Sunday, October 27, 2013

Movie Review: Mission of the Shark: The Saga of the USS Indianapolis (1991)

This movie makes the story of the USS Indianapolis more real.  It also shows the pressures put upon the captain.  Stacy Keach portrays Captain McVay, Richard Thomas portrays the ship's doctor, David Caruso portrays Captain Wilkes, in charge of the Marines who are guarding the special cargo that the Indianapolis is carrying.  This cargo was the atomic bomb.  The ship arrived safely, and completed their mission.  However in returning they were torpedoed and sunk.  Of the 1200 crew, only about 350 survived.  Many more would have been saved, had there been a quicker response from the Navy in terms of rescue.  Their failure to report was not reported.  They were only discovered randomly by a plane.  Even so there was not much that could be done until help arrived.
One of the most drastic episodes takes place when the Captain talks to the Chaplain as a boat is arriving.  He was taking a turn in the water, as there were not enough life boats for everyone.  The Captain touches him and discovers he is dead, his lower half having been eaten by a shark.
One of the other things that this movie shows is some of the gangish behavior of the crew.  Some had a few supplies of food they hid rather than sharing.  There was also a conflict over who should be in the life boats.  There were a couple of murders shown.  Wilkes was drowned as he tried to maintain some order.  This included trying to keep people from drinking the sea water.
This movie concludes with showing the trial and court-martial of Captain McVay.  Carrie Snodgrass portrays his wife.  The Captain visits the men in the infirmary after they are rescued.  It portrays graphic sunburns and other skin conditions as a result of being in the sun, and their privations over the five days they were in the water.

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