Away All Boats

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Away All Boats
Original film poster by Reynold Brown
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Produced by Howard Christie
Written by Ted Sherdeman
Based on novel by Kenneth M. Dodson
Starring Jeff Chandler
George Nader
Lex Barker
Julie Adams
Music by Frank Skinner
Heinz Roemheld
Cinematography William H. Daniels
in Technicolor and VistaVision
Edited by Ted J. Kent
Distributed by Universal-International
Release dates
August 16, 1956
Running time
114 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $3.5 million (US)[1]

Away All Boats is a 1956 American war film produced by Universal-International. It was directed by Joseph Pevney and produced by Howard Christie from a screenplay by Ted Sherdeman based on the 1953 novel by Kenneth M. Dodson.

Dodson (1907–1999) served on the USS Pierce (APA 50) in World War II and used his experiences there as a guide for his novel. He was encouraged in his writing by Carl Sandburg, who had read some of Dodson’s letters written from the Pacific.

The film stars Jeff Chandler, George Nader, Lex Barker, Julie Adams, Keith Andes, Charles McGraw, and Richard Boone.


The film is about the crew of the Belinda (APA-22), a fictional amphibious attack transport. The movie was filmed aboard the USS Randall (APA 224).[2] It is most notable for its realistic and terrifying depictions of Japanese kamikaze attacks on U.S. Navy ships during the last year of World War II in the Pacific Theatre.

Universal received the full cooperation of the U.S. Navy, including an opportunity to photograph maneuvers and mock attacks in March 1955 in the Caribbean and on Vieques.[3] The Navy also granted a two-week leave of absence for Ralph Scalzo, a landing boat coxswain, who was needed for added closeup shots.

The first choice for Chandler's role was Clark Gable who turned the film down.

Away All Boats is one of the few films made in VistaVision at a studio other than Paramount. The film made use of the Perspecta stereo process for its soundtrack.

Clint Eastwood's role is a brief speaking one (with one line of dialog spoken by another actor), as a Navy Medical Corpsman assisting the ship's captain after he is severely wounded while trying to save his ship.

A review in the New York Times by Bosley Crowther found the early scenes in the movie confusing, particularly the motivation of the characters played by Jeff Chandler (Captain Jebediah Hawks) and Lex Barker (Commander Quigley). He also found the movie an efficient service film in which “all the confusions are adjusted and everybody comes out a hero in the end”.

The script, script revisions, and status reports dealing with the Department of Defense Film and Television liaison office is kept in the Georgetown University Library Department of Defense Film Collection.

Media releases[edit]

NBC made a color documentary about the making of the movie.

A record with some of Frank Skinner’s music from the movie was released by Decca Records in May 1956. Participants included Al Hibbler (who sang a theme from the film score) and an orchestra conducted by Jack Pleis. Decca released this on 78 rpm 29950 and 45 rpm 9-29950.

MCA Home Video released a VHS version in HiFi sound in 1986. Good Times Video released a VHS version in LP on March 2, 1998.

Good Times Video released a DVD on May 1, 2001. This was in full-screen rather than the VistaVision widescreen and may have been a copy of the earlier Good Times VHS release.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1956', Variety Weekly, January 2, 1957
  2. ^ Mooney, James L., editor, "The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Volume IV', Naval History Division, Department of the Navy, Washington, D.C., 1976, Library of Congress card number 60-60198, page 304.
  3. ^
  • Dodson, Kenneth. Away All Boats, Little, Brown and Company, December 1953.
  • Crowther, Bosley. “Screen: Away All Boats”, New York Times, August 17, 1956, p. 14.
  • Shenk, Robert; “Away All Boats” in Jill B. Gidmark. Encyclopedia of American Literature of the Sea and Great Lakes. p. 26, Greenwood, 2001. (A description of the novel on which the movie was based).

External links[edit]