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Beneath the Surface: The Making of 'The Hunt for Red October' (2003)

This program features the standard mix of movie clips, production materials, and interviews. Cast and crew start at the beginning and discussed the acquisition of the rights to Clancy's ... See full summary »


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Credited cast:
Alec Baldwin ... Self
Jan de Bont ... Self
Larry Ferguson Larry Ferguson ... Self
Scott Glenn ... Self
James Earl Jones ... Self
John McTiernan ... Self
Mace Neufeld ... Self
Martin Rosenberg Martin Rosenberg
Scott Squires ... Self
Pat Sweeney


This program features the standard mix of movie clips, production materials, and interviews. Cast and crew start at the beginning and discussed the acquisition of the rights to Clancy's novel and various adaptation issues. They then went into casting, research for the roles, and many technical topics related to the subs and other special effects concerns.

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Documentary | Short


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Features The Hunt for Red October (1990) See more »

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Interesting "How to" of submarine filming in the deep
1 August 2018 | by SimonJackSee all my reviews

This documentary about the making of the 1990 movie, "The Hunt for Red October" has comments from most of the production heads. "Beneath the Surface: The Making of 'The Hunt for Red October'" looks at the technical challenges and methods used to make the movie, as well as acquiring the film rights from the book.

Some of the actors are interviewed in this 29-minute short. But of most interest are the details of the filmmakers and technical people. Among those interviewed are producer Mace Neufeld, executive producer Larry DeWaay, director John Tiernan, and Jan de Bont, director of photography. Other craftsmen comment on aspects of the movie. Film editors, artists, model makers and others weigh in on the techniques.

De Bont says, "We had to look at real submarines first, and see what they look like." The crew rode a submarine out of San Diego to get a sense of life on a sub with all its space constraints. That also proved to be the problem when building a set for shooting inside a sub. The moviemakers praised Capt. Tom Fargo (later, an admiral), skipper of the San Diego, that they rode. He provided good advice and help.

Most movie mavens will be interested in how they filmed the exteriors of the submarines under water. Using models against blue screens, they then added screens and various things to imitate water movement, bubbles, etc. And models and sets were built to exact specifications.

Larry DeWaay says, "We built the interior of a Los Angeles class attack submarine... and it was accurate to the smallest detail. It's amazing. The gauges worked." He says, "It was on a gimbal and it was up in the air, and it was just this interior shell; but the gauges inside worked, and they were hooked to a computer so, as the sub started to descend, the gauges would descend." Sean Connery says, "It was gimbaled to do 45 degree fronts, behinds, sideways - which, in itself, is sea-sickening."

Keith London and Kim Smith worked on the models and talked about their use. Scott Squires was supervisor of visual effects and discussed that work. The photography units had several directors and cameramen. They tell how they created the appearance of subs under water. Marty Rosenberg, Patrick Shelly, Carl Miller, Bob Hull and Vance Piper described various techniques.

Alec Baldwin makes a strange comment, referring to the popularity of author Tom Clancy who wrote the novel on which the movie is based. Baldwin says, "You'd be in the first class cabin of a plane, and eight of the ten people on the plane were reading a Tom Clancy novel." Was it eight out of 10 in first class only? Or did Baldwin wander out of first class into the "public" sector of the plane?

Anyway, those interested in the craft and businesses of moviemaking should find this short film of interest.

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Release Date:

6 May 2003 (USA) See more »

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