Ronald Reagan (Comdr. Casey Abbott), Nancy Davis (Helen Blair), Arthur Franz (Lt. Comdr. Don Landon), Rob¬ert Arthur (Freddy Warren), William Leslie (Lt. Paul Pren¬tice), William Phillips (Carroll). Harry Lauter (Wes Barton).
Joseph Turkel (Chick), Michael Garth (Charlie), Don Keefer (Jug), Selmer Jackson (Adm. Nimitz), Maurice Manson (Adm. Lockwood).
After two terms of Ronald and Nancy Reagan (nee Nancy Davis) in the White House, it's nearly impossible to judge this film—their only costarring vehicle—with any kind of objectivity, no matter what your politics. Suffice to say that recent history has made this mundane B-picture a genuine Hollywood oddity and an inadvertent camp favorite. Reagan plays the ultraserious Casey Abbott, a WW II sub¬marine commander sent to retrieve Japanese mines so that Navy experts can uncover why they aren't detectable by sonar. During the operation, an enemy ship bears down on Abbott and his crew, forcing the commander to leave frogman Wes Barton (Harry Lauter) behind to save the rest of the crew. Suspicious officer Don Landon (Arthur Franz) thinks Abbott left Barton because the frogman had been chasing after Helen Blair (Nancy Davis), Abbott's former girl friend. Of course, this charge is totally unfounded and Abbott must prove through his own acts of sacrifice and heroism that Landon's allegations are false. Producer Charles H. Schneer and director Nathan Juran are best-known for their collaborations with stop-motion animation wizard Ray Harryhausen (20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH; THE SEVENTH VOYAGE OF SINBAD; THE FIRST MEN IN THE MOON), but some of Juran's lesser works, such as ATTACK OF THE 50 FT WOMAN and THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS, have become campy cult classics over the years. HELLCATS OF THE NAVY falls perfectly into place alongside Juran's other memorably silly work.