After a brief leave in Shanghai, where the sailors are allowed to indulge in plenty of woman and booze, the crew of a U.S. Navy submarine are called back into duty. Attempting to beat the rough weather ahead, the sub collides with another ship, with the submarine beginning to take in water as a result. With water rising and lack of oxygen, the crew begins to wonder if they can survive this accident as tensions begin to rise among the crew. Men Without Women is a story of survival and men having to come face to face with their own mortality. Men Without Women is an early effort by the legendary filmmaker that was made in the early days of the sound era. As a film, Men Without Women is far from a noteworthy effort by Ford but given the era in which it was made, it provides an interesting look into film history. Much of the film still relies heavily on silent passages with intertitles but there sporadic talking sequences featured throughout the film's running time. The choices Ford makes in when to go to talking segments gives the viewer insight into the director's mindset, often using talking scenes to help ratchet up tension or to make a poignant point about the crew's mental-state. The problem though is it doesn't always seem by to be Ford's choices, as the switching between talking and silent does come off quite uneven and even bizarrely out of place at times. John Ford's Men Without Women is not a bad film by any means as Ford manages the growing tension and uncertainty quite well but the way it captures the era in-between silent and talking pictures is what makes this film worth watching for fans of film.
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