War Films : What War Films Have You Seen? 2016 Edition.

"They Came to Blow Up America" 1943 George Sanders


"They Came to Blow Up America" 1943

"They Came to Blow Up America" 1943 is a wartime spy film released by 20th Century Fox in 1943. The film is based on the German sabotage operation named, Pastorius. In late 1942, the Germans landed men on the Eastern seashore to engage in acts of sabotage. They were however quickly grabbed up by the FBI and put on trial. This film offers a reason for why the men were captured so quickly. The film stars George Sanders, Ward Bond, Dennis Hoey, Sig Ruman, Poldi Dur, Anna Sten and Robert Barrat.

This one starts with German American, George Sanders, returning home after several years abroad. He tells his parents, Elsa Janseen and Ludwig Stossel that he has joined the local German Bund. His father is shocked by this bit of info. Stossel is a proud American and tells Sanders so.

Sanders is at the meeting talking with fellow Bund member, Ted Nurney, who has been recalled back to Germany. The man tells Sanders that he is to be trained as a saboteur. Now the local Constabulary boots in the door and raids the place. Sanders and his new pal, Nurney, bolt out the back and hot foot it down the dark alley. The Police have the alley covered and Nurney is shot dead when he pulls a revolver.

Sanders heads home to tell his parents that he is fleeing the country and going to Germany. Now we find out that Mister Sanders is actually an undercover FBI man. Ward Bond plays the FBI Agent in charge. He gives Sanders his orders which are to now pretend to be the dead man Nurney.

Now the film jumps a few months and Sanders in enrolled in the German sabotage school. The course includes how to use various types of explosives and where to place them for maximum damage.

There is a side plot thrown into the mix with a love interest, Poldi Dur. Dur is really a member of the German Underground. Sanders, is called in by the Gestapo to help them investigate Miss Dur. Dur is soon gobbled up by the Gestapo and sent off to "be questioned". Sanders, however, springs the pretty Miss Dur and has her whisked out of the country. (He of course disposes of the Gestapo guards using his newly learned sabotage skills)

Sanders, is soon at the top of the class at the sabotage school. He is assigned to lead the first group which will be landed on Long Island by submarine. Meanwhile, back in the States, FBI man Bond has told Sanders' father about his son really being an FBI type. He tells Stossel that he must not tell anyone about his son.

Needless to say Stossel cannot keep his trap shut, and blabs to his doctor, Sig Ruman. Ruman is of course a Nazi and the info is soon on its way to Berlin. In Germany, Sanders and the first group have already set sail in their U-boat for America.

They reach Long Island and are unloaded. This is before the Gestapo head, Dennis Hoey can send off orders to kill Sanders. The entire group is soon captured and put on trial. Sanders is quietly shuffled off into hiding after trial. But not before putting the bag on Nazi agent Ruman.

The whole production has a rushed look to it, with the less than sterling screenplay being the main culprit. The actors do okay with what they have and deliver solidly for most part. Not great, but still a decent example of a wartime flag waver.

The director, Edward Ludwig is best known for several John Wayne films he directed, THE FIGHTING SEABEES, WAKE OF THE RED WITCH and BIG JIM McLAIN.

Anna Sten has a small bit as the wife of the man Sanders is pretending to be. She just about gums up the mission, but is neatly disposed of by Sanders. Future noir icon, Charles McGraw has a small bit as a German saboteur. Look close and you can spot future "Hogan's Heroes" star, John Banner in a quick, unbilled role as a Gestapo man.

The always competent Lucien Andriot handles the cinematography duties. The man worked on over 350 different films and television episodes between, 1909 and 1962.

Re: "They Came to Blow Up America" 1943 George Sanders

They Came to Blow Up America (1943)

Oh well, it has Georgie Sanders taking on the Nazis at least!

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

THE DEEP SIX 1958 Alan Ladd



This 1958 film was a co-production between Warner Brothers and Alan Ladd's Jaguar Productions. The film is a WW2 drama with Alan Ladd in the lead. The rest of the cast includes, James Whitmore, Keenan Wynn, Efrem Zimbalist Jr, Dianne Foster, William Bendix and Joey Bishop.

Alan Ladd plays ad artist who works for an agency in New York. He has the hots for his boss, Dianne Foster. Ladd makes a few moves on the pretty Miss Foster, but, before he can close the deal, he gets a letter calling him up for service. Ladd is a member of the Navy reserve and is assigned to a destroyer.

Now we find out that Ladd is from a Quaker family, and has been raised to avoid doing harm to another person. Ladd has not been a practising Quaker for years. He joins his ship and is welcomed aboard by the Captain, James Whitmore. The welcome is far less friendly from the executive officer, Keenan Wynn. Wynn is not pleased with the fact that Ladd is a Quaker. Wynn is a bitter man having been at Pearl Harbor on December 7th. He had lost family when the USS ARIZONA had been sunk.

Ladd is put in charge of a twin 40 mm anti-aircraft mount. His gun crew includes, Joey Bishop, (in his 1st role) Perry Lopez and Ross Bagdasarian. Also in the mix here is William Bendix as a Chief Petty Officer and Efrem Zimbalist Jr as the ship's doctor.

Every chance Wynn has he insults Ladd, or complains to the Captain that Ladd will let them down in combat. This of course wears on Ladd causing inner conflict over his personal values. The ship stops off in San Francisco where Ladd gets a surprise leave. And who is waiting for him there? Miss Foster of course. She has fallen for Ladd and wants to introduce him to her family who just happen to live down the coast.

Everything is going nicely when Foster's sister, Barbara Eiler, gets news that her husband was lost in combat. The man had been on a ship that went down off Guadalcanal. Ladd now feels guilty about asking Foster to marry him. He tells her that they must wait till the war is over.

Ladd's ship is now sent to Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands. Ladd's problems come to a head, when a he can't bring himself to order his gun crew to fire on an approaching aircraft. It turns out to be an American plane, so no big deal. Ladd though goes to the Captain and tells him of his hesitation to fire. Ladd is taken off the gun and assigned to damage control. Wynn in now convinced he has been right about Ladd the whole time.

Ladd shows that he is no coward when the ship is hit by a bomb during a Japanese air raid. The bomb fails to explode, so Ladd, along with William Bendix dig the thing out from between decks. They haul it topside and toss it overboard, where it explodes.

The ship is now sent to pick up the crew of a downed recon plane stranded on one of the Japanese held, Aleutian Islands. Ladd volunteers to lead the rescue party ashore. The mission quickly goes sideways as the Japanese put in an unwanted appearance. There is a brisk battle with Ladd calling in supporting fire from the destroyer.

Petty Officer Bendix is wounded forcing Ladd to decide to kill, or be killed. He uses his Thompson to mow down a group of attacking Japanese, collecting a round himself in the exchange. They cart Bendix and the rescued airmen back to the ship. Bendix does not make it back. The ship returns to San Francisco where the wounded Ladd is discharged into the waiting arms of Miss Foster.

While all this has been going on, the ship's doctor, Zimbalist, has discovered that the exc, Wynn, has been stealing morphine from the drug locker. He has been self-medicating over a stomach problem.

The film was directed by former cinematographer turned helmsman, Rudolph Mate. The 5 time Oscar nominated (Gilda, Sahara, Cover Girl, etc.) Mate cranked out several solid westerns and film noir as a director. These include DOA, THE DARK PAST, SIEGE AT RED RIVER, THE VIOLENT MEN and UNION STATION.

