Man from Frisco


1h 31m 1944

Brief Synopsis

Matt Braddock (a fictional version of real-life Henry Kaiser) is an engineer with revolutionary ideas for shipbuilding. When he tries to set up yards for prefabricating ships on the West Coast, he runs up against a rival builder, Joel Kennedy. Kennedy's son Russ idolizes Matt, but Russ's sister Diana thinks Matt is a hopeless idealist who could ruin her father.

Film Details

Also Known As
Man from Brooklyn, Victory Fleet, Victory Ships
Release Date
Jul 1, 1944
Premiere Information
World premieres in San Francisco, Oakland and Richmond, CA: 18 May 1944; Los Angeles opening: 19 May 1944; New York opening: 16 Jun 1944
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Oakland, California, United States; Richmond, California, United States; San Francisco, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 31m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,106ft (10 reels)

Synopsis

In late 1941, Joel Kennedy, the longtime managing director of the Point Pleasant drydock and shipbuilding company in California, is distraught to learn that the Maritime Commission has given a contract to Matt Braddock. Matt, who has successfully built bridges, roads, buildings and other structures, has never worked in a shipyard before, but believes that by using prefabricated pieces and welding them instead of using rivets, the yard can quickly manufacture structurally sound ships. Kennedy's daughter Diana and his right-hand man, Jim Benson, are also opposed to Matt's seemingly radical ideas, but his son Russell, a high school student, is thrilled by the new technology and is eager to learn from Matt. When Matt arrives with his assistant, Johnny Rogers, everyone in the town gives him the cold shoulder, and he is upset to learn that only one worker has been assigned to fill in the swamp land he has designated to be used for new shipways. Matt's insistence on putting all the workers onto the shipways project further alienates Kennedy, who quits, but when Russ impresses on his father how much their country needs them, Kennedy has Jim instruct the reluctant workers to follow Matt's orders. Matt faces another obstacle, however, when the city council refuses to provide housing for the additional thousand workers that he has employed. The workers eventually wind up in a trailer camp, and when the townsfolk learn of the attack on Pearl Harbor, everyone forgets their differences and pitches in to build Matt's prefab ships. Kennedy and Jim are still skeptical of Matt's plan to assemble a ship's superstructure separately and then lift the 180-ton structure onto the ship's hull, but Matt insists that it can be done in time to meet the deadline for their first ship. One night, Jim sees Diana, to whom he is engaged, share a passionate kiss with Matt, and is so angry that he does not review a crucial welding plan for the superstructure. As a result of Jim's oversight, of which Matt is unaware, the superstructure collapses as it is being lifted onto the hull and Russ is crushed by the falling debris. In the hospital, the dying Russ encourages Matt to continue with his work, but Matt, overcome by grief and believing himself to be responsible for Russ's death, plans to leave town and asks Kennedy to reassume control of the shipyard. When Jim overhears Matt and Kennedy's discussion, however, he realizes that he was responsible for the welding error and confesses his mistake to Kennedy. Now realizing that Matt's plan is feasible, Kennedy and Jim organize the workers and quickly assemble another superstructure. Diana meets Matt at the train station as he is about to leave and persuades him to return to the shipyard with her. There, they witness the successful launch of the first ship, which Mrs. Kennedy christens the Russell Kennedy . Later, Matt has received orders to start prefabricated shipyards throughout the country, and Diana, with whom he is in love, agrees to accompany him on his patriotic mission.

Cast

Michael O'shea

Matt Braddock

Anne Shirley

Diana Kennedy

Gene Lockhart

Joel Kennedy

Dan Duryea

Jim Benson

Stephanie Bachelor

Ruth Warnecke

Ray Walker

Johnny Rogers

Tommy Bond

Russell Kennedy

Robert Warwick

Bruce McRae

Olin Howlin

Eben Whelock

Ann Shoemaker

Martha Kennedy

Russell Simpson

Dr. Hershey

Stanley Andrews

Chief Campbell

Forbes Andrews

Maritime commissioner

Erville Alderson

Judge Harry McLain

Michael Barnitz

Joe Warnecke, Jr.

