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The captain of a submarine sunk by the Japanese during WWII is finally given a chance to skipper another sub after a year of working a desk job. His singleminded determination for revenge against the destroyer that sunk his previous vessel puts his new crew in unneccessary danger. Written by
Kevin Ackley <email@example.com>
This was the second of two films that Burt Lancaster's Hecht-Hill-Lancaster company produced with a co-star from the earlier generation of film icons. Lancaster got the services of Gary Cooper for Verz Cruz and for Run Silent Run Deep, Clark Gable signed on for a hitch in as a submarine captain with a mission that isn't in the orders.
Clark Gable has been desk bound for a year after losing his submarine in the Bungo Strait in Japanese waters. He hears of another submarine coming into Pearl Harbor with a wounded captain who will be on medical leave. So with a little back channel influence playing naval politics, Gable gets command of the U.S.S. Nerka.
He inherits a resentful crew and an executive officer in Burt Lancaster who thinks he should have inherited the job. Gable's going back to the Bungo Stratis to nail the Japanese battleship that sank his former submarine and it's against orders.
The conflict already existing between Gable and Lancaster and the one some in the crew would like to make is what gives the film its spark. Though this is a submarine film, you can see plot elements of Flying Leathernecks and The Caine Mutiny here. Brad Dexter is in the Fred MacMurray role.
If Humphrey Bogart on the Caine had had at least one confidant on board he might not have cracked up. Gable's confidante on the Nerka is Jack Warden who is desk bound with him and transferred with him to the Nerka when Gable got command. Both Warden and Dexter are the best in a good supporting cast.
By the way what Gable is drilling his men in doing is shooting with precise speed and accuracy into the bow of an oncoming enemy ship and then diving for cover in split seconds. Quite a maneuver.
And quite a good film as well.
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