The cinematography here was handled by Ladd favourite, John F Seitz. Seitz would be the director of photography on 22 diff Ladd films. Among these, SAIGON, CALCUTTA, THE GREAT GATSBY, APPOINTMENT WITH DANGER, BOTNAY BAY, THE BIG LAND and THIS GUN FOR HIRE. He also shot, DOUBLE INDEMNITY, THE LOST WEEKEND, SUNSET BLVD and THE BIG CLOCK. Seitz received 7 Oscar nominations over his 1916 to 1960 career.

The film suffers from a rather meandering script which has little to do with the source novel by, Martin Dibner. The changes from the novel (which I have read) are not for the better. The usually reliable Mate seems somewhat "lost at sea" here. The cast are all okay, though Ladd is really a bit old for the part. (and I'm a Ladd fan) The film needed to be tightened up and cut down from the 108 minute run time. Worth a watch, but is not one of Ladd's better films.

This was the seventh time William Bendix and Alan Ladd appeared in the same film. Both would die in 1964, Ladd at 50 and Bendix at age 58.

Re: THE DEEP SIX 1958 Alan Ladd

The Deep Six (1958)

Hit and miss then. Splendid cast though.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Robert Montgomery Presents:"The Deep Six" 1953 John Payne



This is an episode of the long running American anthology television series, ROBERT MONTGOMERY PRESENTS. This early, mostly live series ran between 1950 and 1957. A total of 318 episodes were produced during that time. Many of Hollywood's leading stars as well as up and comers had guest roles on the series. These include, June Lockhart, Cliff Robertson, Lee Remick, Leslie Neilson, Jane Wyatt, Raymond Massey, Zachary Scott, June Havoc, John Payne, Charlton Heston, Robert Preston, Robert Cummings, Angela Lansbury and so on.

"There are three types of men, those alive, those dead, and those at sea"

Five years before Alan Ladd's big screen version of Martin Dibner's novel hit the cinemas, there was this live episode starring, John Payne. The story is about a group of men and officers aboard the USS ATLANTIS. The ship is an old cruiser that has seen better days. The ship is at the end of a long tour in the Aleutian Islands.

The entire crew is getting frazzled around the edges from the long sea duty. Payne has had to break up several fights among the enlisted personal. The ship's executive officer and the chief gunnery officer have both taken a dislike to Payne. The first is always complaining to the Captain about Payne's un-seaman like ways. The gunnery officer is just plain nuts.

The only person that seems to like Payne is a chief petty officer. The man wants Payne to paint his picture so he can send it to his young daughter back in Brooklyn. Payne was an artist back in his pre-war days. Matters come to a head when the ATLANTIS and several escorting destroyers have a run in with a group of Japanese ships. The ATLANTIS is shot to pieces but survives when the Japanese withdraw. Payne distinguishes himself during the action. Most of the other officers, including the executive and gunnery officers are killed in the battle.

I have seen quite a few of these old episodes and they are always a hit or miss deal. This one is a definite miss. The story has little to do with the source material. (I have read the book, as well as seen the 1958 film) The sets are terrible and if it was not for the bit of combat footage inserted here and there, one would never guess they were at sea. One needs to be forgiving with gaffs, missed lines etc on these live productions, but this one just does not work.

Besides Payne, the cast includes, Scott Forbes, Herbert Rudley, Stephen Courtleigh, Ray Bramley and Donald McKee. Rudley is good here as the gunnery officer slowly going nuts.

Re: Robert Montgomery Presents:"The Deep Six" 1953 John Payne

Robert Montgomery Presents (1950) - The Deep Six (1953)

No good then. Nice you tied the two together though.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Robert Montgomery Presents:"The Deep Six" 1953 John Payne

Some of these live tv adaptations are great. The same series version of SUNSET BLVD is first rate.

War Tv: THE SILENT SERVICE "The Nautilus Story" 1957


THE SILENT SERVICE "The Nautilus Story" 1957

This is the 32nd episode of the U.S. war series, "The Silent Service". The series was about the exploits of the U.S. Navy's submarine fleet. Each episode is a stand-alone tale of the actions of a particular submarine. Most of the stories are about actions against the Japanese Navy and merchant fleet in the Pacific. There is also the odd tale from the Korean conflict. The series ran for 78 episodes during 1957 and 1958. The stories were all based on actual events. Some pretty good attention to detail here with the U.S Navy allowing filming on several WW 2 era Gato class subs.

Each episode started and ended with retired Real Admiral Thomas M. Dykers giving a breakdown of the action. Dykers became a writer, producer and technical adviser after leaving the service. He worked on films such as, TORPEDO ALLEY, FLAT TOP, THE FROGMEN, HELL AND HIGH WATER and SUBMARINE COMMAND.

This episode is about the U.S.S. "Nautilus". It is Nov 1943 and the "Nautilus" is patrolling off Tarawa. The submarine, one of the large V class subs built in the 1920's, is carrying about 50 US Marines. They are transporting the Marines to Abemama Atoll. The Marines are to land and secure the small atoll.

Before the "Nautilus" can complete its mission, it has a spot of trouble. Off of Tarawa, the American destroyer, USS "Ringgold" mistakes the submarine for one under the Japanese flag. The destroyer puts a round through the conning tower. The submarine crash dives and goes deep. They later surface and find that the round was a dud and is still on deck.

One of the gunner's mates disarms the shell and tosses it overboard. After some quick repairs, the "Nautilus" continues on to Abemama Atoll to disgorge the Marines. The Marines land and do battle with the small Japanese garrison. The Marines whistle up the submarine and ask for a few rounds to be delivered by the submarine's deck gun. The Japanese are quickly subdued and the Marines re-board the "Nautilus".

The cast includes, Ray Stricklyn, Ross Elliott, Simon Scott, Jimmy Hayes and Tom (Billy Jack) Laughlin.

The "Nautilus" performed 14 wartime combat patrols sinking at least 8 Japanese vessels and damaging several more. The submarine was at the Battle of Midway and fired four torpedoes at one of the Japanese carriers which all missed. The "Nautilus" was involved in the famous raid on Makin Island by the US Marine unit known as Carlson's Raiders. The submarine was decommissioned in June 1945 and sold for scrap in Nov of that year.

Re: War Tv: THE SILENT SERVICE "The Nautilus Story" 1957

The Silent Service (1957) - The Nautilus Story (1957)

Ah, great info on Makin Island!

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217




This one is an American war film put out by Universal-International Pictures. The source material used for the basis of the film is from a WW2 training film. Said training film was on how to resist interrogation if captured. The cast in this one includes, Mark Stevens, Don Taylor, Alex Nicol, Robert Douglas, Gig Young, Joyce Holden, James Best and Steven Geray.

The film is set in early 1944, and is about the aircrew of an American B-26 bomber. The ship has just returned from a mission where several of the squadron had been shot down. A couple more crash land back at the base in England. Morale is shot in the unit, and it takes another hit when told by the Commanding officer, Hugh Beaumont, that they are going back out in the afternoon.

Beaumont promises everyone a 48 hour leave upon their return. The B-26's are all going in for maintenance in preparation for a secret raid. They have moved in another bomber group with special personal for the raid.

