The Story of Dr. Wassell (1944)


This film presents a dramatization of the wartime heroics of naval doctor Corydon M. Wassell, who is stationed in the East Indies during a Japanese attack on the USS Marblehead. After the less seriously wounded soldiers are evacuated to Australia, Wassell stays in Java to save those left behind. As the Japanese advance, he risks his life and defies orders in an attempt to rescue as many as possible. His actions are later recognized in a radio address given by President Roosevelt.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille.
Stars: Gary Cooper, Laraine Day, Signe Hasso, Dennis O’Keefe, Carol Thurston, Carl Esmond, Paul Kelly, Elliott Reid, Stanley Ridges, Renny McEvoy, Oliver Thorndike, Philip Ahn, Barbara Britton.

1945 Academy Awards – Nominated for an Oscar for Best Special Effects (Farciot Edouart/Gordon Jennings/George Dutton).


The Story of Dr. Wassell (1944)

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One Comment

  1. LG
    September 25, 2019

    This is a real gem and, along with The Plainsman, it may be DeMille’s best film. With the exception of a few shots, it’s set bound but that doesn’t seem to keep it from feeling like an epic. Yes, some of the characters are silly and stereotypes but even that doesn’t defeat the film’s charms. It’s a flag-waver but never feels jingoist or overdone. Instead, from it’s amazing opening, through Three Martini’s dance, and set-pieces like the strafing of the ship, I found myself getting more and more into the lives of these people and their situation.

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