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USA 1958
Directed by
Robert Wise
93 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Run Silent Run Deep

Fans of WWII movies will enjoy this black and white drama about a US submarine captain, "Rich" Richardson (Clark Gable) who, after a year spent at a desk after losing his boat to the enemy, gets a new command and against orders heads back to the area where his boat and three others were sunk by a Japanese frigate. Although Richardson has a Captain Ahab complex about bringing the Japanese frigate down, his executive officer Lt. Jim Bledsoe (Burt Lancaster) is more concerned for the men’s safety and is also seriously miffed that Richardson was given the command originally intended for him.  Tension between the two men builds as Richardson’s purpose and authority is tested.

Run Silent, Run Deep, which was based on a novel of the same title by Comdr. Edward L. Beach is an old school war movie that gives more attention procedural matters and thrills of of engagement more than the intricacies of its characters.  The fomer is well done with a convincing representation of life in the confined quarters of the submarine although there is some very dated looking model work when outside and some of the scenes are barely above Thunderbirds quality. 

This is, of course, a matter of technology and not inherently a fault of the film but the datedness also carries over to the performances which although solid in their way are also very constrained by the values of the time with a far-too-affable Gable in particular lacking the Laughtonesque arrogance necessary to give his role credibility.  Lancaster, who was a co-producer fares much better although he also suffers from a surfeit of affability.

Run Silent, Run Deep will be essential viewing for anyone into submarine movies however the clash of personalities would be much better realized in the not dissimilar Crimson Tide, 1995.




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