Run Silent, Run Deep

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RUN SILENT, RUN DEEP—who sank the Akikaze, with a bow-shot, in the Bungo Straits, in 1943?  If you answer  “Commander Clark Gable and Exec Burt Lancaster”, pour yourself a Scotch and settle in for another look at this 1958 men-at-war standby.

Short on jive, reasonably tense, well photographed in crisp b&w by Russell Harlan, directed in a torpedo straight line by Robert Wise, accented by a good score from Franz Waxman, the no-frills, no-bull 93-minute WW2 drama was written by John Gay, off the book by Edward L.Beach.

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Friction between the officers is the mainstay of this submarine staple, one of the best in its genre, thanks to the excellent performances of Gable and Lancaster as the old sea dog and hot young exec who don’t see eye to aye-aye on all that much. Pairing the aging King of Tinseltown with one of the 50s super-studs and giving them some Japanese destroyers to perforate was an effective showcase for both stars.

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The special effects are pretty good, though it’s obviously done with model mock-ups: the explosions engineered in the studio tank are impressive, with fine work from the sound unit.

Gable, 56, looks a bit tired, but his body movement is quick, the voice still authoritative as ever. Decent supporting cast: Jack Warden, Joe Maross, Brad Dexter, Don Rickles (his feature debut, at 32), Ken Lynch, Joel Fluellen and Nick Cravat. The movie made $5,500,000.

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