Submarine Command (1951)

87 mins | Drama | November 1951

Director:

John Farrow

Producer:

Joseph Sistrom

Cinematographer:

Lionel Lindon

Editor:

Eda Warren

Production Designers:

Hal Pereira, Henry Bumstead

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was The Submarine Story . Opening credits include the following written acknowledgment: "This picture was photographed almost in its entirety aboard United States Naval vessels and in Naval shore installations. For making this possible, we gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of the United States Navy and the Department of Defense without which the picture could not have been made." The film opens with a brief voice-over narration describing the U.S. Navy's mothballed submarine fleet. Voice-over narration spoken by William Holden as his character "Commander Ken White" then is heard intermittently throughout the film.
       According to news items and Paramount publicity materials, contained in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library, Alan Ladd and John Lund were originally slated to star in the picture. Clint Dorrington, Fred Stephens and John Martin were announced as cast members in HR news items, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. HR news items note that location shooting took place in and around San Diego and the Mare Island Navy Base in Vallejo, CA. During World War II, Rear Admiral Thomas M. Dykers, who worked as a technical advisor and appeared in a small role in the film, commanded the U.S.S. Jack submarine and sank four Japanese tankers in a twenty-four hour period, according to Paramount publicity materials. Holden and Nancy Olson had previously appeared together in Paramount's 1950 film Sunset Blvd. and Force of Arms (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). Holden recreated his "Commander White" role for a 17 Nov 1952 ... More Less

The working title of this film was The Submarine Story . Opening credits include the following written acknowledgment: "This picture was photographed almost in its entirety aboard United States Naval vessels and in Naval shore installations. For making this possible, we gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of the United States Navy and the Department of Defense without which the picture could not have been made." The film opens with a brief voice-over narration describing the U.S. Navy's mothballed submarine fleet. Voice-over narration spoken by William Holden as his character "Commander Ken White" then is heard intermittently throughout the film.
       According to news items and Paramount publicity materials, contained in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library, Alan Ladd and John Lund were originally slated to star in the picture. Clint Dorrington, Fred Stephens and John Martin were announced as cast members in HR news items, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. HR news items note that location shooting took place in and around San Diego and the Mare Island Navy Base in Vallejo, CA. During World War II, Rear Admiral Thomas M. Dykers, who worked as a technical advisor and appeared in a small role in the film, commanded the U.S.S. Jack submarine and sank four Japanese tankers in a twenty-four hour period, according to Paramount publicity materials. Holden and Nancy Olson had previously appeared together in Paramount's 1950 film Sunset Blvd. and Force of Arms (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). Holden recreated his "Commander White" role for a 17 Nov 1952 Lux Radio Theatre version of the story, which co-starred Alexis Smith. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Sep 1951.
---
Daily Variety
29 Aug 51
p. 3.
Film Daily
29 Aug 51
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Dec 50
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Dec 50
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Dec 50
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jan 51
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jan 51
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jan 51
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jan 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jan 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jan 51
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Feb 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Feb 51
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
10 May 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Aug 51
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
29 Nov 1950.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
1 Sep 51
p. 998.
New York Times
19 Jan 1952.
p. 13.
Newsweek
12 Nov 1951.
---
Variety
29 Aug 51
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A John Farrow Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
Story and scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus score
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Submarine Story
Release Date:
November 1951
Production Date:
30 December 1950--mid February 1951
addl shooting mid May 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
1 November 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1266
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
87
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15224
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

While wandering through a mothballed Navy submarine, the U.S.S. Tiger Shark , Commander Ken White recalls the day he became the submarine's last captain: On 13 Aug 1945, in the waters of the Pacific war zone, Ken and the outgoing commander of the Tiger Shark , Josh Rice, are discussing the probable surrender of the Japanese when a downed Navy pilot is spotted. After the pilot, Lt. Commander Peter Morris, is rescued, the submarine encounters some Japanese ships and prepares to attack. Josh allows Ken, an Academy graduate with no combat experience, to issue orders, and under Ken's directions, the Tiger Shark cripples the Japanese vessels. When the submarine surfaces, however, a Japanese plane strafes the deck, and Josh is shot. The Tiger Shark then is hit by a Japanese destroyer, and to save the ship, Ken orders the submarine to crash dive, ignoring the protests of C. P. O. Boyer, who wants to rescue the stranded Josh. Soon after, Ken learns that the Japanese have surrendered and returns to pick up Josh. Josh cannot be found, however, and when the Tiger Shark later docks in California, a guilt-ridden Ken visits Josh's wife Alice and his father, Rear Admiral Joshua Rice. Although Alice and Joshua reassure Ken that he was right to put the safety of the ship first, Ken continues to be haunted by Josh's death. That night, Ken, his longtime girl friend Carol and the hard-drinking playboy Pete, whom Ken had befriended on the Tiger Shark , dine together at a nightclub. Despite his lingering depression, Ken accepts Carol's marriage proposal, and ... +


