Richard Widmark plays a hardened cold-warrior and captain of the American destroyer USS Bedford. Sidney Poitier is a reporter given permission to interview the captain during a routine patrol. Poitier gets more than he bargained for when the Bedford discovers a Soviet sub in the depths and the captain begins a relentless pursuit, pushing his crew to the breaking point. This one's grim tension to the end. Written by
KC Hunt <email@example.com>
As the actions of the Captain become more obsessive, Munceford tells him "You're not chasing whales now!" This is a reference to Captain Ahab, the single-minded whaling captain in "Moby Dick" by Herman Melville, whose obsession leads to the destruction of his crew, and on whom the character of Captain Finlander was ultimately based. See more »
Finlander tells Munceford and Potter that he has three Russian language experts on board, but in the radio room shortly afterward there are five men present, of whom four certainly, and the fifth probably, are clearly fluent in Russian. See more »
I saw this film when it was released in the mid 1960s, again on VHS over the years and finally on satelite television. It holds up very well. The theme of obsession in the line of duty is as relevant today as it was when Melville wrote "Moby Dick". The acting is excellent. Hats off to Eric Portman as the West German Navy commodore advisor in submarine warfare. He sort of reprises his roles in the "49th Parallel" and "We Dive at Dawn". He is one Englishman who portrays a great German. Martin Balsam does his usual excellent work as the under appreciated ship's doctor. This also contains yet another of Sydney Poitier's race neutral rolls. Very revolutionary for the mid 1960s ("Lillies of the Field" being another).
The ship model and iceberg scenes seem a bit dated in this digital graphics era but I shudder with cold every time I there is an exterior scene. I sailed in Greenland waters once and I know what is feels like on that grey ocean under that grey sky.
Clearly, this is British production. One interior shot of the ship shows a rack of Enfield rifles, already obsolete by the time this film was made. Not a problem really.
The suspense and tesnion hold up well after several viewings and the inevitable ending is, well, inevitable.
If you did not grow up during the Cold War this film will have less impact than living with the bomb ("The bomb, Alexi, the Hydrogen bomb..." oh, that was another cold war film).
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