Mister Roberts (1955 film)

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Mister Roberts is a 1955 film, set in the waning days of World War II, in which the United States Navy cargo ship Reluctant and her crew are stationed in the "backwater" areas of the Pacific Ocean. Trouble ensues when the crew members are granted liberty.

Directed by John Ford, Mervyn LeRoy, and Joshua Logan (uncredited). Written by Frank S. Nugent and Joshua Logan, based on the 1946 novel by Thomas Heggen and the 1948 play by Heggen and Joshua Logan.
The Six-Year Stage Smash on the Screen!

Lieutenant, junior grade Douglas A. "Doug" Roberts[edit]

  • [to Lieutenant "Doc"] Then I looked down from our bridge and saw our captain's palm tree. Our trophy for superior achievement! The Admiral John J. Finchley award for delivering more toothpaste and toilet paper than any other Navy cargo ship in the safe area of the Pacific.

Ensign Frank Thurlowe Pulver[edit]

  • [reading Lieutenant, junior grade Douglas A. "Doug" Roberts's letter] "I've been aboard this destroyer for two weeks now, and we've already been through four air attacks. I'm in the war at last, Doc! I've caught up with that task force that passed me by. I'm glad to be here. I had to be here, I guess. But I'm thinking now of you, Doc, and you, Frank, and Dolan, and Dowdy, and Insigna, and everyone else on that bucket. All the guys everywhere who sail from tedium to apathy and back again, with an occasional side trip to monotony. This is a tough crew on here, and they have a wonderful battle record. But I've discovered, Doc, that the unseen enemy of this war is the boredom that eventually becomes a faith and, therefore, a terrible sort of suicide. And I know now that the ones who refused to surrender to it are the strongest of all. Right now, I'm looking at something that's hanging over my desk. A preposterous hunk of brass attached to the most bilious piece of ribbon I've ever seen. I'd rather have it than the Congressional Medal of Honor. It tells me what I'll always be proudest of: that at a time in the world when courage counted most, I lived among 62 brave men.
  • [to Lieutenant Commander Morton] Captain, it is I, Ensign Pulver, and I just threw your stinkin' palm tree overboard! Now what's this crud about no movie tonight?

Lieutenant Commander Morton[edit]

  • [on the loudspeaker in reference to his missing palm tree] All right, who did it? Who did it? You are going to stand sweating at those battle stations until someone confesses! It's an insult to the honor of this ship! The symbol of our cargo record has been destroyed, and I'm going to find out who did if it takes all night!


Lieutenant, junior grade Douglas A. "Doug" Roberts: Doc, that new hospital hasn't got nurses, has it?
Lieutenant "Doc": It didn't have yesterday.
Ensign Frank Thurlowe Pulver: It has today.
Lieutenant "Doc": And how did you find out they were there?
Ensign Frank Thurlowe Pulver: Just came to me all of a sudden. I was lying in my bunk here this morning, um, thinking. And there wasn't a breath of air. And all of a sudden, a funny thing happened. A little breeze came up, and I took a big, deep breath, and I said to myself, "Pulver, boy, there's women on that island!"

Lieutenant, junior grade Douglas A. "Doug" Roberts: Frank, I like you. There's no getting around the fact that you're a real likable guy.
Ensign Frank Thurlowe Pulver: Yeah? Yeah!
Lieutenant, junior grade Douglas A. "Doug" Roberts: But...
Ensign Frank Thurlowe Pulver: But what?
Lieutenant, junior grade Douglas A. "Doug" Roberts: Well, I also think you're the most hapless, lazy, disorganized, and in general, the most lecherous person I've ever known in my life.
Ensign Frank Thurlowe Pulver: I am not!
Lieutenant, junior grade Douglas A. "Doug" Roberts: You're not what?
Ensign Frank Thurlowe Pulver: I'm not disorganized, for one thing!
Lieutenant, junior grade Douglas A. "Doug" Roberts: Have you ever in your life finished one thing you started out to do? You sleep 16 hours a day. You pretend you want me to improve your mind. You've never finished one book I've given you to read.
Ensign Frank Thurlowe Pulver: I finished God's Little Acre, Doug boy!
Lieutenant, junior grade Douglas A. "Doug" Roberts: I didn't give you that. [to Lieutenant "Doc"] He's been reading God's Little Acre for over a year now. He's underlined every erotic passage and added exclamation points. And after a certain pornographic climax, he's inserted the words "well written".

Lieutenant, junior grade Douglas A. "Doug" Roberts: Doc, he lies in his sack all day long, bores me silly with great, moronic plots against the captain. He's never carried out one of them.
Ensign Frank Thurlowe Pulver: I haven't, huh?
Lieutenant, junior grade Douglas A. "Doug" Roberts: No, Frank, you haven't. Whatever happened to those marbles you were gonna put in the captain's overhead so they'd roll around all night and keep him awake?
Ensign Frank Thurlowe Pulver: Now you've gone too far. Now you've asked for it. [He pulls out a box.] What does that look like? Five marbles. Got another one in my pocket. Six marbles. I'm looking for marbles all day long!

