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Up Periscope

4.3 out of 5 stars 198 customer reviews

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(Dec 19, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Up Periscope (DVD)

James Garner, in one his earliest starring roles, is Lt. J.G. Kenneth M. Braden, and elite U.S. solder during World War II. After being reluctantly pulled away from a week-long romance, Braden is given the dangerous mission of infiltrating a Japanese-held island. He must scuba ashore, and alone behind enemy lines, capture a top secret radio code before escaping to an awaiting U.S. submarine.

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Anyone with a fondness for the conventions of the submarine picture will be content with the modest pleasures of Up Periscope, a World War II melodrama starring James Garner in one of his early Maverick-era roles. Pulled away from a week-long romance, Garner tags along with the sub to a Japanese-held island, where he will SCUBA ashore and copy a secret radio code. On top of the reliable suspense of a man alone behind enemy lines, the film also offers captain Edmond O'Brien, whose previous mission has his crew suspecting him of cowardice. Will he cut and run before Garner returns to the submarine? Director Gordon Douglas made a batch of entertaining pictures over the years (a bunch of Sinatra titles, the giant-bug classic Them!, In Like Flint) and he coolly finds some effective ways to photograph men in the close quarters of a sub. The main draw is James Garner in his youthful prime; even if the movie doesn't exploit his comic talent, it shows how effortlessly he connects with an audience. The supporting cast consists of the kind of actors who inevitably seem to people a WWII ship's crew: solid character actors (Alan Hale Jr., who performed similar undersea duties in Destination Tokyo), oddballs and one-offs (Frank Gifford, Edd "Kooky" Byrnes), and future names (Warren Oates). --Robert Horton

Special Features

  • Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Alan Hale Jr., Edmond O'brien, James Garner, Frank Gifford
  • Directors: Gordon Douglas
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    G
    General Audience
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: December 19, 2006
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (198 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JN9P
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,533 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Up Periscope" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: DVD Verified 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.
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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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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.
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