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J. Lee Thompson
The conflict between duty and conscience is explored in this WWII drama. Alan Ladd stars as Naval gunnery officer Alec Austin, a Quaker whose sincere pacifist sentiments do not sit well with his crew members. When he refuses to fire upon an unidentified plane, the word spreads that Austin cannot be relied upon in battle (never mind that the plane turns out to be one of ours). Written by
The 'Los Angeles Examiner' reported on 7 July 1957 that US Navy Commander Eldon Edwards commanded the USS 'Stephen Potter' for use in this movie. See more »
The five-inch guns and 20-millimeter antiaircraft guns used by the destroyer were not in use in 1943, when his movie is set. By 1958, every World War II-era destroyer still in service had been upgraded to the new five-inch mounts and radar-controlled 20-mm guns. Only battleships and the Des Moines-class heavy cruisers still sported the old gun mounts because they were put into mothball reserve after World War II and then Korea. See more »
How Many Hearts Have You Broken (with Those Great Big Beautiful Eyes)
Music by Al Kaufman
Played at the Armenian Social Club See more »
This is one of a series of films made by Alan Ladd on the downhill side of his career after he left Paramount. A lot of them were good routine action stuff that had made him so popular in the 1940s. But he was getting older and wouldn't transition into older character parts.
The Deep Six concerns a naval reserve officer who because of his Quaker upbringing freezes in a combat situation. The men on the ship lose confidence in him and his only friend is the CPO on the destroyer, played by William Bendix.
In fact Bendix gives the best performance in the film. Ladd and Bendix did several films together at Paramount in the 1940s and they had a deep friendship and an easy camaraderie that comes through in The Deep Six. Bendix was a cut above a lot of the other character actors at Paramount, whereas he may have been doing character roles at Paramount, from the mid 40s on he was a popular radio and then TV star with his Life of Riley series.
The rest of the cast fills their roles out nicely. James Whitmore, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Dianne Foster, and especially Keenan Wynn as the ship's hardnosed executive officer who is Ladd's chief tormentor. Look for Joey Bishop in a small role as one of the sailors.
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