US Release Date: 03-27-1958
Directed by: Robert Wise
- Clark Gable, as
- Commander Richardson
- Burt Lancaster, as
- Lieutenant Jim Bledsoe
- Jack Warden, as
- Yeoman 1st Class Mueller
- Don Rickles, as
- Petty Officer 1st Class Ruby
- Brad Dexter, as
- Lt. Gerald Cartwright
- Nick Cravat, as
- Joe Maross, as
- Chief Kohler
- Mary LaRoche, as
- Laura Richardson
- Eddie Foy III, as
- Rudy Bond as
- Sonarman 1st Class Cullen
Burt Lancaster and Clark Gable in Run Silent, Run Deep.
There have been many submarine movies made. Most involve a conflict between the Captain and the Executive Officer. One of the first to do it is still one of the best, Run Silent, Run Deep.
Burt Lancaster plays Lt. Bledsoe who is just about to take command of a sub when he finds out that it is going to Commander Richardson, Clark Gable. Once the sub is at sea the Lt. and crew question the Commander's judgment. He passes by an easy target. The crew believes him to be a coward.
As the movie opened Commander Richardson was the captain of a different sub that gets sunk by a particular Japanese Destroyer. He passes up the chance to make the kill because he desperately wants to sink and get revenge on that Japanese Destroyer. It is selfish and it makes for a good argument between him and the Lt.
This is a good drama that has enough action to keep the pace moving well enough. U-571 owes a lot to this movie. It steals some similar plots and scenes. One important note is that the special effects are just as good in this film, made in 1958, as they are 40 years later in U-571. If the depth charges scenes in Run Silent, Run Deep were in color they would be just as realistic.
The cast is great. Gable has a role that actually required him to act. Other than an early scene with his wife his signature toothy grin is not to be found. This could be a sequel for From Here to Eternity for Burt Lancaster's character. Sure he is in a different branch of the service but in both films his character is popular with the men under his command. Also of note, Don Rickles has a small role as one of the crew. He doesn't have hair even then. Was this guy born bald?
A great cast in a great drama with good action. I know Patrick will smack me for this, but the one flaw is that this movie seems unoriginal because so many plot devices have been stolen from it over the years. I know Patrick, that shouldn't lessen my enjoyment of the movie, but everything gets dusty over time.
Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster in Run Silent, Run Deep.
You're right Eric, If I could reach through this computer I would smack you for judging a movie based on the fact that it has influenced later films. The reality that certain plot devices have been copied numerous times shouldn't be held against the movies that came before.
On the contrary it only adds to a movie's legacy if it has inspired other filmmakers. And although war movies set on a submarine had been around long before this one, Run Silent, Run Deep -thanks to the combined star power of Gable and Lancaster- casts a large shadow over the genre.
It was beautifully photographed and the f/x hold up quite well, as my brother wrote. The exterior shots of underwater subs was done by filming miniatures at Salton Sea in Southern California. This was cutting edge technology at the time. The naval submarine base in San Diego stood in for Pearl Harbor.
The interior sub scenes were very authentic. These were filmed on a sound stage utilizing half a million dollars worth of actual United States Navy equipment on loan. All those gadgets, gauges and dials are the real deal. Likewise director Robert Wise had his crew drill with actual Navy personnel so as to be able to realistically recreate their duties when under attack.
By all accounts Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster didn't get along during the making of this film. This can be partly explained by the fact that Lancaster was also producing the film and Gable -being the Hollywood legend that he was- absolutely refused to work past 5:00pm. He would walk out in the middle of a scene if necessary, then retire to his dressing room for a libation or two.
Fortunately this tension between them was just what the story called for. I'm sure it enhanced Lancaster's performance in the scenes where he is angry at Gable's character. Both men give solid turns, but it is Gable that you remember.
The story is filled with tense action, in particular the depth charge scenes Eric mentioned. It really seems as if the sub will break apart at any moment. The ending, which I won't give away, is both poignant and fitting.
Eric, you wrote that Burt Lancaster plays a similar character to the one he played in From Here to Eternity. I agree. But you didn't mention that in both movies Jack Warden plays his subordinate. This was Don Rickles' movie debut. He underplays his lines so as not to sound like he's doing a comedy routine.
Run Silent, Run Deep was made near the end of Clark Gable's remarkable career. He was nearing 60 and the years were clearly written across his face. But somehow this weathered look only enhanced his stature. He had lost none of his bombastic way with a line but with age he achieved a certain gravitas, and his ability to convey emotion had only ripened over time. He remains the biggest reason to watch this movie.
Photos © Copyright United Artists (1958)