While wandering through a mothballed Navy submarine, the U.S.S. Tiger Shark , Commander Ken White recalls the day he became the submarine's last captain: On 13 Aug 1945, in the waters of the Pacific war zone, Ken and the outgoing commander of the Tiger Shark , Josh Rice, are discussing the probable surrender of the Japanese when a downed Navy pilot is spotted. After the pilot, Lt. Commander Peter Morris, is rescued, the submarine encounters some Japanese ships and prepares to attack. Josh allows Ken, an Academy graduate with no combat experience, to issue orders, and under Ken's directions, the Tiger Shark cripples the Japanese vessels. When the submarine surfaces, however, a Japanese plane strafes the deck, and Josh is shot. The Tiger Shark then is hit by a Japanese destroyer, and to save the ship, Ken orders the submarine to crash dive, ignoring the protests of C. P. O. Boyer, who wants to rescue the stranded Josh. Soon after, Ken learns that the Japanese have surrendered and returns to pick up Josh. Josh cannot be found, however, and when the Tiger Shark later docks in California, a guilt-ridden Ken visits Josh's wife Alice and his father, Rear Admiral Joshua Rice. Although Alice and Joshua reassure Ken that he was right to put the safety of the ship first, Ken continues to be haunted by Josh's death. That night, Ken, his longtime girl friend Carol and the hard-drinking playboy Pete, whom Ken had befriended on the Tiger Shark , dine together at a nightclub. Despite his lingering depression, Ken accepts Carol's marriage proposal, and the couple announces their engagement. Years later, Ken, who has been assigned to a desk job, is asked to escort a reporter around the base's mothballed submarine fleet, and is disturbed when the visitor makes a derogatory comment about the Tiger Shark 's last captain. Ken's guilt resurfaces, especially after he learns that the submarine is being recommissioned for service in the Korean War and he is to command it. During the vessel's reconditioning, a sailor is killed in a boiler room accident, and Boyer, who also has been reassigned to the Tiger Shark , once again blames Ken. Ken grows more and more depressed until Carol finally suggests that he quit the Navy. Ken then receives a job offer from a Portland electrical company, which Carol secretly has arranged, but just as he is about to resign from the Navy, he changes his mind, declaring that he cannot run away from his problems. Carol, however, is fed up and moves out. Soon after, Ken and the Tiger Shark are sailing toward North Korea to undertake a secret mission. On the way, Ken receives a letter from Carol, who is cordial but distant. Later, when Ken meets up with Pete on an aircraft carrier, he questions him about Carol's feelings, but Pete is evasive. Ken and Pete then are briefed on their mission, which involves destroying an air radar station in Point Nokomo and a telephone center in Koyasan, so that paratroopers can land and liberate intelligence officers from a prisoner of war camp. That night, while Ken remains on board, Pete and South Korean officer Maj. Kim slip into the Point Nokomo harbor on a raft, overpower the North Korean guards and plant explosives outside the radar station. Before the bombs go off, the Tiger Shark hurries to the mine-filled port of Nokomo and releases two frogmen, who plant explosives at the telephone center. Once Ken receives signals from Pete and the frogmen, the bombs are set off, and Ken orders the submarine to surface and sends an all-clear to his superiors. The Tiger Shark is spotted and attacked by North Korean shore batteries. After the submarine suffers severe damage, Ken instructs his crew to abandon ship, and while the men are clinging to life preservers, Boyer forgives Ken. Pete then tells Ken that Carol is pregnant, and months later, a reunited Ken and Carol happily christen a new Tiger Shark , as their baby looks on. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.