5.1/10
102
8 user 3 critic

Fer-de-Lance (1974)

Snakes on board an American sub set off a chain of events that ultimately causes the boat to sink to the bottom of the ocean. The surviving crew must devise a rescue plan to free themselves and raise the sub.

Director:

Russ Mayberry (as Russel Mayberry)

Writer:

Leslie Stevens
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Janssen ... Russ Bogan
Hope Lange ... Elaine Wedell
Ivan Dixon ... Joe Voit
Jason Evers ... Commander Kirk
Charles Robinson Charles Robinson ... Lieutenant Nicholson (as Charles Knox Robinson)
Ben Piazza ... Lieutenant Whitehead
George Pan Andreas ... Torquale
Sherry Boucher Sherry Boucher ... Liz McCord
Robert Ito ... Masai Ikeda
William Mims William Mims ... Mayne Bradley
Shizuko Hoshi Shizuko Hoshi ... Suan Kuroda
Richard LePore Richard LePore ... Chief Hughes
Sandra Ego Sandra Ego ... Terezita
Felipe Turich Felipe Turich ... Shaman
Frank Bonner ... Compton
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Storyline

An American submarine leaves Tierra Del Fuego, and one of its crew has secretly brought aboard a container full of poisonous fer-de-lance snakes which escape storage and bite key personnel on the submarine, causing an accident that cripples the vehicle so that it drops to the bottom of the Southern Ocean. Worse still, the snakes are still at large on the submarine and complicate the efforts of the crew to escape the sunken vessel. Written by Kevin McCorry <mmccorry@nb.sympatico.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 October 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Death Dive See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

David Janssen and Hope Lange also worked together on The Fugitive: The Last Oasis (1966). See more »

Goofs

Hope Lange's character is listed as Elaine Wedell in the cast list, but in the movie she says her name is Eileen. See more »

Quotes

Commander Kirk: You know Lieutenant Scott.
[Nicholson and Scott acknowledge one another]
Commander Kirk: This is the Master at Arms, Russ Bogan.
Russ Bogan: Lieutenant.
Commander Scott: Russ here is Chief of the Boat, the COB.
Russ Bogan: That means I'm in charge of the bomb.
Commander Kirk: He also happens to be a charter member of the first underwater demolition team. The original frogman. He can help you handle the explosives.
Lieutenant Nicholson: I need help right now, sir. I'm assigned as Weapons Officer, which means I know which page to look up in Knight's Modern Seamanship, and that's all.
See more »

Connections

Remade as Silent Venom (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Snakes on a sub

Before "Snakes on a Plane" and "Snakes on a Train", there was this 1974 made-for-television mid-week suspender – snakes on a submarine (Fer-de-Lance is the name of the sub). When a happy go lucky seaman returns from shore leave with a shaman's gift of live snakes, he sets off a succession of catastrophes that places the stricken sub's surviving crew in peril, and forces reluctant hero Janssen to assume responsibility for an almighty mess, a job he clearly relishes as much as a poke in the eye.

As the sub flounders on the ocean floor, the remaining crew must make repairs to extricate themselves before the oxygen levels dissipate, while silently stalked by the highly toxic stowaways. Director Mayberry takes a rather old-fashioned approach with his limited material, focusing more attention on the salvage efforts than the snake threat which becomes the sub-plot in the latter half. The performances are strictly B-grade all round, and include one of Janssen's more ambivalent characterisations (though this was his trademark) as an uninspired, less-than enthusiastic naval instructor who's reluctantly foist into the captain's seat when all the senior officers are killed off during the initial catastrophe. Hope Lange is similarly propelled into heroine status, with her medical knowledge proving critical to the defensive effort against the marauding reptiles as one-by-one, the survivors are taken out. The movie labours to a mechanical conclusion, and though not without some intellect, the action is far too sporadic and there's little suspense.

It's perhaps no surprise that this largely forgettable TV movie has been resurrected in the wake of the "Snakes on a Plane" popularity, although it's well down the hierarchy of motion picture asps. A strong cast delivers intelligent dialogue, but the one-dimensional, melodramatic treatment sinks not only the submarine, but also the movie.


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