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4.2 out of 5 stars
Up Periscope
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64 of 71 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon June 22, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
It seemed that ever since the release of 1957's THE ENEMY BELOW, World War II submarine movies enjoyed great popularity during the late 50s. This is one of the better ones directed by Gordon Douglas with stalwart James Garner and cautious Edmond O'Brien. The scenes around the Japanese held island are suspenseful and well filmed by Carl Guthrie. Richard Landau's screenplay is pretty faithful to the novel by Robb White. It also features Edd Byrnes, Alan Hale Jr. and one of my favorite actors Warren Oates.
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
PART OF THE ACTION SHOTS FOR THIS MOTION PICTURE WAS FILMED ABOARD THE USS TILEFISH (SS307) IN SAN DIEGO, CA. (1958). I WAS A YOUNG NINETEEN YEAR OLD WHITE HAT SAILOR THAT WAS IN AHA! NOT ONLY WERE THESE PEOPLE GREAT ACTORS - THESE ACTORS WERE GREAT PEOPLE. MAYBE I WAS TO CLOSE TO BE AN OBJECTIVE CRITIC, BUT I LOVED IT.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2010
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This little-remembered submarine drama was one of Garner's first big movie-star roles. Made by Warner Bros., the fact that Garner was then starring in "Maverick" on tv is prominently mentioned on the original poster artwork for the film that is featured on the dvd cover and the trailer for the film (introduced by the then- young James Garner.)
The bulk of the film is the submarine voyage taking Garner, an underwater demolitions expert and trained commando, to an island in Japanese territory where he is to retrieve some Japanese codebook. (Garner happens to speak Japanese as well.) The suspense is not only whether Garner will get what he came for, but whether the submarine Commander, Edmond O'Brien, will wait for him. To be honest the plot is fairly implausible. First of all, this is Garner's first mission and the mission seems next to impossible, you would think that the Navy would find a more experienced commando for the job. Secondly, submarine Commander O'Brien gives Garner a ridiculouly short amount of time to complete the mission. The part of the film where Garner gets to the island and sets about retrieving the codebook is suspenseful, but goes on much too long.
Still this is a fairly well-done film with some good submarine action and nicely filmed in color. Some other members of the crew include Edward Byrnes, soon to be Warner Bros. teen idol as Kookie on "77 Sunset Strip," and New York Giant football star and future husband of Kathie Lee Gifford, Frank Gifford, as well as an unbilled Warren Oates. Two other actors associated with being at sea also appear as part of the crew: Alan Hale, Jr., the skipper of "Gilligan's Island" and Henry Kulky, who 6 years later would become part of another submarine crew as Chief Curly Jones, the CPO of the Seaview on the first season of "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea." (Kulky passed away of a heart attack midway through his first and only season of Voyage.)
If you have a couple hours to kill and want to relax through a fairly interesting W.W.II drama, you could do a lot worse than this film.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
I bought this video because it appeared to be based on the book UP PERISCOPE writen by Robb White. I bought the book in about 1961 in grade school. I loved the book and read it several times. The movie has the same characters, Kenn Braden, Skipper Stevensen, Pat Malone, Si, etc. It roughly followed the book, except there was a big difference in one outcome. To be honest, I liked the book more, but I really enjoyed the movie. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had not read that book and tried to follow the two plots. It was a good movie, but, like the one goat said to the other goat as they were eating the film from a movie "I liked the book better!" Robb White also wrote a book called SECRET SEA, which I enjoyed almost as much as UP PERISCOPE.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
UP PERISCOPE IS A TOP NOTCH WORLD WAR II FILM STARRING JAMES GARNER & EDMOND O'BRIEN. WELL WORTH WATCHING. A TRUE FIND IF YOUR A WAR MOVIE BUFF LIKE ME.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2011
Format: DVD
As submarine movies go, UP PERISCOPE is one of the best. I'd say in the top five. Of course, RUN SILENT RUN DEEP is the very best of all submarine films and is the gold standards against all WWII films are measured against. (At least in your reviewer's humble opinion) Perhaps A BRIDGE TOO FAR is another
James Garner stars in UP PERISCOPE and is fairly early in his film career. He shows up and demonstrates that the man can act. It is strangely quite winning to see Garner without his customary mugging at the camera. Most of us love Garner's comic side in his film and television careers; but it seems in retrospect that we are missing out on Garner's ability to deliver great acting in drama.

