🎥 Run Silent, Run Deep – 1958
The Story …
A World War II US Navy submarine officer, Commander P.J. Richardson (Clark Gable), is determined to get revenge on the Japanese destroyer Akikaze and its captain, nicknamed “Bungo Pete”, who has sunk four US submarines in the Bungo Straits, including his previous command.
He persuades the Navy Board to give him a new submarine command with the provision that his executive officer be someone who has just returned from active sea patrol.
He single-mindedly trains the crew of his new boat, the USS Nerka, to return to the Bungo Straits and sink Bungo Pete, in spite of the Navy having expressly forbidden him from approaching the Bungo Straits on this mission …
Richardson’s executive officer, Lieutenant Jim Bledsoe (Burt Lancaster), is worried about the safety of his boat and his crew. He also resents Richardson and the Navy leadership for denying him command of the Nerka, which he believes should have been his.
Richardson begins to rigorously drill the crew on a rapid bow shot: Firing at the bow of an approaching ship, considered an act of desperation due to a vessel’s extremely narrow profile. He then bypasses one target, only to take on a Japanese destroyer with a bow shot.
The crew is outraged as they discover that Richardson is avoiding legitimate targets to enter the Bungo Straits undetected in direct violation of his mission orders.
Finally, they come upon a large convoy. Soon after blowing up a cargo ship and then engaging Bungo Pete, they are attacked by aircraft that had been alerted to their presence and were waiting in ambush. They are forced to dive and barely survive depth charges. Three of the crew are killed, and Richardson suffers an incapacitating concussion.
The submarine also narrowly dodges what the crew mistakenly believes is one of their own torpedoes doubling back on them. By sending up blankets, equipment, and the bodies of the dead, they convince the Japanese that the submarine has been sunk. Bledsoe uses Richardson’s injury to assume command and set course for Pearl Harbor.
While listening to Tokyo Rose proclaiming the sinking of their boat, several crewmen are mystified about how the Japanese are able to identify several of them by name. Bledsoe realizes that the Japanese have analyzed their floating trash, so he decides to turn that to his advantage. Since the Japanese believe the Nerka has been sunk, he returns to the Bungo Straits to fight the Akikaze, which the submarine sinks with a bow shot, only to be attacked again by a mystery torpedo.
Richardson deduces that the Akikaze was not working alone to sink US submarines, but was in concert with a Japanese submarine. He orders the boat into a dive just seconds before a Japanese torpedo races by.
After a brief underwater standoff, Bledsoe realizes that with the Akikaze gone, the Japanese sub must defend its convoy; by attacking the convoy, the Nerka forces its adversary to surface, and destroys it by firing torpedoes under a shallow-draft ship. Richardson then collapses on the bridge, dies, and is buried at sea.
- Directed by Robert Wise
- Screenplay by John Gay
- Based on Run Silent, Run Deep by Edward L. Beach, Jr.
- Produced by Harold Hecht
- Cinematography : Russell Harlan
- Edited by George Boemler
- Music by Franz Waxman
- Production Company : Hecht-Hill-Lancaster
- Distributed by United Artists
- Release Date : March 27, 1958
- Clark Gable as Commander P.J. “Rich” Richardson
- Burt Lancaster as Lieutenant Jim Bledsoe
- Jack Warden as Yeoman 1st Class “Kraut” Mueller
- Brad Dexter as Ensign Gerald Cartwright
- Don Rickles as Quartermaster 1st Class Ruby
- Nick Cravat as Russo
- Joe Maross as Chief Petty Officer Kohler
- Mary LaRoche as Laura Richardson
- Eddie Foy III as Larto
- Rudy Bond as Sonarman 1st Class Cullen
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