Poor hits (at a very sharp angle to the side of the ship) could often produce more reliable explosions. Finding the problem, while not performed by the submarine crews as shown, actually did occur in a similar manner.

    John Wayne was dissatisfied with the finished film, believing it to be overlong and containing too much romance. He was also opposed from the beginning to the casting of Patricia Neal, whom he felt was too young at 24 for the role of his ex-wife.

    * Factual errors: It is impossible for a sailor to communicate with an airplane by using a sound-powered phone.

    * Continuity: Inside the submarine, Duke talks with Pop while Pop smokes a cigar. In the following shot, when Duke stands up and leaves, Pop is holding the coffee cup with both hands, with no cigar at all. But next shot he is holding the cup with one hand and the cigar with the other.

    * Continuity: Duke walks in the hospital corridor holding the cap in his right hand. In the subsequent shot he appears in front of the nursery, holding the cap with both hands.

    * Continuity: In the hospital, after Duke kisses Mary Stuart, she turns to her right side. But the next shot shows her, in close-up, facing him already.

    * Continuity: In the submarine deck, Duke is holding a lit cigarette when he sees Mary Stuart arriving with Pop in a jeep. In the following shot, when he steps down the gangway, the cigarette has disappeared.

    * Continuity: When Pop gives the order "Cast off for'ard", the person behind him is holding a microphone below his chin with his left hand. In the subsequent shot his left hand holds the left earphone.

    * Continuity: When the submarine is being machine-gunned by the Japanese plane, Duke is just entering the doorway - meaning that if he got shot he could only get shot in the back. Nevertheless, he gets shot right in the front, near his right shoulder.

    * Continuity: Toward the end of the film, after Duke kisses Mary Stuart, she holds his right arm to follow him. In the next shot she is turning around the left arm to hold his arm.

    * Revealing mistakes: One of the torpedoes fired from the sub is pulled by a visible cable.

    * Revealing mistakes: When the Thunder is "depth-charged" near the beginning of the film, it's US Navy sailors who are dropping the cans. Only a few frames are shown, but it's clearly US Naval personnel (possibly stock footage).

    * Anachronisms: In the opening scenes the stenciling on the life rafts show the date of manufacture as 8/49 which is approximately four years after the end of the war.

    * Revealing mistakes: After the first shore leave, the Thunderfish returns to action. It sinks the first ship it encounters. However, the ship that is seen through the periscope before the torpedoes are fired isn't the same ship that is seen sinking in the second look through the periscope.

    * Anachronisms: The sinking of the U.S.S. Corvina by a Japanese submarine was an actual event that happened almost a year earlier than shown in the film.

    * Crew or equipment visible: When the Thunderfish dives under to come up astern of the Japanese decoy ship, it's clear both ships are in a diving tank.

    * Continuity: In the first attack sequence after Pop tells Duke he's getting command of the Thunderfish there is a shot of the sub cruising underwater. Just past, and under, the bow in the lower right of the frame you can see a depth charge drum falling just before the scene changes back to an interior shot. At this point the boat was just going to GQ and was not yet under attack by surface ships.

    * Factual errors: The studio set is much larger than a wartime submarine would have been.

    * Revealing mistakes: The first ship sunk on the second patrol has US Navy numbering on its bow.

    * Factual errors: The film is careful to point out that the Thunderfish's first arrival at Pearl Harbor was in 1942 but John Wayne, Ward Bond, Philip Carey, and others all wear ribbons that were not instituted until very late 1942 and not actually implemented until 1943 (Presidential Unit Citation, Pacific Campaign Ribbon, others). In particular, Duke (John Wayne) wears a Presidential Unit Citation ribbon with one bronze star, indicating he received this award twice before it was created. Ribbons were also displayed out of order, incomplete, and otherwise improperly displayed.

    * Factual errors: The sailors on the IJN Decoy Ship are using US .30 cal Browning Light Machine guns. Highly unlikely that they would use foreign weapons and ammunition, even if captured earlier in the war. Supply would have been impossible.

    * Factual errors: Mary Stuart was allowed into the ComSubPac plotting room. It is next to impossible to believe that a highly secret room like that (with location and position of the entire Pacific Fleet) would be accessible to common US Navy Personnel like nurses.

    * Anachronisms: The fight with the "decoy vessel" was a complete plot fabrication. The Imperial Japanese Navy is not known to have operated specific submarine decoy vessels (commonly called Q-Ships). These were used by the Allied Powers, primarily by the British Royal Navy and the United States Navy. Had this been an actual depiction of a fight between a Q-Ship and a submarine, the submarine would not have surfaced, as that is exactly what a Q-Ship would have wanted. Also, even rammed, a decoy ship would be extremely hard to sink, as they were usually filled with extra flotation (typically wood) to keep them afloat after taking damage.