Mark Stevens and his crew have the misfortune to be shot up during the afternoon raid over France. One of the crewmen killed. The survivors barely escape the bomber in time to safely parachute. The crew, one by one, are captured by the Germans and taken to a local Château. The Château is used to house captured Allied aircrews before transfer to a prison camp in Germany. The first to arrive at the holding area is the Captain, Mark Stevens.

The holding area is really a centre for a group of highly skilled German interrogation experts. Each of the American flyers is handled differently. Some are roughed up by Gestapo types, some put in a cell with a German posing as a fellow prisoner, and so on. All the men let slip little bits of info that the Germans piece together for a big picture.

The wounded man, James Best, is smooth talked by a pretty nurse, Joyce Holden, into giving some key info. The German officer in charge, Robert Douglas, with help from his number two, Gig Young, soon have enough details to guess at the upcoming raid's target. Being of no further use, the American fliers are sent by train to Germany.

Stevens, Taylor and Nichol by now know they have all been played like a fiddle by the Germans. The three manage to pull an escape from the moving train. Taylor collects a back full of lead from a train guard as Stevens and Nichol, hoot foot it into the night. They hope to find some French underground types and get back to England.

Stevens and Nichol luck out and are soon hustled away by pretty underground member, Suzanne Dalbert. The pair discover that the Germans are moving the fuel to a nearby forest area. They need to get this info to their intelligence unit back in England.

Of course as luck would have it, the nearest underground radio is 40 miles away. The two stow away in the back of a truck heading in the right direction. They have been told about a bar in the town that has underground contacts. They hit the burg and stop by the bar. A German patrol now shows up wanting to see everyone's papers.

Nichol is gobbled up by the patrol while Stevens is pulled outside by the underground contact. A quick gun battle with several pursuing Nazis is needed before Stevens can get away. He is taken to the head of the local resistance cell.

The leader agrees to contact England with the news about the fuel depot being moved. They need to hurry because the raid is scheduled for that morning. Do they make the call in time?

While the film is not a world beater, it is not a waste of time either. There are plenty of B-26 Martin Marauder bombers on display. The excellent combat footage of said bombers is fantastic, most of which I had never seen before.

The director here is the always reliable, George Sherman. Sherman helmed quite a few watchable mid budget westerns, swashbucklers, war, and film noir. These would include, RELENTLESS, BLACK BART, LARCENY, SWORD IN THE DESERT, THE RAGING TIDE, BORDER RIVER and AGAINST ALL FLAGS.

Universal Pictures staple, Maury Gertsman was the director of photography.


Target Unknown (1951)

Some decent performers involved there.

The excellent combat footage of said bombers is fantastic, most of which I had never seen before.

I know you would have got a thrill out of that.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217


if that is the B26 one you were talking about, yeah, who even knew there was a '12 O'clock high" about the mediums...

that British one post war, late 40s, early 50s, can't remember name, but it had great ground shots RAF Bostons and maybe even a Blenheim or two..


Quite a lot of the footage of the B-26 in this film was new to me. I saw some thing a while back that had some Bostons in it. Hell if I can recall what it was.

TARGET HONG KONG 1953 Cold War Action



This low budget Cold War quickie was released by Columbia Pictures for independent producer Sam Katzman's Clover Productions.

The film stars Richard Denning, Richard Loo, Philip Ahn, Nancy Gates, Michael Pate, Henry Kulky, Soo Yong and Ben Aster.

The film is about soldier of fortune type Denning getting mixed up in a Red Chinese plot to invade Hong Kong. The Reds, led by Ben Aster and Richard Loo are bankrolling their plan with a spot of blackmail. They are forcing Chinese civilians to ask family in America for cash to ensure their safety.

Aster and Loo are then funnelling the money to a triad operator, Soo Yong, in Hong Kong. Soo Yong is loyal to the Nationalist cause and believes that Aster and Soo are Nationalist agents. The money is being used to buy arms and pay for mercenaries.

The Red plan is to fool Yong and the mercenaries into attacking Hong Kong. Then the Red Chinese will occupy Hong Kong and say that they are there to stop Nationalist aggression. (Far-fetched, but so what) Denning gets involved when he loses all his cash in a gambling club. He is offered a job working for a legitimate Nationalist spy cell. The cell is led by Philip Ahn. Also in the mix are several pals of Denning from the late war, Michael Pate and Henry Kulky.

Denning is wired up with the latest in miniature two way radios gear, and sent back to the gambling den. (The radio stuff is worth the price of admission)It seems that the Commie Loo is often at the den passing money to owner, Yong.

Of course a pretty girl, Nancy Gates, needs to be thrown into the story. Miss Gates happens to be the adopted daughter of the triad leader and club owner, Soo Yong. As all this is going on, the Reds have moved plenty of weapons and explosives into a series of tunnels running under Hong Kong. They plan on setting off a large bomb under Hong Kong Police headquarters.

Now there is a whole series of fights and gun battles needed in order to throw the old monkey wrench into the Red plans. (There is plenty of stock footage from earlier Columbia productions used here) The Reds hash is finally settled with Denning filling Red leader, Aster, with a lead overdose. Of course Denning gets the girl, Gates, and Hong Kong is saved.

This one is not as bad as I might be making it out to be. It rockets along with any plot holes nicely covered by the capable hand of b-film whiz, Fred C Sears. Between 1949 and 1958, Sears directed 50 lower end feature films. These include several well done works like, WORLD WITHOUT END, UTAH BLAINE, RUMBLE ON THE DOCKS, THE 49th MAN, CELL 2455 DEATH ROW and CHICAGO SYNDICATE.

Re: TARGET HONG KONG 1953 Cold War Action

yup, sure glad they saved HK from those ChiComs...

wait a minute..

Re: TARGET HONG KONG 1953 Cold War Action

LOL,I had a few chuckles over that myself.

Re: TARGET HONG KONG 1953 Cold War Action

Target Hong Kong (1953)

Another rare one, good work fella.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

UNDERGROUND 1941 Resistance vs the Nazis potboiler



This 1941 Warner Brothers production is one of the earlier films to deal with the anti-Nazi German Resistance movement. The film stars, Philip Dorn, Jeffery Lynn, Mona Maris, Kareen Verne, Peter Whitney and Martin Kosleck. This one has the old story chestnut of two brothers on opposite sides.

Philip Dorn is a chemical engineer with a dangerous second job, that of a radio broadcaster for the secret German underground. He tells the German public the truth about what the Nazis are up to. Of course the Gestapo types are out to collar said underground members. The underground has to constantly be on the move after each broadcast. This is to prevent the authorities from locating the transmitter.

Dorn's younger brother, Jeffery Lynn, now puts in an appearance. Lynn has just been discharged from the army after losing an arm in combat. Lynn is of course a die-hard Nazi. In the mix here is Kareen Verne, a member of the underground that Lynn takes a liking to. Dorn and Verne hide the fact that they both are part of the resistance from Lynn.

The head Gestapo man is played by Martin Kosleck. Kosleck made a career out of playing various Nazi weasel types. Kosleck's secretary is played by Mona Maris. Kosleck and his bunch nearly grab up Dorn, Peter Whitney and the rest during a broadcast. They are warned by Miss Maris just in time about the raid. Maris is an underground agent who is their contact on the Gestapo staff.

