Friday, August 11, 2017

#3 Hunt for Red October vs. #6 We Dive at Dawn


 #3  Hunt for Red October  vs.  #6  We Dive at Dawn

DIALOGUE:  The dialogue in “Red October” is above average, but it is mainly an action fature, so exposition is not key.  One interesting note on dialogue is that Sean Connery insisted on Ramius’ dialogue be rewritten to make it more clear that he is a “good Russian” who wants to end the Cold War.  GRADE  =  B

 “We Dive at Dawn” has decent dialogue, but there is too much of it.  There is a lot of sailor talk and it feels right.  It is very British, so use your British/English dictionary.  When the crew finds out they had sunk the German battleship, one of them exclaims “blimey!”  GRADE  =  B

FIRST QUARTER SCORE:  Hunt for Red October  =  8
                                             We Dive at Dawn  =  8 

SPECIAL EFFECTS:  “Red October” has a technology advantage over “We Dive” since it was made 47 years later.  The underwater scenes are very good.  Almost good enough to achieve the goal of making it an undersea “Fast and Furious”.  I refer to the underwater chase scenes between the subs.  Unfortunately, the CGI allows for some ridiculously close sub action.  GRADE  =  B

“We Dive at Dawn” was released in 1943, so no CGI.  It is not big on effects.  There is little underwater action.  Maybe this is to the good since modelwork back then tended to look very fake.  Better to leave it to the imagination.  GRADE  =  C

HALFTIME SCORE:  Hunt for Red October  =  16
                                   We Dive at Dawn  =  15

ACTION:  “Red October” has quite a bit of action.  Maybe too much considering some of it is reality-challenged.  It may have more action than any other movie in the tournament.  And this is done without a commando raid!  But it is done with a gun battle on a submarine. There is lots of chasing.  Subs chasing other subs.  Torpedoes chasing subs.  GRADE  =  A

“We Dive” closes with a nice set piece in a harbor as the sub has to steal fuel under the noses of the Germans.  This is not accomplished without copious expenditure of bullets.  It is one of the better commando type scenes you see so often in sub movies.  However, the quantity of action is pretty low in the film.  GRADE  =  C

THIRD QUARTER SCORE:  Hunt for Red October  =  25
                                              We Dive at Dawn  =  21

ACCURACY:  Surprisingly, there was a seed of truth to Clancy’s novel.  He was inspired by an article about the attempted defection of a Soviet anti-sub frigate named the Storozhevoy (Sentry).  The political officer named Sablin planned the defection on his own.  He was upset with the corruption of the Brezhnev government and wanted to start a revolution.  His plan was to sail to Leningrad, take over a radio station, and broadcast a call to arms!  The plot was discovered after he took over the ship and convinced most of the officers and crew to go along with him.  The ship fled the harbor and almost made it to international waters before it was halted by a hit from a Soviet bomber.  The loyal officers regained control and the mutiny was over.  Not much like the movie, but at least there is a seed of truth to the claim “based on a true story”.  GRADE  =  C

“We Dive at Dawn” does not claim to be based on a true story.  No German battleship was sunk by a submarine in WWII.  The movie does feature one historical accuracy in its portrayal of a German rescue buoy from which the sub picks up three German airmen.  The Germans put these buoys far offshore to be used by downed air crews.  They could provide accommodations and supplies for several days until the men were rescued.  GRADE  =  C

FINAL SCORE:  Hunt for Red October  =  31
                           We Dive at Dawn  =  27

ANALYSIS:  If you look at the interiors of the HMS Sea Tiger and the USS Dallas, you can tell a lot about this matchup.  “We Dive at Dawn” is a nice little British sub movie made during the war.  It deserved to win, but the tournaments are not always fair.  The categories tended to favor the behemoth.  “Red October” outpointed it due to it being an action movie doing its thing competently and its CGI which facilitated that action.  In both categories quantity bludgeoned “We Dive”.

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