Most helpful critical review
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Not A Bad War Film
on January 5, 2010
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.