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Away All Boats

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 Sanborn. 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. 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.

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

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.


Jeff Chandler - Capt. Jebediah S. Hawks
George Nader - Lt. Dave MacDougall
Lex Barker - Commander Quigley
Julie Adams - Nadine MacDougall
Keith Andes - Doctor Bell
Richard Boone - Lieut. Fraser
William Reynolds - Ensign Kruger
Charles McGraw - Lieut. Mike O'Bannion
Jock Mahoney - Alvick
John McIntire - Old Man / Film Intro Voice-over
Frank Faylen - Chief Phillip P. 'Pappy' Moran
James Westerfield - 'Boats' Torgeson
Don Keefer - Ensign Twitchell
Kendall Clark - Lieut. Jackson
George Dunn - Hubert


Release Date: 16 August 1956 (USA)
Showing all 3 filming locations:
U.S. Virgin Islands
San Diego, California, USA (San Diego Naval Base)
Universal Studios - 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California, USA (back lot)

run time: 110 minutes

Under Section 107 of The Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

above notes from All Boats_(film)
poster image: same
movie: DAV FL 70 Webmaster private collection

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