Kosleck tries a new ploy and releases a former resistance member, Wolfgang Zilzer. Zilzer has been beaten, tortured, and turned, he is now willing to help the Gestapo. Hoffman leads Kosleck and a Gestapo squad to a meeting place at a Berlin café. Shots are exchanged and an underground type is killed.

Miss Verne, who is employed at the café as a violin player, is grabbed up in the raid. Also grabbed up is Jeffery Lynn. He tells the Gestapo that he is seeing Miss Verne and that she cannot possibly with the underground. (Which he believes) Kosleck lets her go, but only if Lynn agrees to keep tabs on her. Lynn agrees to the arrangement.

The ever true blue Nazi, Lynn, is dumbstruck when he now discovers that Miss Verne is with the resistance. He does not know whether to turn her in or what. He decides to convince her to quit the underground. He gives the Gestapo info he overhears about a new broadcast location.

Needless to say, he does not know that he has actually turned in his brother, Dorn. Dorn is carted off for a round of shall we say, not so gentle questioning. The brother's father, Erwin Kaiser, is also taken into custody. Both are sentenced to the chopping block.

Lynn is horrified at what he has done, but tells Kosleck that it was the job of every good German to turn in traitors. He knows that he cannot save his brother and father. The Gestapo of course now trust him. They announce on the radio that the underground broadcasts have been quashed, and the traitors killed.

This last statement turns out to be less than accurate as the broadcasts begin again. This time it is Lynn at the microphone.

This one plays out more or less like the same years British film, FREEDOM RADIO, both of which follow the same idea.

Warner Brothers must have sent out a casting call for every German actor in Hollywood. There is at least a couple dozen German born actors in various roles. Look close and you will see Hans Conried and Henry Brandon in small bits.

The director here is Vincent Sherman. Sherman is best known for a string of excellent film noir such as, NORA PRENTISS, THE UNFAITHFUL, BACKFIRE, THE GARMENT JUNGLE, FLIGHT FROM DESTINY and THE DAMNED DON'T CRY.

Cinematographer Sid Hickox gives the film a nice assortment of grey and black hues. Three time Oscar winning composer, Adolph Deutsch, supplies the top flight score.

Martin Kosleck and Mona Maris would play pretty well the same characters in 1942's BERLIN CORRESPONDENT, with Dana Andrews.

Re: UNDERGROUND 1941 Resistance vs the Nazis potboiler

Underground (1941)

Enjoyed that mate, looks a goodie, thank you.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

THE 49th MAN 1953 More Cold War Antics


THE 49th MAN 1953

This Cold War thriller was put out by the B unit at Columbia Pictures. The film stars, John Ireland, Richard Denning, Suzanne Dalbert, Mike Connors, Robert Foulk, Richard Avonde and Peter Marshall.

John Ireland is a Federal agent who by accident gets mixed up in a plot to bring atomic bombs into the USA. The parts are broken down into several pieces for assembly at the target city. Richard Denning is the bigwig in charge of hunting down the devices. He drafts Ireland in to aid in the hunt.

The Feds are tracking down various pieces all over the States. This is starting to get serious as the number of possible bombs increases. Now the Feds find out that some Uranium has been smuggled into the country, on board a US Navy submarine of all things.

Ireland is sent undercover to France with the submarine on a return visit. They are to check out the last port of call for the sub in southern France. The plot thickens as several suspects are added to the pot. These include, Suzanne Dalbert and Peter Marshall. Also in the mix are several navy types, Mike Connors and Robert Foulk.

Ireland however has gotten the wrong men with the NavyOfficers. The whole atomic bomb thing turns out to be a test to see if the US borders were secure from such a threat.

Needless to say that would be too simple. It turns out the Reds had tumbled to the test. They have snuck a real atomic bomb into the States. Ireland and the Feds finally realize what the Reds are planning and are soon after them. It is a cat and mouse game being played out as the pursuit heats up. The Reds are killing everyone who might rat them out.

The Feds manage to do the old nick of time stunt and capture the bomb before it explodes. They fly the device to an A-Bomb test site and boot the thing out the door minutes before it goes off. The Reds are foiled, this time! The film's story, by Ivan Tors is a bit weak kneed in parts, but as a low end thriller, it has its moments.

Direction was by B film specialist, Fred C Sears, who keeps the pace moving. Sears cranked out about 50 films in his 1949 till 1958 Hollywood career. Sears' films include, WORLD WITHOUT END, UTAH BLAINE, RUMBLE ON THE DOCKS, THE 49th MAN, CELL 2455 DEATH ROW and CHICAGO SYNDICATE.

Re: THE 49th MAN 1953 More Cold War Antics

The 49th Man (1953)

You do like yourself some Freddie Sears

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

WAR TV :THE SILENT SERVICE "Hit 'Em Again, Harder" 1957


THE SILENT SERVICE "Hit 'Em Again, Harder" 1957

This is the 33rd episode of the U.S. war series, "The Silent Service". The series was about the exploits of the U.S. Navy's submarine fleet. Each episode is a stand-alone tale of the actions of a particular submarine. Most of the stories are about actions against the Japanese Navy and merchant fleet in the Pacific. There is also the odd tale from the Korean conflict. The series ran for 78 episodes during 1957 and 1958. The stories were all based on actual events. Some pretty good attention to detail here with the U.S Navy allowing filming on several WW 2 era Gato class subs.

Each episode started and ended with retired Real Admiral Thomas M. Dykers giving a breakdown of the action. Dykers became a writer, producer and technical adviser after leaving the service. He worked on films such as, TORPEDO ALLEY, FLAT TOP, THE FROGMEN, HELL AND HIGH WATER and SUBMARINE COMMAND.

This episode is about the U.S.S. "Harder". This mission starts on May 26 1944 as the "Harder" is sent to Borneo to pick up 6 British Commandos. After the pick up, the submarine heads for the Japanese Fleet anchorage at Tawi-Tawi.

The "Harder" soon comes up on a convoy of tankers escorted by the Japanese destroyer, Minazuki. The "Harder" puts several tin fish into the destroyer sinking her. The next morning the "Harder" has a run in with another Japanese destroyer, the Hayanami. One of the submarine's torpedoes hits the destroyer's magazine sinking her instantly.

On the night of June 8th the "Harder" sights six destroyers travelling in line. The "Harder' closes in and soon puts paid to the destroyer, Tanikaze. The submarine also hits another destroyer sending it to the bottom. The next day she hits and sinks another un-named Japanese destroyer.

On the afternoon of 10 June Harder sighted a large Japanese task force, including three battleships and several cruisers. This was part of the Japanese Task Force heading to stop the US attack on the Marianas. The Task Force fled the anchorage at Tawi-Tawi in large part due to the actions of the "Harder". The Japanese Fleet would be more or less destroyed at the resulting Battle of the Philippine Sea.

The Captain of the "Harder" would be awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on this patrol. The "Harder" would be lost with all hands on its next patrol. The submarine was credited with at least 18 Japanese vessels including 5 destroyers.

Re: WAR TV :THE SILENT SERVICE "Hit 'Em Again, Harder" 1957

The Silent Service (1957) - Hit 'Em Again, Harder (1957)

As always, an education.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217




This 1953 Technicolor war film about British paratroopers was produced by Warwick Films and released through Columbia Pictures. The film stars Alan Ladd, Leo Genn, Donald Houston, Harry Andrews, Susan Stephen and Anton Diffring.