    * Factual errors: When speaking with LCDR Gifford on the foredeck, the sailor from the south states that his "great grand pappy served on the Merrimack". Someone that proud of an ancestor would have known that the ship was named Virginia (the correct Confederate Navy name), not Merrimack (the name used in bad history texts for decades).

    * Factual errors: The pictures of a large splash immediately after the Thunderfish fires torpedoes are incorrect. These are torpedoes launched by a surface ship. A submarine launched torpedo should never break the surface.

    * Anachronisms: In the attack on "the whole Imperial fleet", the vessel actually shown to be hit is a merchant ship, something which would not be present in a group of warships.

    * Anachronisms: The final attack on the carrier left behind by the Imperial fleet makes no sense. Carriers were the most important vessels in a fleet, and would not be left behind without an escort of more than a single destroyer, especially in the presence of an enemy submarine. If the carrier had been too badly damaged to be saved, it would have been destroyed by its own fleet.

    * Revealing mistakes: When the dummy torpedo warhead is being hauled up by crane and dropped on a target to test the new firing mechanisms, 3 tests are performed. All 3 tests are the exact same piece of footage. You can tell by the way the warhead bounces when it hits its target, the same 2 seamen are to either side of it in the foreground in all 3 tests, and the left seaman jerks his right arm to the left in exactly the same manner in all 3 tests.

    * Anachronisms: At the Pearl Harbor brig, the Shore Patrol commander complains that the crews of numerous submarines are brawling with his men, naming the Tang and Wahoo among them. These two boats could not have been operating from Pearl at the same time, as the Wahoo was lost in action in October 1943 and the Tang did not enter the war zone until the following January.

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Locations
    Pearl Harbor Naval Station, Pearl Harbor, O`ahu, Hawaii, USA

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 17 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Operation Pacific is a 1951 World War II submarine film starring John Wayne
    and directed by George Waggner.
    The technical advisor for this film was Admiral Charles A. Lockwood,
    the actual Commander, Submarine Forces, Pacific (COMSUBPAC) during World War II.

    I like and enjoy this film, in which all the actors played well.
    Duke and Ward of course, but also fine performances
    from Patricia Neal and Phil Carey.

    Patricia, was in love with Gary Cooper at the time,
    and Gary became a frequent visitor on the set.

    Look out for Duke 'Pal's'
    Jack Pennick and Carleton Young

    Patricia Neal said at the time,


    John Wayne,had enormous appeal for the public, but I did not find him appealing,
    in the least.I think my charms were lost on him too.
    He was going through marital problems,which kept him in a bad humor all the time.
    Duke was at odds with the director and could be a bully,
    particularly with a gay publicity man, who seemed to draw is wrath at every turn.

    OP was the first film that Duke did with WB,since the 1930's!
    This was the start of a string of films, that brought
    WB and Duke quite hefty sums of money.

    Critics said the picture was a complete waste of time,
    but Duke's name guaranteed a respectable return.

    User Review

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 4 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Complete waste of time? WOW!!

    I thought the movie was quite good, maybe not "They were Expendable" good, but darn close. Duke and Ward make a nice team, as always and if I wouldn't have read the blurb about what Patricia Neal says about the filming I always believed they played well together. There was some good action scenes along with a nice side story about the torpedoes not working.

    Life is hard, its even harder when your stupid!!
    -John Wayne

  • firstly to think that duke is in a postion to be only shot in the back if you look closely you can see that he is standing slightly out from the doorway and turned to the right so that it will appear that the bullet has hit the side of the sub and bounced back and caught him is his right shoulder.

    ethan a goof that you have missed is when duke is taken into his bunk he holds his right shoulder then promtly lays down onto that shoulder if you think about it if you were hit in that shoulder would you go laying down on it.

    it is at this time that they rescue pop's little brother they dont tell you where he has disappeared to but in a slightly later scene he is laying in dukes bunk.

    on a whole this is a good movie to watch it has its funny moments as well as its sad but on the whole a nice movie to watch.

    hooroo smokey

    " its not all black and white, but different shades of grey"

  • Quote

    Originally posted by SXViper@Jan 22 2006, 03:54 PM
    Complete waste of time? WOW!!

    I thought the movie was quite good, maybe not "They were Expendable" good, but darn close. Duke and Ward make a nice team, as always and if I wouldn't have read the blurb about what Patricia Neal says about the filming I always believed they played well together. There was some good action scenes along with a nice side story about the torpedoes not working.


    What did Patricia Neal say?

    Cheers B)


    "When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it"

    - John Wayne quote

  • Memorable Quotes

    Lcdr. Duke E. Gifford, Executive Officer Thunderfish: How's the picture?
    Lt. Larry: Oh, alright I guess, sir... the things those Hollywood guys can do with a submarine.

    'Pop' Perry: Take her down!

    [crewmembers struggle to fix leaking hatch]
    Sister Anna: Anything I can do to help?
    Jonesy: Spit teeth and cuss!
    [sees sister Anna]
    Jonesy: Sorry sister, didn't see you.
    Sister Anna: That's alright, go ahead, I'll spit teeth!

