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.
1955 - Academy Awards - Best Supporting Actor Winner
Franz Waxman - Film composer
Jack Lemmon - American Actor, SOME LIKE IT HOT
John Uhler Lemmon III - American Actor, SOME LIKE IT HOT
William Henry - American Child Actor
James Cagney - Oscar-winning actor, THE PUBLIC ENEMY (1931)
Jimmy Cagney - Oscar-winning actor, THE PUBLIC ENEMY (1931)
Frank S. Nugent - American Screenwriter, THE QUIET MAN (1952)
Frank Nugent - American Screenwriter, THE QUIET MAN (1952)
Leland Hayward - Stage Producer/Agent
Betsy Palmer - American Actress
Frank Aletter - Supporting Actor\1950s
Ward Bond - American Character Actor
Harry Carey Jr. - American actor, 3 GODFATHERS/THE UNDEFEATED
Mervyn LeRoy - American Director/Producer
Henry Fonda - Oscar winning actor, ON GOLDEN POND
Heny Jaynes Fonda - Oscar winning actor, ON GOLDEN POND
Ken Curtis - American Actor
Joshua Logan - American Director/Playwright
Jack Murray - Editor
Art Loell - Art Director\1950s-1960s
Winton C. Hoch
John Ford - American Director, THE SEARCHERS (1956)
Sean Aloysius O'Feeney - American Director, THE SEARCHERS (1956)
Fritz Ford - Supporting actor
Harry Tenbrook - Supporting Actor\1950s
Nick Adams - American actor, THE REBEL/FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS...
William Hudson - American Actor/40s-50s
William L. Kuehl - Set Decorator\1950s-1960s
Moss Mabry - Costume Designer, MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (1962)
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.
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.