Narrow Escape (1997) (aka: A Thousand Men and a Baby) Richard Thomas, Gerald McRaney, Jonathan Banks, Doris Roberts, Keith MacKechnie, Eve Gordon Movie Review

Narrow Escape (1997)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Jonathan Banks and Richard Thomas in Narrow Escape (1997) (aka: A Thousand Men and a Baby)

A Thousand Men and a Baby

With the war in Korea over the men of the USS Point Cruz are disappointed when they are re-assigned to Inchon Harbour. But whilst there ship's doctor Hugh Keenan (Richard Thomas - The Christmas Box) is taken to meet Sister Philomena (Doris Roberts - A Mom for Christmas) who runs the local orphanage where they have a half American/ half Korean baby who needs treatment. Despite against regulations Captain Hayward (Gerald McRaney - A Hobo's Christmas) orders that the baby be brought aboard partly to lift the men's moral but also because no Korean nurse will care for a half American baby. With the men's moral lifted they decide the right thing to do is to try and bring the baby, that they name Danny, back to America, but it is easier said than done with issues over getting a passport and visa for the baby. And it also provides a difficulty for Dr Keenan who he and his wife have had heart break in the baby department.

That synopsis belongs to "Narrow Escape" which is also known as the humorously titled "A Thousand Men and a Baby" and whilst it sounds far fetched it is in fact based on a true story. It is a remarkable story which not only highlights the issues in Korea over half-American babies following the Korean war but also highlights the compassionate endeavours of a group of men who for no reason felt a need to do something for a baby who belonged to none of them but felt like he belonged to all of them.

Gerald McRaney in Narrow Escape (1997) (aka: A Thousand Men and a Baby)

Now to be honest there isn't a great deal to say about "Narrow Escape" as it runs through the ups and downs of the true story with a bit of poetic licence used to make it work as a movie. As such we see how a Korean official refuses to issue a passport so instead they had to win one in a poker game, yes that is based on fact, and then issues with Visas and other things. All of which befitting of what seems a comical story is done in a mostly light hearted manner with stereotypes from a mischievous Father to a Sister with a fondness for a tipple.

But at the same time, whilst being obvious, "Narrow Escape" also delivers the drama from a soldier being killed on a land mine to the issues between Dr. Keenan and his wife over Danny as regulations prevent him from adopting. We also see how many of the men risked their careers for baby Danny including Captain Hayward who finds himself breaking the rules.

A huge reason why despite being less that subtle and obvious "Narrow Escape" works is thanks to a well chosen cast. None of the characters are really that well written but Richard Thomas, Gerald McRaney, Jonathan Banks and Doris Roberts are all likeable and often fun in their parts and that makes the difference from being unsubtle and being cheesy.

What this all boils down to is that "Narrow Escape" is a charming and fun little movie which tells a touching story in a light hearted, sympathetic manner.