    Lt. Larry: [finding themselves in the middle of the entire Imperial Japanese fleet] I'll never make fun of a picture again!

    Cmdr. Steele: [whispering to keep babies from crying] I heard every word you said.
    I've been trying to keep my nose out of your business, but I can't stand by and watch you make a fool of yourself any longer.
    Lt. Mary Stuart: Commander Steele...
    Cmdr. Steele: Be quiet and listen. Of course he comes to you when he wants to play,
    where do you want him to go? Some other woman? You married him for what he was and then tried to change him.
    Well, you couldn't, and you never will. You began to feel sorry for yourself, "You don't need me... maybe I shouldn't have let you shut me out" What kind of silly talk is that? And what does *pride* have to do with love? Don't worry, he won't be happy, but more important.
    Cmdr. Steele: He won't be back!


    Best Wishes
    London- England

  • Quote

    Originally posted by Hondo Duke Lane@Jan 24 2006, 12:09 AM
    What did Patricia Neal say?

    Cheers B)


    Read post #2 in this thread Hondo.

    Life is hard, its even harder when your stupid!!
    -John Wayne

  • Quote

    Originally posted by ethanedwards@Jan 22 2006, 03:16 AM
    Critics said the picture was a complete waste of time


    Not hardly!

    Shows you how much critics can be wrong!

    It has to be a pretty bad JW movie for me to consider it a complete waste of time, and I have a soft spot for WWII movies.

    I thought it was in great camp to have the guys in this movie watching Cary Grant in his submarine movie, Destination Tokyo. :D

    As with so many other JW movies, this one is readily available at our old friends, Deep Discount DVD and Amazon (although it is cheaper at DDD).

    Chester :newyear:

  • We watched Operation Pacific again this weekend, and the more I see this film the more I like it. Wayne's part is really cool all the way through, and I might be wrong, but it might be one of two plots he is in where the primary conflict is between Duke and a young upstart who seeks to best him and steal his girl. The other one is Liberty Valance, and unlike Valance, Operation Pacific finds Duke (Named "Duke Gifford in the film) outwiting the young upstart at every move. At the end when Wayne pats him on the head...its just classic.

    Also funny, is on the submarine, for entertainment they are watching a film about submarine warefare...and if you look really close, it obvious they were using clips from their own film in the film they were watching.


    "...all of this and General Price that baby sister makes it back to Yell county" --Rooster Cogburn, True Grit.

  • GSP,

    I took the liberty of moving your post here to the same named topic in the Duke's Movie Discussions forum.

    I agree with you, it is a good movie and I really enjoy it.

    I thought I remembered that in the trivia section of this movie, on IMDb, there was mention that the film clips are from Destination Tokyo, with Cary Grant. I see that Keith's post above confirms that memory.

    Chester :newyear:

  • Yeah...could be, but sure looked like the one actor in the Operation Pacific. Probably a coincidence, and it is Destination Toyko.

    "...all of this and General Price that baby sister makes it back to Yell county" --Rooster Cogburn, True Grit.

  • Duke didn't feel guilty, his sorrow was mixed with a fierce pride of what pops did for his crew, that he was not sure what to do other than try and keep his crew together.

    I really enjoy this movie, I guess it's just natural causes...

    You can roll a turd in powdered sugar but that doesn’t make it a doughnut.

  • Quote

    Originally posted by General Sterling Price@Mar 27 2006, 04:49 AM
    Yeah...could be, but sure looked like the one actor in the Operation Pacific. Probably a coincidence, and it is Destination Toyko.


    A friend of mine is adament that the movie the crew are watching in 'Operation Pacific' is actually 'Operation Pacific'. I'm not sure so I'll have to check it out.



  • Operation Pacific has always been yet another Duke war movie that is a favorite of mine. Over the years I have seen this one at least 25 times. I also do not agree with film critics on most any film they yak about--especially critics like Leonard Maltin - who IMO, does not know a good movie when he sees one. I have never agreed with anything he has ever said about any movie.

    Es Ist Verboten Mit Gefangenen In Einzelhaft Zu Sprechen..

  • I liked this one and am glad I never had to serve in a sub during a war

    Greetings from North of the 49th

  • I have a soft spot for WWII movies.
    I thought it was in great camp to have the guys in this movie watching Cary Grant in his submarine movie, Destination Tokyo. :D
    As with so many other JW movies, this one is readily available at our old friends, Deep Discount DVD and Amazon (although it is cheaper at DDD).

    It's been almost four years since we posted this in this thread, but it's still current.
    I watched this one a couple of weeks ago with my son, and my previous post still says it all.
    Plus, drug out the Destination Tokyo movie and watched that too.

    Plus, plus, The prices seem even lower at DDD than last I looked ! :teeth_smile:

    Chester :newyear: