The crew of jaded Robert Mitchum’s destroyer is bored. Their craving to see some action,any kind of action, is answered when they encounter a U-Boat captained by the disillusioned CurtJurgens. From this point on, the entire film consists of the battle between the two brilliantcaptains, each one anticipating the other’s moves.
The fact that Jurgens, thoroughly sick of the war and the Nazis, is so sympathetic has an oddeffect on the film’s suspense. On the one hand, t…e audience is deprived of an obvious side tocheer for. On the other hand, wanting both crews to come out alive feeds into the film’s concernswith the worst instincts of the human race, and whether we can escape the vicious cycle ofmutual destruction. The themes are rather too didactically expressed, but the tale is nonethelessentertaining.
The sound is in 4.0. While the 1957 film suffers from none of the problems that might arisefrom a stereo remix (there are inappropriate surround effects or wraparound voices), there is verylittle evidence of surround at all, with the exception of the music. Even climactic explosions arelimited to the front speakers. No surround is still better than bad surround, however.
The anamorphic transfer preserves the 2.35:1 Cinemascope aspect of the original film. Theprint is in good shape, with no speckling. There is some grain, especially in exterior shots. Theseare not as sharp as the interior scenes, as well. Still, the colours are very nice, and all in all thepicture is pretty good for a film that is almost 50 years old.
Three Movietone newsreels are the main feature here: “The War Situation,” “U-BoatCaptured by Biplane” and “Inside the German U-Boat Base at Lorient, France.” Clips that dealwith the time in which the film is set, in other words, rather than with the movie itself. Thetheatrical trailer and ads for the Fox War Classics series are also provided. The menu isbasic.
A solid war movie, which cuts to the chase, dispensing with any character sub-plots oncethe action begins. No titan of the field, but eminently watchable.
Special Features List
- 3 Movietone Newsreels
- Theatrical Trailer