As the story goes, interesting mission. Certain parts and details in the plot (a real submariner served as advisor) give this film a verisimilitude above most WWII for the times.

My standard complaint against most WWII films is that many average GI Joes act as if they are having a day at the carnival while engaging the enemy. I realize that during the war and quite a while afterward both filmmakers and the government didn't want the public at home to see how grim the circumstances were that their husbands, brothers and sons had to face; so actual battle scenes were toned down quite a bit--often times to the level of a complete lie. The truth is the casualty rate on the front lines was profoundly high in the several divisions. Those flyers in bombers over enemy territory and seaman in the silent service suffered horrific losses. As far as sub movies go, submariners typically remark that if depth charges really came as close as they show in these films, it would be unlikely the submarine would survive the attack. An equally standard objection is that it would be highly unlikely for a sub to run on the surface in daylight while in enemy waters. UP PERICOPE avoids these errors more than most other sub films. Simply turn off your usual critical B.S. detector you can get into a fine movie.

So, great film. Great Garner. I'd watch this on a lazy Sunday afternoon; maybe with my favorite brew or (surprise!) popcorn. You'll love UP PERISCOPE, too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
Up Periscope is a a World War II film with James Garner. Garner's mission is to infiltrate a Japanese held island to get a secret code book. He's under a lot of pressure and the submarine commander, a tough Edmond O'Brien, is a no nonsense commander. Garner is going in - alone - and unsure whether or not O'Brien is going to wait for him past his deadline. You can see why Garner became a movie star. His dashing good lucks and onscreen presence is strong. In addition, there are a few film stalwarts among the crew such as Alan Hale Jr. and a young Warren Oates.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2013
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Good movie, unique in plot with amicable cast. Nice to see supporting roles by a very young Warren Oates - Major Dundee, In the Heat Of The Night, The Wild Bunch, Dillinger, and Stripes. Edd 'Kookie' Byrnes of 77 Sunset Strip fame also in Rio Bravo, North To Alaska, and The Longest Day. Longtime character actor Alan Hale, jr. from I Wanted Wings, Destry, Hang 'Em High and, of course, 'The Skipper' from Gilligan's Island. Frank Gifford of football fame. Edmund O'Brien of Fighter Squadron, D.O.A., The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Birdman of Alcatraz, The Wild Bunch, and one of my personal favorite westerns 'Rio Conchos' also starring Richard Boone, Stuart Whitman & Tony Franciosa.

The transfer to DVD was apparently made from the original negatives. In Technicolor(though not three-strip), in contrasts of light/shadow; the colors are bright, vivid, sharp, life-like and detailed, reminiscent of a time when attention to these and true color meant something. The sound was crisp, clean, clear monaural from the original audio track.

Those at Warner Brothers responsible for this transfer deserve kudos for their efforts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2014
Format: DVD
got this move to watch thinking it was going to deal with submarine service....just the contrary...JAMES GARDNER played the underwater diver to SPY on the JAPÁNESE at a specific island containing a RADIO STATION for the japanese forces in the pacific ocean....this diver knew japanese and was to obtain the neccessary military code to dealing with standard shipping routes of japanese shipping heading to various locations in the pacific ocean....JAMES was to take pictures of this code so that it can be received by the US NAVAL FORCES OPERATING IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC OCEAN....and thereby trap the japanese naval forces into any traps set by the US NAVAL FORCES....
The submarine was just his transportation to and from this radio station island.....without being detected.....there was success in this movie....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2010
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Pretty pedestrian as war-flicks go, but a nice way to spend a couple of hours. Well acted, with good video scenery. This is the usual story about sneakiness, secrecy and stealth, with a twist of a little upheaval of authority and disunity of command. The suspense comes it while Garner sneaks into enemy territory underwater and is delayed returning to the waiting submarine - a submarine commanded by a by-the-book skipper who has little tolerance for special operations and vowed to leave Garner behind if he isn't back at the sub on time. Overall, a pretty enjoyable flick.
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