On February 18, 1952, it was frigid in the town of Chatham, Massachusetts. It was the kind of cold that makes your teeth hurt every time you take a breath. Besides that fact that it was bone-chillingly cold, there were also white-out conditions all throughout New England and in the northern Atlantic. The storm that brought these conditions, a nor’easter, caused forty-two fatalities, which included many of those aboard the Pendleton and the Fort Mercer. Both of these ships were snapped in half due to the turbulent waters, and both were stranded in the sea.
Disney’s The Finest Hours exhibits this tale in an interesting and exciting way. Although the movie only focuses on the actions of the crew of the Coast Guard vessel CG 36500, it wasn’t devoid of any necessary details or interesting material. With the addition of the subplot involving the fiancee of the commanding officer of the CG 36500, the movie was chock full of exciting and funny moments. One especially enthralling scene was when the Guardsmen had to cross the treacherous Chatham Sandbar.
There wasn’t anything especially bad about the movie. A more in-depth look at the situation aboard the Fort Mercer would’ve been interesting, seeing as the situation there was also disastrous and exciting (Side note: while the Pendleton’s bow and stern were sunk off the coast of Cape Cod, the stern of the Fort Mercer was reused, and became half of another ship, the San Jacinto. The Fort Mercer half apparently brought bad luck with it, because the San Jacinto broke in half due to an explosion in 1965.)
For a list of theaters and showtimes for The Finest Hours click here.