The film starts in 1940 at a training base in the UK. The lead, Alan Ladd, is an American who had joined up in Canada to get into the war. The recruits are all going through some rigorous training designed to weed out the less qualified.

Ladd, has a run in with one of the instructors, Stanley Baker, and shows the man up. This draws the attention of the senior officer in charge, Leo Genn. He marks Ladd as a possible officer type.

Ladd soon strikes up a friendship with one of the female parachute packers, Susan Stephen. Ladd, is the loner type and the two have sort of a love hate relationship. The instructor Ladd had a run with, Stanley Baker, is killed in a training accident. This seems to have a change on Ladd.

The men who survive the training are chomping at the bit for a spot of real action. The Regiment is soon assigned to be part of a raid on occupied France. They are to drop on a German radar station and steal secret components from the radar equipment.

The raid comes off, but not without a hitch or two. Several of the paratroopers are killed and others are captured. The men head to the sea for rescue by the Royal Navy. The pick-up is a close run thing with the Germans in hot pursuit.

It is now November 1942 and the Regiment has a new mission. The Allies have just landed in North Africa and are now in the rear of the Rommel's Africa Korps. The Regiment is to be dropped in front of the advancing Allies. The Paras are to destroy an important airbase before the German can use it.

The drop happens but there is a slight problem. The German types have already occupied the base. A first rate donnybrook is needed to chase the German crowd off. Explosives are now laid and the base is put out of commission for when the German's take the base back. The surviving paratroopers now take off on foot towards the advancing Allied forces.

Needless to say the German are not amused with the idea, and set off after the Paras. They corner the Brits on a minefield and it looks like the end of the Regiment. The Paras are taking more than a few losses when Ladd comes up with a plan. He uses a captured German panzerschreck (bazooka) to blow a path through the minefield. Ladd's action and the timely arrival of the Allied forces save the paras from being wiped out.

An interesting film that plays out better than one is expecting. The film is based on a non-fiction book of the same title. It was the first of three films Ladd would make for producers, Irving Allen and Albert R Broccoli's company. The other two were THE BLACK KNIGHT and HELL BELOW ZERO. Broccoli would become famous as the producer of the James Bond films.

The direction was by another Bond regular, Terence Young. Young would be the helmsman on three of the first four Bond films. Another Bond type, screenwriter, Richard Maibaum adapts from the H.S.G. Sanders book. Maibaum wrote the screenplays for 13 of the Bond films.

The film was a massive money maker bringing in 7 million over production costs. (Ladd cleaned up as he had a deal for 10 percent of the profits over 2 million dollars) The film was released the same year as Ladd's masterful turn in the western, SHANE.


The Red Beret (1953)

YAY! One I have seen and can share a review with you!!!

You liked it more than myself buddy, but it's definitely no stinker.

More than just an Alan Ladd movie.

The Red Beret (AKA Paratrooper) is directed by Terence Young and stars Alan Ladd & Leo Genn. It is based on the book of the same name written by Hilary Saint George Saunders.

"This story tells of one small part of the war. The story of those men who joined the parachute regiment — Men from many different countries and creeds, who were to find themselves one day in a parachute training establishment. Only in the telling and in the spirit of these men themselves do history and fiction meet — even if we dare not show in this film what some of these men did in fact and in real life achieve. For nobody would ever believe it."

Somewhere in England. The year 1940 after Dunkirk.

A rather popular film at the Worldwide box office on release, this in spite of some British complaints about American actor Ladd playing the lead in a British war story, The Red Beret is serviceable as an action character piece. The story is in effect a play on real war hero John Frost, who is here played by Genn as Major Snow (Frost was portrayed by Anthony Hopkins in A Bridge Too Far). With this in mind it's obvious that Ladd, who does OK in his role of the reluctant leader, is purely there for American audience enticement. However, the makers do a good enough job of not letting Ladd's part in the film be the sole point of reference and detract from the real heroes from which the core of the film is based. There's some poor technical aspects to put up with, such as major superimposed sequences that stick out like a sore thumb, but these are off set a touch by the well constructed battle scenes.

If in an undemanding war film mood this just about leaves a favourable impression. 6/10

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Warn That Man (1943)


** This review may contain spoilers ***

With my dads birthday coming up later this week,I started looking for movies on the Network site that he would enjoy.Having read about the title in an old issue of Empire magazine,I was happy to spot a film which is the near-forgotten first take on The Eagle Has Landed,which led to me getting ready to see the eagle land.

The plot:

Coming up with ways to kidnap Winston Churchill,a group of Nazis notice that stage actor Hausemann looks just like Churchill's pal Lord Buckley. Believing that Churchill could be kidnapped from Buckley's mansion, Hausemann and a gang of Nazis sneak into Britain.Knocking Buckley out, Hausemann start practising for Churchill's arrival.As rehearsals are underway, Hausemann's plans are interrupted by three unexpected guests.

View on the film:

Sending the eagle high in the sky,Network give the title a spiffing Blu-Ray transfer,with the sound and picture quality likely being far better than when it was shown on the big screen in the early 40's.

Rationed to mostly being stuck in one location,co-writer/(along with Vernon Sylvaine) director Lawrence Huntington and cinematographer Günther Krampf give the flick a touch of Film Noir class,as classy low-lighting covers Buckley's mansion and allows the Nazis to hide in the shadows. Based on Sylvaine's own play,the screenplay by Huntington and Sylvaine boils up WWII heroics with variety show Comedy,where the cunning Nazi plan moves at a surprisingly speedy pace,partly thanks to the childish,but funny one liners,which dart across Buckley's mansion,as the eagle lands.

Re: Warn That Man (1943)

Thanks for the review. I heard about this one several months ago and added it to my list. Tick has been applied.

Re: Warn That Man (1943)

Warn That Man (1943)

Good snag there dear boy. Nice to see director Lawrence Huntington crop up, he directed the rather great noirish thriller The Upturned Glass (1947).

Great to see an under seen film get some publicity, so well done for being only the second person to review it.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Warn That Man (1943)

Thanks Spike,and for being an unknown movie,Network have done a very good Blu:


War Tv THE SILENT SERVICE "The Seashark Story" 1957


THE SILENT SERVICE "The Seashark Story" 1957

This is the 34th episode of the U.S. war series, "The Silent Service". The series was about the exploits of the U.S. Navy's submarine fleet. Each episode is a stand-alone tale of the actions of a particular submarine. Most of the stories are about actions against the Japanese Navy and merchant fleet in the Pacific. There is also the odd tale from the Korean conflict. The series ran for 78 episodes during 1957 and 1958. The stories were all based on actual events. Some pretty good attention to detail here with the U.S Navy allowing filming on several WW 2 era Gato class subs.

Each episode started and ended with retired Real Admiral Thomas M. Dykers giving a breakdown of the action. Dykers became a writer, producer and technical adviser after leaving the service. He worked on films such as, TORPEDO ALLEY, FLAT TOP, THE FROGMEN, HELL AND HIGH WATER and SUBMARINE COMMAND.

This episode is about the U.S.S. "Seashark". The trick here is that there was no such submarine. The episode is just used to tell the story of how a crew will bond in combat. A US Navy photographer is sent to sea to get film of a crew on a mission. The photographer, Grant Richards, has never been on a submarine before. He is amazed just how small the ships are.

