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Father Goose
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Father Goose

Description
It's 1942, and the war in the Pacific is not going well for the Allies. At the moment, the Australians are evacuating the island of Salamaua, taking what they can and destroying the rest. In all the confusion, scruffy beachcomber Walter Eckland (Cary Grant) arrives, ties his launch to the pier and begins helping himself to cans of His Majesty's Royal Navy petrol. A young officer, Stebbings (Jack Good), spots him and indignantly asks what he's doing. Walter pauses long enough to look at Stebbings, and say, incredulously, 'Do you know who I am?' Taken aback, Stebbings admits, 'Well, no, I don't.' 'Well...we'll let it go this time,' says Walter, magnanimously, and resumes stacking cans by his boat. In the harbormaster's office, Commander Frank Houghton (Trevor Howard) is talking on the radio to the admiral, reassuring him that everything will go as planned. Stebbings bursts in, and tries to ask Frank if he knows the cheeky Yank at the far end of the pier. Frank motions him to hush, then tells the admiral that yes, all the coast watcher positions have been assigned...all except for Matalava. But at that moment, Frank catches sight of Walter and his face brightens. He tells the admiral he has found his man for Matalava. As they walk down the pier, Frank tells Stebbings that Walter is a hard-drinking drop-out from civilization, but he knows the islands like the back of his hand and is as sharp as they come. Frank and Walter greet each other in a way that suggests they share a certain amount of history. Frank explains the coast watching service to Walter, and asks him to go Matalava, just for a while...until they can find someone permanent. Walter cheerfully refuses. Frank immediately turns to Stebbings and orders him to confiscate all the small boats on the pier (although Walter's is obviously the only one). At first Walter protests, but he soon realizes Frank will indeed follow through on the order, so he cheerfully agrees to go to Matalava. Frank is not fooled. In the next scene, Walter arrives at Matalava...escorted by a Class B RAN motor launch, with Frank and Stebbings overseeing Walter's progress from the bridge. As sailors transport Walter's supplies to the island, Stebbings asks Frank what's to prevent Walter from sailing out again the moment they leave. Frank chides Stebbings for having so little faith in his fellow man...and orders him to get underway by turning hard a-port. Stebbings starts to obey, then stops, uncertain...he asks Frank to confirm the order, then he nods happily, and orders the coxswain to turn hard a-port. As the launch turns, it tears a big, ragged hole in Walter's hull just above the waterline.
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