Run Silent Run Deep (1958)

93 mins | Drama | April 1958

Director:

Robert Wise

Writer:

John Gay

Producer:

Harold Hecht

Cinematographer:

Russell Harlan

Editor:

George Boemler

Production Designer:

Edward Carrere
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HISTORY

Following an onscreen title card denoting that the setting is 1942, in the Bungo Straits off the coast of Japan, a brief sequence unfolds that in which "P. J. Richardson's" submarine is sunk by a Japanese destroyer. The credits then appear, followed by the main story, which takes place approximately one year later. The following written statement appears at the film's conclusion: "Our appreciation to the Department of Defense, the United States Navy, and the officers and men of submarine Flotilla 1 for the cooperation extended." Although most contemporary reviews refer to the film as Run Silent, Run Deep , the onscreen title contains no punctuation. The film’s production company, Jeffrey Productions, Inc., was a subsidiary of Hecht-Hill-Lancaster, headed by producer Harold Hecht, writer James Hill and actor Burt Lancaster.
       According to a May 1955 DV news item, the purchase of Commander Edward L. Beach’s novel, Run Silent, Run Deep marked the first time that United Artists acquired a property outright with production assignment to be arranged later. Previously, the company had aligned with independent filmmakers who already had developed their own story properties. According to Sep 1955 HR and LAT reports, Cary Grant was to star in Run Silent Run Deep , which was to be directed by Delmer Daves. Grant and Daves previously had teamed for the Warner Bros. 1944 World War II submarine drama Destination Tokyo (see above). A 22 May 1957 HR news item states that Nigel Balchin was writing the screenplay with John Gay, who is credited onscreen as ... More Less

Following an onscreen title card denoting that the setting is 1942, in the Bungo Straits off the coast of Japan, a brief sequence unfolds that in which "P. J. Richardson's" submarine is sunk by a Japanese destroyer. The credits then appear, followed by the main story, which takes place approximately one year later. The following written statement appears at the film's conclusion: "Our appreciation to the Department of Defense, the United States Navy, and the officers and men of submarine Flotilla 1 for the cooperation extended." Although most contemporary reviews refer to the film as Run Silent, Run Deep , the onscreen title contains no punctuation. The film’s production company, Jeffrey Productions, Inc., was a subsidiary of Hecht-Hill-Lancaster, headed by producer Harold Hecht, writer James Hill and actor Burt Lancaster.
       According to a May 1955 DV news item, the purchase of Commander Edward L. Beach’s novel, Run Silent, Run Deep marked the first time that United Artists acquired a property outright with production assignment to be arranged later. Previously, the company had aligned with independent filmmakers who already had developed their own story properties. According to Sep 1955 HR and LAT reports, Cary Grant was to star in Run Silent Run Deep , which was to be directed by Delmer Daves. Grant and Daves previously had teamed for the Warner Bros. 1944 World War II submarine drama Destination Tokyo (see above). A 22 May 1957 HR news item states that Nigel Balchin was writing the screenplay with John Gay, who is credited onscreen as the screenwriter.
       HR news items add the following actors to the cast: Albert Salmi, Robert Vaughan, Vince Edwards, Jim Murdock, Vince Williams, Joe Kelsay, Russell Thorson, Jimmy Hayes, Patrick Colby, Paul Busch, Rollin Moriyama, Dale Ishimoto, Jim Yanagi, Joe Awaki, Robert Kino, Jack Sterling, Joe Brooks, Roger Terry, William Angelo, Bob Moechel and Teru Shimada. Salmi, Vaughan and Edwards were not identifiable in the viewed print, and the the appearance of the other actors in the final film has not been confirmed. The film was shot in part on location at a naval base in San Diego, CA. An Aug 1957 HR news item indicates that some location filming was to be done on board the U.S.S. Redfish .
       Nick Cravat, a longtime personal friend of Lancaster, had appeared in numerous films with the star and was known for never speaking a line. Following a reconciliation of the friends after a long estrangement, Cravat reunited with Lancaster in Run Silent Run Deep , in which his character, "Russo," had several lines of dialogue and provided comic relief.
       A Sep 1957 LAT article reported that the Navy Department had shipped more than $500,000 worth of instruments and equipment for use in the submarine interior sets for Run Silent Run Deep , resulting in no "mock-ups" or "dummy" instruments being used in the underwater combat scenes. According to an Apr 1958 LAT article, Run Silent Run Deep was the first film to have an underwater submarine premiere, when the film was shown to a group of navy and press guests aboard the U.S.S. Perch just off Terminal Island in the Pacific. A modern source adds Wayne Dahmer to the cast and Robert J. Schiffer ( Makeup artist ) and Irving J. Moore ( Asst dir ) to the crew. According to modern sources, after constant script rewrites throughout production, co-producers Hill and Lancaster decided to re-edit the film after director Robert Wise submitted his cut, prompting Wise to withdraw completely from post-production. A 1965 DV news item indicates that a television series based on the movie was being considered, but the show was never produced. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
31 Mar 1958.
---
Daily Variety
25 May 1955.
---
Daily Variety
24 Mar 58
p. 3.
Daily Variety
24 Dec 1965.
---
Film Daily
24 Mar 58
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Sep 1955
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
22 May 1957
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jul 1957
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Aug 1957
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Aug 1957
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Aug 1957
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Sep 1957
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Sep 1957
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Sep 1957
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Sep 1957
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Sep 1957
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Sep 1957
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Sep 1957
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Oct 1957
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Oct 1957
pp. 2-3.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Oct 1957
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Nov 1957
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Nov 1957
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Nov 1957
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Nov 1957
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Nov 1957
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Dec 1957
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Dec 1957
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Dec 1957
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Feb 1958
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Mar 58
p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner
19 Jul 1957.
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Los Angeles Times
16 Sep 1955.
---
Los Angeles Times
15 Sep 1957.
---
Los Angeles Times
1 Apr 1958.
---
New York Times
28 Mar 58
p. 29.
Variety
26 Mar 58
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Presented by Hecht, Hill and Lancaster
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
Scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Cam op
Asst cam
2d unit photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Ed supv
Asst ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec prod mgr
Prod asst
Prod asst
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Run Silent, Run Deep by Commander Edward L. Beach (New York, 1955).
DETAILS
Release Date:
April 1958
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 27 March 1958
Production Date:
16 September--late November 1957 at Samuel Goldwyn Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Jeffrey Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
27 March 1958
Copyright Number:
LP10310
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
93
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18982
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1942, in the Bungo Straits near the coast of Japan, a U.S. Naval submarine captained by Commander "P. J." Richardson is sunk by the Japanese destroyer Akikaze . Richardson, who is among the survivors, spends the next year stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Learning from his yeoman, Mueller, that the fourth submarine sent into the Bungo Straits has been destroyed by the Akikaze , Richardson resolves to request a return to sea duty. Soon after, the submarine Nerka arrives at Pearl Harbor. Because the Nerka ’s captain has been injured, the ship’s executive officer, Lt. James Bledsoe, expects to assume command. After Bledsoe receives orders to remain “exec” to Richardson, who has been assigned to captain the Nerka , Bledsoe confronts Richardson at his home, but Richardson flatly refuses Bledsoe’s demand to be relieved. After the Nerka returns to sea with its new captain, the crew is soon dismayed to learn they have been assigned to patrol Area 7, which contains the Bungo Straits. Richardson’s demanding, precision drills heighten the crew’s anxiety until Bledsoe informs them that their orders ... +