Charles Wilson

Key man

Ed Peil Sr.

Key man

Willaim Nestell

Key man

Roy Barcroft

Key man

Martin Garralaga

José

Ira "buck" Woods

Black worker

Charles Sullivan

Irishman

William Haade

Brooklyn

Sid Gould

The Russian

Tom London

Old salt

George Cleveland

Mayor Sam Winter

Nolan Leary

Workman

Hal Price

Workman

Jack Low

Workman

Harry Tenbrook

Workman

Dick Alexander

Workman

Sam Bernard

Workman

Lee Shumway

Workman

George Lloyd

Workman

Kelly Flint

Woman worker

Judy Cook

Woman worker

Eddy Waller

Older workman

Tom Chatterton

Doctor

Minerva Urecal

Widow Allison

Effie Laird

Mrs. Hanson

Frank Moran

Mr. Hanson

Gino Corrado

Tony D'Agostino

Norman Nesbitt

Announcer

Chester Conklin

Baggage man

Rosina Galli

Mrs. Palaski

George Neise

Narrator

Monte Montana

Montana

Frank Marlowe

Tough guy

Ben Taggart

Superintendent

Patricia Knox

Woman welder

Roy Brent

Bentley

Grace Lenard

Wife in trailer

Weldon Heyburn

Husband in trailer

Sam Flint

Chief of police

Jimmy Conlin

Mayor's secretary

Wedgewood Nowell

Councilman

J. C. Fowler

Councilman

Victor Travers

Councilman

Art Howard

Councilman

Helen Dickson

Club woman

Harrison Greene

Politician

John Sheehan

Gang boss

John Hamilton

Governor

Larry Williams

Sam

Kenne Duncan

Foreman

Jack Kirk

Foreman

Jack Gardner

Rex Lease

Virginia Carroll

Roy Darmour

Marjorie Kane

Bud Geary

Maxine Doyle

Film Details

Also Known As
Man from Brooklyn, Victory Fleet, Victory Ships
Release Date
Jul 1, 1944
Premiere Information
World premieres in San Francisco, Oakland and Richmond, CA: 18 May 1944; Los Angeles opening: 19 May 1944; New York opening: 16 Jun 1944
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Oakland, California, United States; Richmond, California, United States; San Francisco, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 31m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,106ft (10 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working titles of this film were Man from Brooklyn, Victory Fleet and Victory Ships. The picture was loosely based on the career of Henry Kaiser (1882-1967), an enormously influential civil engineer whose revolutionary methods of prefabricated shipbuilding during World War II greatly aided the United States war effort. Later in his career, Kaiser founded Kaiser Permanente, the first health maintenance organization in the United States. Although a December 7, 1942 Hollywood Reporter news item announced that "Kaiser will be the central character while the background will be the gigantic Kaiser shipyards," the lead character and shipyards were fictionalized. Kaiser did give his full support to the production, in which more than 100,000 of his workers appeared in atmospheric shots, according to Hollywood Reporter. Portions of the film were shot on location at the Kaiser shipyards in Richmond, CA, in addition to other locations in Oakland and San Francisco, and the picture contains much footage of actual shipbuilding procedures. Technical advisor Robert Pearson was Kaiser's press representative. Reviews generally praised the idea of the film, but commented negatively on its routine plot. The Hollywood Reporter reviewer termed the picture "disappointing" due to its "melodramatic Hollywood treatment," despite the fact that it contained "numerous absorbing shots of the great shipyards at Richmond, Calif., and along the line a fund of extremely interesting information is given concerning the high speed operation and how they evolved." Actor Michael O'Shea was originally borrowed from Hunt Stromberg's company for the production, although he was under contract to Twentieth Century-Fox by the time filming began. According to a modern source, director Robert Florey also helmed a short subject about Kaiser.