PT 109 (1963)
“”The Story you wouldn’t believe happened…but it did!””
Director: Leslie H. Martinson
Cast: Cliff Robertson, Robert Culp, Ty Hardin
Synopsis: Dramatisation of President John F. Kennedy’s war time experiences during which he captained a PT boat, took it to battle and had it sunk by a Japanese destroyer.
If his unscheduled and tragic assassination hadn’t already elevated John F. Kennedy to near God-like status today, the movie PT 109 would have gone some way towards doing the job. Cliff Robertson makes little attempt to capture the characteristics of the man; forbidden, apparently, from aping the President’s Boston accent, it seems there was little he could do other than colour his hair and part it on the right the way that Kennedy did. He keeps his head very still, and wears a soft, semi-permanent smile beneath a gentle, unwavering gaze while those around him are buckling under the pressure. The writers give him no flaws other than an unfortunate accident which is treated with light humour. As a WWII adventure story, PT109 is passable, but as a biopic of a real man it doesn’t really ring true. Five years later, a movie like this would probably never have been green-lighted.
(Reviewed 17th April 2012)