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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Routine submarine warfare film engaged in the old story of how one
reacts when one is in command. Obviously, when the shoe is on the other
foot, we act accordingly.
Nancy Davis did a poor job here. She was certainly no Jane Wyman. Thank the lord that she just said no to a further movie career and went on her way with her Ronnie and the rest is history!
Reagan is a real commander here. Am surprised he didn't want to cut men in his never ending assault on cuts. O yes, this was the military and he was strong on defense.
No wonder, after seeing this tedious film, that it is said that Jack Warner told Reagan that his career was over. Look what Jack didn't know what was in store for us.
The film itself has some strengths, particularly where the bombs go off. It ably showed that team effort will pay off, especially when the code of discipline is enforced.
The film might have worked better if it were in color and Ann Sheridan was the nurse. That would have made a 15 year reunion between the future president and Ann, after the marvelous King's Row. That was President Reagan at his best in his movie career.
I've seen this film a few times and it makes me cringe......And believe
me I know my sub films!
Ronny is as stiff as a board throughout the film....In fact, he conveys the claustrophobic feeling of being cooped up in a fleet boat during WWII better than any other film does...He's grim and wooden...It's nigh unto impossible to build up any feelings or emotions for anyone in the cast.
Arthur Franz shines - as always, as the exec.......He's the one guy that manages to rise above the banal (make that abysmal) script and Nathan Juran's limp-wristed direction....It's kinda' like "Ed Wood does WWII".....Araggh!
You can see swipes from all over the place.....The scene with the guys swimming underwater with flaming fuel above was lifted from 1943's "Crash Dive" done by Fox!!!! Also the footage from the scene with the jap sub surfacing was actually Dana Andrew's sub from the same film! Neat huh?....Then you take the underwater scenes with the divers wearing 1950's scuba equipment(!) dealing with the japs....Looks like it too was influenced by Fox - this time from 1951's: "The Frogmen"....Ouch!
The few high points in this film stem from good location shots which appear to be off of Long Beach and Palos Verdes Penninsula aren't bad...No doubt shot on an old Gato class sub that was part of the active reserves....
Take note of the typical cheesy Columbia budget-that's all too obvious! Mischa Bakaleinikoff's (Columbia's in-house composer)hokey soundtrack sounds like sloppy seconds from Columbia's 1955 sub/sci-fi flick: "It came from Beneath the Sea".
This film might have been credible with a decent script, decent direction and decent acting.....But it isn't....
If this movie were a sub wreck, even Bob Ballard wouldn't touch it!
Try watching "Hell Below" if you want to see an outstanding sub film...They don't get much better!
Leaden acting. Awful special effects. Every time the submarines go out, so does the sonar (amazing, huh?) A forced conflict between the captain and his executive officer. It also has some of the worst dialogue imaginable, especially in the Ronald Reagan-Nancy Davis scenes. All in all, I would have rather watched an old television test-pattern.
I won't waste your time or mine with a lengthy description of this extremely poor movie. The fact that Ronald Reagan is in it certainly doesn't help. If the tactics portrayed by the U.S. Submarine Service in this motion picture were accurate we might all be speaking Japanese right now. The fictitious submarine is constantly in trouble. Especially poor are the models used to depict the USS Starfish underwater. Most of them must have been purchased the daybefore at a five and ten store in Burbank or Glendale, within a fewminutes or a few blocks of the studio. A total waste of film. If someone gave me a DVD of this I would immediately crack it into several hundred pieces.
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