After losing a submarine and fifty crew in a battle with a German ship during WWII, a Royal Navy officer gets a second chance in a daring raid with midget subs. Written by
Patrick Dominick <email@example.com>
Operation Source was also the subject of an earlier movie, Above Us the Waves (1955), made about fourteen years earlier. See more »
Throughout the early portion of the movie the X craft program is referred to as "Top Secret". At this point in time, the British used the term "Most Secret", Top Secret being an American term. See more »
Midget submarines, not submarine crew made up of Midgets.
Remember how the Stones and the Who and the Kinks were all rebelling against the establishment in England around 1968? Apparently, the establishment was busy making movies like "Submarine X-1." This movie was a major step backward for cinema, bereft of innovation and dynamic action. I Tivo'd this movie because the description "a Canadian commander trains midget submarine crews" made it sound like there were little people in little subs. Alas, there are normal sized people only. And Jimmy Caan.
Caan plays the Canadian, which is only slightly easier to believe than if he were playing an Englishman. He's rugged and manly and wears great knitwear while he looks harshly at people, sailors, who then take offense at his harsh Canadianness. Caan looks harshly into the distance and, as his men train at cutting fences underwater, he looks harshly at the sea. THIS IS THE ENTIRE MOVIE. A whole lot of underwater fence cutting, harsh looks, sweaters and the aforementioned midget submarines. Thank god for the ill-conceived Nazi commando attack on the secret base which reminds the viewer that there ARE stakes, there IS a war and it's with the NAZIS, so everything better go as planned or else V-E Day might not happen until May 9th or 10th.
Aside from the submarine interiors tilting for realism, there's very little that's progressive about the movie's construction. The camera is just kinda there in the room, not doing anything remarkable. The pace is monotonous, the sets are stagy and the performances are mannered, except for the harsh staring, of course. William Graham did a lot of television both before and after "Submarine X-1," so it would be easy to write off the clumsy filmmaking at the hands of a TV director. But Richard Lester, Ken Loach and John Frankenheimer came up as TV directors and were busy inventing and pushing cinema forward in 1968.
Keep in mind that the rest of the world has been watching movies influenced by the French New Wave. In 1968 Hollywood made "Bonnie and Clyde," "Rosemary's Baby" and "2001: A Space Odyssey." In other words, there was a new filmmaking realism established by then that "X-1" refused to acknowledge. At a glance, someone could mistake this movie as being made twenty five years earlier. No wonder Pete, Mick, Ray and even Ringo were such angry young men.
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