It does not take long and the submarine is in combat. A Japanese "Rufe" float plane attacks and drops several depth charges. Richards just about loses his nerve over the attack. He is kept calm by several of the other sailors.

The submarine is soon in combat again with the "Seashark" sinking a couple of Japanese cargo ships. Photographer Richards gets some excellent footage of the sinking vessels. Richards now feels like part of the crew.

This could be the slowest and least entertaining episode so far. Oh well, every series is allowed a stinker now and then.

Re: War Tv THE SILENT SERVICE "The Seashark Story" 1957

The Silent Service (1957) - The Seashark Story (1957)

Slow Boat - Slow Ep!

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217




This British film is based on the novel of the same name by British author Christopher Landon. This WW2 film is set in 1942 North Africa at the time of the fall of Tobruk. John Mills headlines the production with Harry Andrews, Sylvia Syms, Diane Clare and Anthony Quayle.

John Mills is in charge of a convoy of trucks and ambulances being evacuated from Tobrouk just before its capture by the German Afrika Korps. Mills and his Sgt, Harry Andrews are given a pair of nurses to take along during the evacuation. The two nurses, Sylvia Syms and Diane Clare had missed their ship out of Tobruk.

Due to a number of factors, the ambulance is cut off from the rest of the convoy. They need to drive out across the desert in order to reach the coast road back to British lines. They soon come up on a South African officer, Anthony Quayle, who joins up with the Tobruk escapees. Mills, a man with an over fondness for the bottle, likes that Quayle has several large bottles of gin with him.

The first of several problems pop up, a minefield is blocking their way to the coast road. With Andrews slowly driving, Mills and Quayle lead the ambulance carrying the nurses through the mines. Now they have a run in with a German patrol and the truck gets shot up. The one nurse, Clare, is badly wounded.

Anthony Quayle, who just happens to speak German, has a word with the Officer in charge of the patrol. The Germans are too busy chasing the retreating British army to worry about a one truck with a wounded nurse. The German officer, Walter Gotell, lets the group continue on their way.

The wounded nurse, Clare has been fatally hit and soon dies. She is buried out in the middle of nowhere with a simple cross to mark the grave. The other nurse, Syms, as well as the Sgt, Andrews, notice that Quayle is never without his pack. And that he goes off into the desert every morning and night at the same time. Mills figures the guy is just attending to his waste needs. Mills promises them all a tall glass of ice cold beer once they reach safety in Alexandria.

Now there is another run in with a German patrol, and again Quayle talks the Germans into releasing them. Now even Mills figure that something is wrong with this picture. He tells the others they need proof before they can say that Quayle is really a German spy.

The group is now forced to head out into the dangerous terrain of the Quattara Depression. The area is full of quicksand and salt marshes where a truck and its contents could disappear beneath the surface. The group catches Quayle that night in the act of sending a message on a small portable radio that is kept in his pack. Quayle disposes of the evidence is a handy quicksand hole. He however gets caught in the same hole. The others just barely manage to pull him out of the trap with the truck tow rope.

It is now on to Alex and safety as well as that cold beer. Mills gets Quayle to cough up his real name before the Military Police show up. Otherwise he will be shot as a spy by the British Army. He also grabs Quayle's fake id and dog tags before they are seen. They now all sit and wash the dust away with a couple glasses of ice cold beer.

This is a very interesting, tension filled film, and is much better than I am making it sound. The film was directed by J. Lee Thompson. Thompson started out as a writer before switching to directing. His films include, MURDER WITHOUT CRIME, THE YELLOW BALLOON, THE WEAK AND THE WICKED, TIGER BAY, WOMAN IN A DRESSING GOWN, CAPE FEAR, THE GUNS OF NAVARONE and KINGS OF THE SUN. Thompson received an Oscar nomination for his work on THE GUNS OF NAVARONE.

There are two versions out, the full length UK version which is the one written about here, and the US version with 54 minutes cut from the runtime. Needless to say, that one makes no sense.


Why would they cut 54 miutes out, MORONS!

I like it plenty

Fitzcarraldo had his ship, Captain Anson had his ambulance first.

Ice-Cold in Alex is directed by J. Lee Thompson and is based on the novel of the same name written by Christopher Landon. The latter of which co-writes the screenplay with T.J. Morrison. It stars John Mills, Sylvia Syms, Anthony Quayle and Harry Andrews. Leighton Lucas provides the music and Gilbert Taylor photographs in black and white.

World War II and the British base at Tobruk, Libya, is attacked by the German Afrika Korps. During the evacuation 4 personnel are tasked with the mission to drive an ambulance across the desert back to British lines in Alexandria in Egypt. Captain Anson (Mills), MSM Tom Pugh (Andrews), Nurse Diana Murdoch (Syms) and Nurse Denise Norton (Diane Clare) are the four people in question, soon to be joined by a South African officer, Captain van der Poel (Quayle). Poel seems shifty, but his physicality and supply of Gin will no doubt be handy on this arduous trip. And arduous it will prove, as the elements, Germans and inner conflict will all test the group to the limit.

It falls under the war movie banner, but the truth is that Ice-Cold in Alex is a different sort of animal. The core of Landon's story is to observe how a different group of characters cope in the face of mental and physical hardships. The war and the desert landscapes form the backdrop, but this is in essence a character study where the characters are defined by their actions. Thankfully the group of actors on show are able to turn in great shows to not let the slow structure of the film be a hindrance. Mills and Quayle especially bring a dynamic to their characters, drawing the viewer into the desert with them in the process. A number of quality scenes stand out in the picture, be it involving quicksand or trying to get "Katy" the ambulance over a hill, the tension mounts and the film never wants for effective drama. While the finale crowns the picture in a wave of humanistic collectedness. 8/10

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217




This is a 1959 war film was made in West Germany by director Bernard Wicki. The film is based on a 1958 novel of the same name and is based on an actual event from WW2. It is the end of April 1945, and the war in Europe is drawing to its conclusion.

A group of 16 year old school boys are wondering when the war will reach their small village. They are all waiting for their call up orders to join the army. They do not understand just how serious and dangerous war is. They all feel excitement at setting out on a great adventure. The warnings of their mothers and the older men who lived throughWW1 fall on deaf ears.

The first third of the film follows the lads as they attend school, play and chase girls. They see their parent's world falling apart around them but are at a loss as to why. The one lad's father is the local Nazi Party bigwig who is busy packing in order to get away before the Americans arrive. Another boy's mother wants to hide the boy on a farm outside town.

The boys all get their call up papers to report to the local barracks for training. They get one day of said training when the local combat situation falls to pieces. The Americans are only a few miles away. Everyone, including the raw recruits, are gathered up and sent to stop the American breakthrough.

One veteran NCO and the 7 local lads are assigned to guard the small bridge into their village. They have some rifles, two machine guns and several anti-tank Panzerfaust RPG's. They set up the weapons and wait.

Their NCO heads off to the village to see if he can find something hot to drink. He runs into several Military Police types. They accuse the man of being a deserter. The NCO tries to explain but is executed by the MP types. The boys assume that the NCO has fled and are now bound and determined to do "their duty for the Fatherland".

During the night they are surprised by a steady stream of German trucks fleeing across the bridge loaded with wounded etc. The boys are not sure what they are to do as all officers just ignore them in their flight from the front. The 7 take a vote and all agree to stay and man their posts.

