Movie Diary 2/26/2020

Mister Roberts (John Ford and Mervyn LeRoy, 1955). A childhood mainstay, much of it known by heart. A little too much horseplay, but what a cast: Lemmon-as-Pulver is indelible, of course, but I had forgotten how great Cagney is. Fonda being too old for the role makes his presence even more remote and impossible somehow, even more a singular man among boys. The shots of the sea from the ship and the islands around are dreamy. The final stanza is among the most memorable of any movie I saw at a tender age, and I’m sorry if I’ve ever forgotten that stinking palm tree for very long.