Darryl F. Zanuck's production about a playboy who joins the Marines and discovers selfless valor. John Payne and Maureen O'Hara star.
If it weren't so clearly a product of the precise moment when the U.S. had just suffered the Japanese sneak attacks of December 1941, To the Shores of Tripoli
might easily be mistaken for the definitive parody of World War II Hollywood jingoism by a latter-day satirical troupe--say, the SCTV
gang. Smartass child of privilege John Payne is sent to Marine boot camp to learn about responsibility and being a team player. Although shot on location at San Diego, the sunny Technicolor training exercises look more like a musical-comedy summer stock company working out. Drillmaster Randolph Scott and fiery-haired nurse Maureen O'Hara love Payne in spite of his myriad obnoxious qualities, and he does have the right stuff, as he demonstrates at the drop of a hat--and the rest of his civilian clothes--the minute he hears about Pearl Harbor over the radio. The finale, a troopship embarkation turned full-scale production number, has to be seen to be disbelieved. --Richard T. Jameson