Lieutenant Rip Crandall is hoodwinked into taking command of the "Wackiest Ship in the Navy" - a real garbage scow with a crew of misfits who don't know a jib from a jigger. What none of ... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The name of the Bedford's captain, "Eric Finlander" (played by Richard Widmark) is an obvious reference to the nation of Finland, which has a long and troubled history with its much larger neighbor to its east, the USSR/Russia. Finland was actually part of Russia for more than a century and as an independent nation fought Russia in the Winter War and the Continuation War, which together cost Finland 10 percent of its population and in which Russia's war dead totaled more than 300,000. See more »
When "Big Red" is detected on sonar in the ice field, Queffle, the sonar operator, confirms that he has as sonar contact, classified positive submarine, and that it's range is opening with slight "down" Doppler. The audio track, however, has a very definite "up" Doppler, indicating that the submarine is moving toward the ship. See more »
[after Finlander orders an anti-submarine rocket armed]
This is insane!
Now don't worry, Commodore. The Bedford'll never fire first. But if he fires one, I'll fire one.
[launching the rocket]
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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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