They do not have long to wait for matters to heat up. An American fighter bomber strafes the bridge killing one of the boys. Then a group of American infantry soon come down the road supported by several tanks. The lads leap to their weapons and wait.

One of the boys manages to hit one of the tanks with a Panzerfaust, destroying it. Now the fight is on with rounds flying from both sides. For a group of untrained boys, the German lads do quite well, destroying another of the tanks and killing several of the American infantry. The Americans pull out to re-group.

The two surviving boys are of course completely rattled by what has happened to their friends. Now a German vehicle pulls up from the other end of the bridge. Several demolitions men start unloading boxes of explosives. They are there to blow up the bridge to deny it to the advancing Americans. The man in charge tells the two boys to take off as the real soldiers are here.

The two boys realize that their friends have died in vain, defending a bridge that is to be destroyed anyways. This pushes the two over the mental edge and they shoot the explosives men. Another of the boys is killed in the exchange. The survivor has gone right around the twist and wanders off holding his head in his hands.

This is a very hard hitting film. It was nominated for an Oscar as Best Foreign Language Film.

At the end this message flashes across the screen, "This event occurred on April 27, 1945. It was so unimportant that it was never mentioned in any war communique."

The Bridge (1959)

The Bridge (1959)

Rivals "The Wages of Fear" for the amount of time devoted to character development in the first half.

The English-dubbed version includes a remarkable "prepare yourselves" introduction by Chet Huntley.

The Criterion release has improved subtitles.

The 2008 made-for-TV remake is absolutely dismal, avoid!

Probably inspired the Combat! episode A Child's Game (1966).

In both productions of "The Bridge" and the "Combat!" episode, the cast of boys was a little too old, in my opinion. History records events involving boys who were only 13-14.

Re: The Bridge (1959)

Mine is Criterion release. I have the COMBAT series here so i'll look up that episode you mention. Thanks.


Die Brücke (1959)

Release in 1961 in The States. You have put the year of the novel in your heading

Reads ace mate

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217


LOL. That will teach me to do a better read of my own stuff! Thanks. I'll change that to the right year.

War Tv: THE SILENT SERVICE "The Tshushima Straits Story" 1957


THE SILENT SERVICE "The Tshushima Straits Story" 1957

This is the 35th episode of the U.S. war series, "The Silent Service". The series was about the exploits of the U.S. Navy's submarine fleet. Each episode is a stand-alone tale of the actions of a particular submarine. Most of the stories are about actions against the Japanese Navy and merchant fleet in the Pacific. There is also the odd tale from the Korean conflict. The series ran for 78 episodes during 1957 and 1958. The stories were all based on actual events. Some pretty good attention to detail here with the U.S Navy allowing filming on several WW 2 era Gato class subs.

Each episode started and ended with retired Real Admiral Thomas M. Dykers giving a breakdown of the action. Dykers became a writer, producer and technical adviser after leaving the service. He worked on films such as, TORPEDO ALLEY, FLAT TOP, THE FROGMEN, HELL AND HIGH WATER and SUBMARINE COMMAND.

This episode is not about any particular submarine. It is the story US Navy Admiral Charles A. Lockwood. Lockwood was in charge of a group of civilian scientists out to develop an electronic means to detect floating and submerged mines. This would allow US Navy submarines a chance to enter protected harbours and bases.

The work goes on for 2 years before a working example can be tested. The sea trails of the device do not go well, with more failures than successes. At the last minute some faulty wires are discovered to be the cause of the failed tests.

In June 1945, a wolf pack of 9 US submarines is assembled and sent to the dangerous waters of the Tshusima Straits. The wolf pack successfully infiltrates the dense minefields and wreaks havoc on the Japanese merchant fleet. The device is declared a winner.

Re: War Tv: THE SILENT SERVICE "The Tshushima Straits Story" 1957

The Silent Service (1957) - The Tshushima Straits Story (1957)

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217




This 1961 UK production takes place during World War two in the Burmese jungle. The film stars, Richard Todd, Richard Harris, David McCallum, Laurence Harvey, Ronald Fraser, John Rees, John Meillon and Kenji Takaki.

Richard Todd is in charge of a squad testing some "sonic" warfare gear in the Burmese Jungle. The equipment, loudspeakers etc is to be used to fool Japanese about troop movements etc. The tests are not going well and Todd orders the squad deeper into the jungle to try a diff location.

The squad is made up of a group of men who all have a beef with each other, the jungle and the army in general. The biggest arse of the group is played by, Laurence Harvey. Harvey would much rather be home in London than rotting in the jungle. He makes sure everyone knows his views on everything. This in particular rubs the unit corporal, Richard Harris the wrong way.

The squad holes up in an abandoned tin mine to get out of the daily rains. The close quarters, of course brings out the worst in the bunch. They are soon at each other over everything. (The stage origins of the film are evident as the scenes are quite heavy with dialogue) There is even a fight between Harvey and Ronald Fraser.

David McCallum, the man in charge of the radio gear, picks up a Japanese signal. McCallum figures from the strength of said signal, that the Japanese are very close. Just then, a single Japanese scout wanders into the area of the mine. The man, Kenji Takaki, is captured when he enters the building the men are hiding in.

Sgt Todd sends several of the men, Fraser and Meillon out to have a look further up the trail. Todd figures it is time for the squad to hightail it back to headquarters. The news about the Japanese being this close needs to be turned in. The squad radio is having trouble reaching to the British camp.

Fraser and Meillon are soon back to report to Todd that there are indeed Japanese troops coming. They had a run in with two of the Japanese, killing one. Todd orders all to grab their stuff for a bug out. Todd had originally wanted to take the prisoner along, but now decides it will just slow them down. Of course there is an argument about who is to kill the Japanese soldier.

They drag the man along planning to dump him up the trail a piece. Now they find that the escape route they planned on using is flooded from the afternoon rain. The squad will need to wait a few hours for the water level to drop before continuing. This of course leads to more bickering among the squad.

By the time the squad gets a move on, the Japanese advance forces have closed in. Todd fights a rear guard action while he sends Harris and the rest forward. Harris and the others however run right into an ambush and are shot up. Harris, though wounded, staggers back to where Todd is firing on the Japanese. The Japanese though are far too many and the entire patrol is wiped out.


The Long and the Short and the Tall (1961)

I have this somewhere, it was given away free with a newspaper

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

RUN SILENT RUN DEEP 1958 Entertaining Submarine film



Burt Lancaster and Clark Gable headline this film about obsession set on a submarine in World War 2. Clark Gable plays a submarine Captain who lost his boat to a Japanese destroyer in the Bungo Strait area separating the Japanese islands of Kyushu and Shikoku. Gable has spent the year since at a desk in Pearl Harbor. Gable manages to wangle the command of a submarine coming to Pearl.

This causes hard feelings with the submarines second in command, Burt Lancaster. Lancaster had been in line to take over the boat. Lancaster asks for a transfer to another boat but is denied. He does not like it, but he will follow Gable's orders. Gable turns out to be a hard task master and has the crew drilling day in and day out. Gable wants the submarine to be able to dive and take a torpedo shot inside a set time.

The crew is less than amused with the constant drills and think Gable is a bit of a flake. They are sure Gable is also a coward when he refuses to attack a Japanese submarine they spot one night. That soon changes when they come on a Japanese tanker and its destroyer escort. The drills show quick results with the submarine sinking the tanker and its escort.

