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>
For Dr. Potter's (Martin Balsam) insults made against CAPT Finlander (Richard Widmark), the Captain could technical charge the physician for violations of UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice): Article 89, Disrepect toward a superior commissioned officer; possibly Article 133, Conduct unbecoming an officer and gentlemen, and the catch-all Article 134 General article.
The charges would be judged at a Special or General Court-martial. However, in real world practice, Lieutenant Commanders, especially a physician, would have other less public career adverse actions taken. Only in a very public and extremely egregious situation would an actual charge leading to a court-martial and even then a diversion would occur. See more »
Some of the crew members are wearing British 38 pattern webbing belts (with a pouch on the rear presumably to cover up the buckles for the webbing straps). See more »
Reportedly, there are two versions with different endings. One version ends with a missile being fired and a torpedo being released from the sub seconds before. In another version the sub is destroyed, and later that evening the German commodore is found aiming a .45 at the nose cone of a live missile. The captain asks why, the commodore gives some reply and pulls the trigger. Mr. Munceford is blown over the side, but survives. 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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