Sunday, December 2, 2018

CONSENSUS #96 Run Silent, Run Deep

SUMMARY: A WWII submarine captain (Clark Gable) is obsessed with sinking a Japanese destroyer nicknamed Bungo Pete. He is given command of the U.S.S. Nerka over the current exec (Burt Lancaster) creating a command and personality conflict. The captain is also a martinet. The captain insists on going deep into enemy waters to sink his white whale.

BACK-STORY: This movie is based on the best seller by Edward L. Beach, Jr. (a WWII sub commander). It was produced by Burt Lancaster and cast him (a rising star) with Clark Cable (whose start was fading). The two reportedly did not get along well during the shoot with Gable upping the cost of production with his 9 to 5 work rate. This dysfunction may have added to the realism of the movie which is based on a personality conflict between the two leads. The technical advisor was a retired Rear Admiral. The movie had the full cooperation of the U.S. Navy including use of a sub for exterior shots, equipment for interior shots on the set, and submariners to train the actors.

TRIVIA:  imdb, Wikipedia, TCM
1.  Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster did not get along during the shoot.  Lancaster made jokes about Gable’s age.  Gable refused to work past 5 and would leave in the middle of a scene.  Since Lancaster was a co-producer and the film ran overtime and overbudget, this became frustrating.  Gable did not want to play a captain that lost his command, he felt it did not fit his image.  He sat out two days over this issue and only returned when the script was changed so the captain lost command because of a head injury.  (Another example of an actor insisting on something that made the plot worse.)
2.  The actual Akikaze did not play the role of a hunter as depicted in the movie.  It was sunk when it purposely intercepted a torpedo aimed at the carrier Junyo it was escorting.
3.  The actors in the sub crew went through training on how to run a sub.  The movie has been commended for its accurate depiction of the attack procedure.
4.  The older/younger commander dynamic was used again by director Wise for the first “Star Trek” movie.  He used the stationary subs hunting each other in his “Wrath of Khan”.
5.  This was Don Rickles’ first film.  He was on a motor torpedo boat tender in WWII.  He was in charge of morale.  Just kidding.
6.  The movie starts off badly with Richardson’s previous boat being sunk in Bungo Straits early in the war.  First, a U.S. sub would not have been that deep into Japanese waters at that time and if it was, there is no way the crew could have been rescued.
7.  The author Edward Beach did not like the movie.  He once commented that all the studio did was buy the title.
8.  The movie was basically a combination of “Moby Dick” (with the Akikaze being the white whale) and “Mutiny on the Bounty” (with its command dysfunction).
9.  The movie was overshadowed at the box office by “Operation Petticoat”.

Belle and Blade  =  4
Brassey’s              =  2
Video Hound       =  4.4
War Movies         =  3.1
Military History  =  #79
Channel 4             =  not on list
Film Site                =  yes
101 War Movies  =  no

OPINION: Run Silent, Run Deep was one of my favorite books as a teenager. This movie does not do justice to the book. The movie became a showcase for two legendary actors, but that does not overcome some of the ridiculous aspects of the film. The acting by the whole cast is noteworthy. Rickles even adds some humor. (He gets to offer a guy a cookie.) The movie is certainly entertaining and better than average in the submarine subgenre.

No comments:

Post a Comment

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