Gable now changes his operational orders and heads back to the Bungo Strait. He wants a bit of revenge against the destroyer that had sunk his earlier command. The destroyer has earned the nickname, "Bungo Pete" after sinking three more American submarines.

Needless to say this soon leads to a battle between "Bungo Pete" and the American sub. Gable, Lancaster and company manage to eliminate said Japanese destroyer. But it turns out that the Japanese have been playing a rigged deck. They have had a submarine of their own trailing the convoys. This sub has been knocking off the American subs. There is now a game of cat and mouse between the two vessels before the American's get in a well-placed torpedo.

Gable, who had been badly wounded in the fight, dies and is buried at sea as the Americans return to Pearl Harbor.

While it might seem a bit dated to some viewers, it does pack an emotional punch. The inter-play between the two leads is quite good with Lancaster in particular shining. Also in the mix cast wise, is, Brad Dexter, Nick Cravat, Jack Warden and Don Rickles in his big screen debut.

The director here is two time Oscar winner, Robert Wise. Wise keeps things moving along nicely with help from cinematographer, Russell Harlan. Harlan lensed such films as, A WALK IN THE SUN, RED RIVER, GUN CRAZY, THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD, THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE, WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION, HATARI, RIO BRAVO and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Adding to the film's mood is the deep rumbling score by Franz Waxman. Waxman was nominated for an Oscar, ten times, winning an even pair.

The writer of the novel, Edward L Beach was a highly decorated submarine officer during WW2.

Re: RUN SILENT RUN DEEP 1958 Entertaining Submarine film

Run Silent Run Deep (1958)

A taut and tight suspense piece with acting gravitas. It's steadily directed and the screenplay plays it straight, with no histrionics. The dual characterisations played by Clark and Burt are potent in their polar opposite beliefs. Good action but ultimately it's a fine character piece.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

DIVISIONE FOLGORE (Folgore Division) aka (El-Alamein) 1955


DIVISIONE FOLGORE (Folgore Division) aka (El-Alamein) 1955

This 1955 Italian production is based on real events and tells the story of Italy's 185th Airborne Division, Folgore.

The film starts out in 1941 with men from all branches of the Italian Forces volunteering for selection to an elite Division. The men are put through months of intense training leaving only the best. They are now ready for combat.

The scuttlebutt is that they will be joining with some German Fallschirmjaeger in an assault on the British held island of Malta. The division is loaded onto aircraft and sets off. The rumours turn out to be wrong as the Division ends up in North Africa. They are then trucked up to the front at El-Alamein.

The Axis attack toward the Suez Canal has stalled and they are now on the defensive. The paratroopers are to be employed as ground infantry on a section of the line. They are soon up to their eyeballs in sand, wind and the swarms of flies that are the norm in the desert.

Most of the time is just spent sitting in their dugouts waiting. The boredom is occasionally shattered by a British artillery round or a fighter-bomber attack. The Division scores an early success when a night patrol captures a battery of British 25 pounder guns. These are quickly put into service by the new owners.

On October 24th, the British and Allied forces launch their counter attack on the Axis line. Three British Divisions, including the famous, 7th Armored (Desert Rats) Division are sent against the Italian held area. The attack was expected to roll over the Italians and flank the German parts of the line.

The Folgore though applies a rude shock to the attackers. The Division is lavishly equipped with automatic weapons like the excellent Beretta model 38 sub-machine gun. This allows the paratroopers to inflict heavy losses on the British. The British pull back and regroup before coming on again.

The Italians hold out till November 4 before being overran. Except for a handful on men, the Division is destroyed with high casualties in killed and captured.

The cast includes, Ettore Manni, Jose Jaspe, Fausto Tozzi, Monica Clay, Aldo Bufi Landi and Mario Girotti. Mario Girotti would become a big international star in spaghetti westerns under the name, Terence Hill. (My Name is Trinity)

The film's director was Duilio Coletti. Of note here is the film's music composer, Nino Rota. Rota won an Oscar for his work on THE GODFATHER part II.

A very interesting film with plenty of excellent detail to Italian weapons etc. The use of real Savoia-Marchetti -82 paratroop transports was great to see. Several dozen of these survived WW2 and served into the mid 1960's. This film is well worth a watch if you can find a copy.

Re: DIVISIONE FOLGORE (Folgore Division) aka (El-Alamein) 1955

Well it sounds better than the 'El Alamein' movie they did in 1969; while it wasn't too goofy, that little 'pirouette' each Italian did when he got shot & died was a bit distracting--and let's not forget Michael Rennie who really looked a lot like Monty.

But for me the real fun thing as a guy named 'Robert Hosseinoff' playing Rommel.

Why can't you wretched prey creatures understand that the Universe doesn't owe you anything!?

Re: DIVISIONE FOLGORE (Folgore Division) aka (El-Alamein) 1955

LOL That 1969 mess is just a terrible film. This one is quite entertaining.

Re: DIVISIONE FOLGORE (Folgore Division) aka (El-Alamein) 1955

Divisione Folgore (1955)

Great snag, first review, well done Gord

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217




This film was released as a two part mini-series in 2011. The film is about the sinking of the RMS Laconia by a German U-boat during World War Two. The film tells the story from several different points of view. The RMS Laconia was a Cunard passenger liner being used by the Royal Navy as a troopship. On 12 September, 1942, the ship was torpedoed 600 miles off the West African coast by U-156. The ship was carrying 80 civilians, 268 British troops, 160 Polish soldiers and 1800 Italian prisoners of war.

The U-boat, surfaced after the attack and finding women, children and Italian POWS, began rescue operations. U-156 was soon swarming with survivors. The submarine took lifeboats in tow when room ran out on board the U-boat. The U-boat radioed headquarters for help in the rescue.

Several other submarines, including an Italian one joined the rescue. Several Vichy French ships also joined. The rescue mission was interrupted by a bombing run made by an American B-24.

Quite a few of the survivors were transferred to the Vichy ships and landed in Casablanca. (They were soon free after the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942. The British officers were kept on board the U-boasts and landed in France as POW's.

The film follows several of the ships passengers, ship's officers, Italian POW's and the officers and men of the U-boat. The cast includes, Brian Cox, Franka Potente, Ken Duken, Morven Christie, Andrew Buchan, Lindsay Duncan and Thomas Kretschmann.

Franka Potente is a German who has escaped from Germany and was making her way to England. Brian Cox is the Captain of the Laconia, Ken Duken is U-156's Captain, Thomas Kretschmann plays German Admiral, Donitz. Andrew Buchan is one of the Laconia officers in charge of the Italian POWS.

The various characters are shown as the ship sinks and some are rescued. Others end up sailing for the coast of Africa. (which several lifeboats reached) The Germans for once are not shown as blood thirsty madmen.

Well worth a watch if you are looking for something a bit different. The mini-series was a co-production between the BBC and German Television. The director was Uwe Janson and the story was supplied by Alan Bleasdale.

The Laconia was the second Cunard liner of that name. The first was sunk by a U-boat in World War One. This WW2 incident caused German Admiral Donitz to issue the LACONIA DIRECTIVE. This was a general order for U-boats not to stop to pick up survivors.


I thought I'd seen it, when I saw Franka Potente in there, I knew I had..