EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|UP PERISCOPE (director: Gordon Douglas; screenwriters: from the novel by Robb White/Richard H. Landau; cinematographer: Carl E. Guthrie; editor: John F. Schreyer; music: Adolph Deutsch; cast: James Garner (Lt. Ken Braden), Edmond O'Brien (Stevenson), Andra Martin (Sally Johnson), Alan Hale, Jr. (Pat Malone), Carleton Carpenter (Phil Carney), Frank Gifford (Mount), William Leslie (Lt. Doherty), Edd Byrnes (Ash), Sean Garrison (Floyd), Richard Bakalyan (Peck), Warren Oates (Kovacs); Runtime: 111; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Aubrey Schenck; Warners Home Video; 1959)|
|"Standard B movie directed with
care by the always reliable Gordon Douglas."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Standard B movie directed with care by the always reliable Gordon Douglas ("Saps at Sea"/"Them!"/"Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye") and written by Richard H. Landau, who adapts it from a novel by Robb White. It starred the affable James Garner, who was Maverick in the popular Western TV series from 1957-1962. Garner was paired with noted veteran actor Edmond O'Brien, an accomplished actor who brings to the slight film a powerful understated performance as the honorable caring captain of a submarine who does things by-the-book and has a strained relationship with Garner.
In the South Pacific, in
1942, Capt. Paul Stevenson (Edmond O'Brien), commander of the
submarine USS Barracuda, orders his submarine to remain
concealed as a convoy of
ships passes over them. This results in a loss of valuable time for a
young seaman severely injured in a prior torpedo room accident. The
sailor dies in the Pearl Harbor hospital when the ship finally reaches
The majority of the crew blames the anguished skipper for the death,
believing he should have risked attacking one of the convoy's
stragglers to speed things up in their return to port.
Meanwhile, in San Diego,
California, Lt. j.g. Kenneth M.
Braden (James Garner) graduates with highest honors from the
Navy's Underwater Demolition School and while waiting for further
orders dates the attractive Sally
(Andra Martin). After
a week of dating Sally, he proposes. But she doesn't say yes, even
though she also seems to have fallen in love. Braden then receives
orders that he's to be a passenger aboard the Barracuda and is to land
in secret on a Japanese held island, Kusaie, and
his expert frogman skills to photograph
top-secret military codebook and leave undetected. Before departing for
the ship in Pearl Harbor, Braden's superior tells him that Sally is a WAVE assigned to
Naval Intelligence and has been ordered to check his fitness for this
The gist of the war pic shows
how dedicated everyone is in carrying out their duty despite the
strained relationships and the mounting tensions aboard ship from the
dangers in the Pacific due to enemy planes and an attack by a
destroyer. In the last act, both Braden and Stevenson act with courage and conviction
to successfully accomplish the mission, as the skipper backs off from
his rigid stance and becomes more supportive of the vital mission and
takes more risks with the safety of his boat. When back in Pearl
Harbor, Sally is waiting for our boy.
Alan Hale, in a supporting role offering comic relief, has the role of a popular sailor who waited a long time for his promotion. Warren Oates, in his inauspicious film debut, has a tiny part and goes uncredited playing a sailor with a penchant for hanging around the mess hall because he likes to eat.
It's all predictable stuff,
but goes down as easy as apple pie. It's a watchable submarine pic that
should have been
REVIEWED ON 5/28/2011 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