I love a good submarine movie, and TORPEDO RUN (1958), just released on DVD by the Warner Archive, is a very well-done entry in the genre.
TORPEDO RUN was released by the Archive as part of a "wave" of half a dozen Glenn Ford films. Ford plays Lt. Cmdr. Barney Doyle, whose submarine the Grey Fish has been hunting for the Japanese aircraft carrier Shinaru. In an attempt to sink the Shinaru, the Grey Fish unintentionally sinks a Japanese transport ship which was carrying prisoners of war from the Philippines -- including Doyle's wife (Diane Brewster) and little girl (Kimberly Beck).
The Shinaru gets away from that incident, but the grief-stricken Doyle proves to be relentless in his search for the carrier.
This is a very good, absorbing film, balancing psychological drama with great submarine action sequences. Doyle's wife and daughter are seen in a couple of flashback sequences, but the viewer is spared seeing them in the hands of the Japanese, which makes watching the story easier to bear. Ford is excellent in an intense role as a man juggling life and death decisions while coming to grips with personal loss.
The action sequences include an ingenious plan to escape Tokyo Bay by making the Japanese think the sub has hit a mine, and a nerve-wracking final sequence when the crew must exit their mortally wounded submarine to be rescued by the U.S. submarine Blue Fin, whose commander is played by William Schallert.
The cast is simply terrific. Ernest Borgnine plays Doyle's loyal lieutenant, who delays accepting his own command in order to continue serving under Doyle for one more trip. Dean Jones and Paul Picerni head up the other officers.
Hardy also gets one of the best lines. As the submarine takes on water near the end, he's asked if he's ever felt anything that cold. Ever stiff upper lipped, he wryly responds, "Yes, Brighton in August!" His charismatic and somewhat unique character adds a great deal to the film.
It was also fun to see Al Freeman, Jr. pop up among the Grey Fish's integrated crew. Crew members also included Frank Gorshin, Biff Elliott (I, THE JURY), L.Q. Jones, and Fredd Wayne. I missed spotting Robert Reed. Philip Ober plays the admiral.
TORPEDO RUN was directed by Joseph Pevney, who also directed the well-done WWII film AWAY ALL BOATS (1956).
The screenplay was by Richard Sale and William Wister Haines, based on Sale's stories. The film runs 98 minutes.
The Warner Archive DVD shows off George Folsey's CinemaScope photography and the film's Oscar-nominated special effects to great effect in a beautiful print. The DVD includes the trailer.
Fans of Glenn Ford and submarine movies will especially enjoy this film, but it's a good flick which should appeal to wider audiences as well. Recommended.
Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered at the Warner Archive website.