Lieutenant, junior grade Douglas A. "Doug" Roberts: We've got nothing to do with the war. Maybe that's why we're on this ship, 'cause we're not good enough to fight. 'Cause our glands don't secrete enough adrenaline or our great-great-grandmothers were afraid of the dark or something.
Lieutenant "Doc": What is it you want to be, Doug, a hero?
Lieutenant, junior grade Douglas A. "Doug" Roberts: Hero? Doc, you haven't heard a word I've said. Look, Doc, the war's way out there, and I'm here. Well, I don't want to be here, I wanna be out there. I'm sick and tired of being a lousy spectator.

Lieutenant "Doc": That's mostly what makes physical heroism. Opportunity. It's a reflex. I think 75 out of a hundred young males have that reflex. You take any one of them. Say even Frank Thurlowe Pulver, here. Put him into a B-29 over Japan, and you know what you'd have?
Lieutenant, junior grade Douglas A. "Doug" Roberts: No, I don't, Doctor.
Lieutenant "Doc": You'd have Pulver, the Congressional Medal of Honor winner. Pulver who, single-handed, shot down 23 attacking Zeros. Pulver who, with his bare hands, held together the severed wing struts of his plane and, with his bare feet, successfully landed his mortally wounded plane on his home field. Reflex. It's like the knee jerk. Strike the patella tendon in any human being, you produce the knee jerk. Look. [He hits Ensign Frank Thurlowe Pulver in the knee, and nothing happens.]
Ensign Frank Thurlowe Pulver: What's the matter, Doc?
Lieutenant "Doc": Nothing, but, uh, stay out of B-29s, Frank, my boy.

Lieutenant, junior grade Douglas A. "Doug" Roberts: Captain, you told me...
Lieutenant Commander Morton: Never mind what I told you. I'm telling you.

Lieutenant, junior grade Douglas A. "Doug" Roberts: How did you get in the Navy? How did you get on our side? Ah, you ignorant, arrogant, ambitious... keeping 62 men in prison, 'cause you got a palm tree for the work they did. I don't know which I hate worse, you or that other malignant growth that stands outside the door.
Lieutenant Commander Morton: Why, you stinking little...!
Lieutenant, junior grade Douglas A. "Doug" Roberts: How did you ever get command of a ship? I realize in wartime they have to scrape the bottom of the barrel, but where did they ever scrape you up?
Lieutenant Commander Morton: There's just one thing left for you, Mister. A general court martial!
Lieutenant, junior grade Douglas A. "Doug" Roberts: That suits me fine, court martial me!
Lieutenant Commander Morton: You've got it!
Lieutenant, junior grade Douglas A. "Doug" Roberts: I'm asking for it! If I can't get transferred, I'll get court martialed off! I'm fed up! But you'll need a witness. Call your messenger. I'll say it all over again in front of him. Go on, call him. You want me to call him?
Lieutenant Commander Morton: No. You're a smart boy, Roberts. But I know how to take care of smart boys. I hate your guts, you smart college guys! I've been seeing your kind around since I was 10 years old, working as a busboy. "Oh, busboy, it seems my friend has thrown up on the table. Clean up that mess, boy, will'ya?" And then when I went to sea as a steward, people poking at you with umbrellas. "Oh, boy! You, boy! Careful with that luggage, boy!" And I took it. I took it for years! But I don't have to take it anymore. There's a war on, and I'm captain of this vessel, and now you can take it for a change! The worst thing I can do to you is to keep you right here, Mister, and here is where you're going to stay. Now, get out!

Shore Patrol Officer: A little while ago, six men from your ship broke into the home of the French colonial governor. Started throwing things through a plate glass living room window. We found some of the things on the lawn. Large world globe. Small love seat. A lot of books. A bust of Balzac. The French writer? We also found an army private, first class, who was unconscious at the time. He claims they through him, too.
Lieutenant, junior grade Douglas A. "Doug" Roberts: Through the window?
Shore Patrol Officer: That's right. It seems he took 'em there for a little joke. He didn't tell 'em it was the governor's house. He told 'em it was uh...well, what we call in Alabama...
Lieutenant, junior grade Douglas A. "Doug" Roberts: Yeah, we call it the same thing in Nebraska.
Shore Patrol Officer: Well, that's about all, Lieutenant. If it makes you feel any better, Admiral Wentworth says this is the worse ship he's ever seen in his entire naval career.

Schlemmer crashes his police motorcycle off the end of the dock.
Chief Boatswain's Mate Dowdy: Schlemmer! Schlemmer, you alright?
Schlemmer: Yeah.
"Chief Boatswain's Mate Dowdy': Get up here, you idiot! What're you tryin' to do? Get up here!
Schlemmer: I forgot my motorcycle!
Chief Boatswain's Mate Dowdy: Come back here, Schlemmer! [Schlemmer jumps back into the water.]

[Angered over Morton's cancelling the movie and the death of Roberts, Pulver finally snaps. He runs upstairs and yanks the chain, effectively breaking it. Pulver takes the replacement palm tree over the chain rails and throws it overboard, much to the pleasure of the crew. He walks inside and knocks on Morton's door loudly, to the annoyance of the latter as he's reading a comic book.]
Lieutenant Commander Morton: Yes, who is it?
Ensign Frank Thurlowe Pulver: Captain, it is I, Ensign Pulver, and I just threw your stinking palm tree overboard.
[This gets Morton's attention as he puts town the comic book and faces Pulver.]
Ensign Frank Thurlowe Pulver: Now what's all this crud about no movie tonight?!
[Pulver takes his position and Morton could only turn away in humiliation as he realizes that though Roberts is gone, his problems will never go away.]


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