Saturday, August 12, 2017

#2 Run Silent, Run Deep vs. #10 Operation Pacific


DIALOGUE:  “Run Silent, Run Deep” gave us the famous line “dive, dive!” which Richardson repeats numerous times during drills.  The dialogue is good and there are some tense exchanges between the two superstar actors.  The crew banter is fine and is helped by the debut of Don Rickles.  He probably wrote some of his lines.  In spite of his involvement, the movie lacks a sense of humor.  There are few memorable lines, but it’s a manly movie and doesn’t need any.  GRADE  =  B

“Operation Pacific” has an awkward romance and the dialogue that goes with it.  There is little on sailor behavior so we don’t get much banter.   This is a very officer-centric film.  The only notable lines are some shots at the movie they watch on board – “Destination Tokyo”.  The movie is not overtly patriotic in its dialogue.  GRADE  =  C

FIRST QUARTER SCORE:  Run Silent  =  8
                                             Operation Pacific  =  6

ACTION:  “Run Silent” has three convoy attacks, two destroyer sinkings, a sub duel, and two airplane attacks.  And a brewing mutiny.  There is plenty of action, even if much of it is ridiculous.  GRADE  =  B

“Operation Pacific” has an average amount of action.  The love triangle and the torpedo testing takes up a good amount of the plot.  There is an encounter with a Q-ship, a brief encounter with an enemy sub, and a convoy battle.  None of it is believable.  GRADE  =  D

HALFTIME SCORE:  Run Silent  =  16
                                   Operation Pacific  =  11

SPECIAL EFFECTS:  “Run Silent” has some decent effects.  The Navy assisted in the production (surprising due to the mutinous plot) so there are a lot of surface shots of subs.  For the rare times that the USS Nerka is submerged, the model in a swimming pool technique is used.  The depth chargings are typical of the genre.  As usual, they are too accurate.  In WWII Pacific submarine movies, Japanese escorts never miss by much, but seldom sink their prey.  The sound effects are noteworthily outstanding.  GRADE  =  B

“Operation Pacific” has cheesy special effects.  The underwater shots are very fake and there are some hilarious shots of torpedoes boinking off ship hulls.  The sub looks like a model in an aquarium.  In fact, the Pacific Ocean looks about as deep as an aquarium.  GRADE  =  D

THIRD QUARTER SCORE:  Run Silent  =  24
                                               Operation Pacific  =  16

ACCURACY:  “Run Silent” has some of the most accurate firing sequence scenes in sub movie history.  This includes use of the Target Bearing Transmitter for surface attacks.  While being technically accurate, the movie comes up short in historical accuracy.  “Down the throat” shots that the movie is predicated on were rarely accomplished (or attempted) in the war.  Subs fighting each other submerged is virtually unheard of.  The legendary ability of Bungo Pete flies in the face of the established ineptitude of Japanese escorts.  GRADE  =  C

“Operation Pacific” deserves credit for depicting two historical incidents.  There was a significant problem with the Mark 14 torpedoes.  The torpedoes frustrated the submarine effort for the first two years of the war.  There was a problem with both the magnetic detonator and the firing pin of the contact detonator.  The movie highlights the solution to the firing pin problem.  The torpedoes were tested by dropping them from a crane as depicted by the movie, but this was not done by a sub crew.  It is instructive of how Hollywood deals with submarine warfare that most Pacific war movies do not allude to the torpedo problems.  In most films, every shot is deadly.  The death of Commander Perry (Ward Bond) is based on the death of Commander Howard Gilmore (probably the most famous submariner loss for the US Navy).  The USS Growler was making a surface attack when a patrol vessel attempted to ram.  The Growler rammed it instead, possibly in its attempt to avoid being rammed.  Gilmore was wounded by machine gun fire from the wounded escort and famously ordered “take her down!” to save the boat.  He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.   The sighting of the Japanese fleet may have been inspired by the efforts of the Dace and Darter in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.  When the Thunderfish picks up downed fliers (although this is done purely to facilitate the lame love triangle), it accurately reflects a role subs played in the war in the Pacific.   GRADE  =  A

FINAL SCORE:  Run Silent  =  30
                           Operation Pacific  =  25

ANALYSIS:  “Run Silent” is considered the greatest American submarine movie.  Although overrated, it is certainly better than a movie that relies on John Wayne to make a splash.  “Operation Pacific” may do a service to the silent service by bringing to light a significant problem and a laud-worthy hero, but it is done in the guise of a “Destination Tokyo” wannabe.  “Run Silent” has two John Wayne’s and the tension between them.  It is even more far-fetched than “Operation Pacific”, but more entertaining.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please fell free to comment. I would love to hear what you think and will respond.