Flagwaving story of a new American destroyer, the JOHN PAUL JONES, from the day her keel is laid, to what was very nearly her last voyage. Among the crew, is Steve Boleslavski, a shipyard welder that helped build her, who reenlists, with his old rank of Chief bosuns mate. After failing her sea trials, she is assigned to the mail run, until caught up in a disparate battle with a Japanese sub. After getting torpedoed, and on the verge of sinking, the Captain, and crew hatch a plan to try and save the ship, and destroy the sub.
It's really just a bit of wartime propaganda this - extolling the sterling efforts of the US Navy destroyer. From the build, through it's launch and maritime trials, this film follows "Boley" (Edward G. Robinson) who served on the last "USS John Paul Jones" and is determined to serve on this one. That determination causes upset with the younger "Donohue" (Glenn Ford) who is bumped of that gig - and the two men just don't get along. "Donohue" takes up with the older man's daughter "Mary" (Marguerite Chapman) and that just adds to their tensions. At sea - where this film spends nowhere near enough time - the ship has more than a few teething problems and the crew start to think more of "Boley" as a Jonah. Of course, it can't end that way - we know that the first half hour is merely a preamble to some rousing sea action from their beleaguered vessel. Were it to have been more of an adventure film, then I would probably have enjoyed it better, but it's really not much of anything. Ford doesn't impose himself at all, and though Robinson has a pugnacity to his character, the message just sort of gets lost in the weakly directed and written delivery. Fair-to-middling.