PT 109 cannot possibly have as much of an impact on modern audiences as it did when released in 1963, five months before the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Clearly, having a personal connection to the Kennedy era -- whether positive or negative -- will make PT more meaningful. But looking at it objectively, PT is a moderately entertaining war picture, albeit an overlong one. At some two hours and twenty minutes, it tends to drag and gets repetitive; one wishes director Leslie Martinson had cut it down by half an hour or so. The character of Kennedy is also painted a bit too positively and as a bit too much of a take charge hero, although this is something that is often a problem with films of this sort. One of the screenplay's plusses, however, is its concentration on the minor but still deadly activities that were undertaken by thousands of men during World War II. Not everyone was involved with the major assaults; many spent their time risking their lives in places and situations of which most people are totally unaware, and it's a nice change of pace to see this aspect of the war dramatized. Cliff Robertson does well as Kennedy, wisely eschewing a Boston accent, and he gets good support from James Gregory, Ty Hardin and a bunch of ffaces soon to be familiar to TV viewers.
by Craig Butler review