In 1942, in the Bungo Straits near the coast of Japan, a U.S. Naval submarine captained by Commander "P. J." Richardson is sunk by the Japanese destroyer Akikaze . Richardson, who is among the survivors, spends the next year stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Learning from his yeoman, Mueller, that the fourth submarine sent into the Bungo Straits has been destroyed by the Akikaze , Richardson resolves to request a return to sea duty. Soon after, the submarine Nerka arrives at Pearl Harbor. Because the Nerka ’s captain has been injured, the ship’s executive officer, Lt. James Bledsoe, expects to assume command. After Bledsoe receives orders to remain “exec” to Richardson, who has been assigned to captain the Nerka , Bledsoe confronts Richardson at his home, but Richardson flatly refuses Bledsoe’s demand to be relieved. After the Nerka returns to sea with its new captain, the crew is soon dismayed to learn they have been assigned to patrol Area 7, which contains the Bungo Straits. Richardson’s demanding, precision drills heighten the crew’s anxiety until Bledsoe informs them that their orders forbid them to enter the straits. After a week of intensive drilling, the crew responds excitedly when a Japanese submarine is sighted, but are perplexed when Richardson refuses to engage the enemy ship. During a rapid dive drill, sailor Russo is accidentally trapped on the deck while emptying garbage and barely survives. When Richardson questions Bledsoe about the laxness of the crew, the exec informs him that the men have lost their respect for him because of his refusal to attack the enemy. Richardson doubles the drills and, a few days later, when the Nerka sights a tanker and a destroyer, orders the submarine into combat. Under Richardson’s guidance, the Nerka destroys the tanker from the surface, then purposely lures the destroyer toward the submarine, which then executes a precision shallow dive that allows the crew to shoot torpedoes directly into the enemy ship’s bow. The crew are greatly cheered by their successful attack, but later confounded when Richardson purposely evades a Japanese convoy the next day. Suspicious when Richardson orders a change of course, Bledsoe discovers the commander is taking the Nerka into the Bungo Straits. When challenged, Richardson reminds Bledsoe that a captain has discretion to change orders if it becomes advantageous to do so. Richardson insists that the Nerka crew has proven their ability to master the tricky, dangerous “down-the-throat” bow shot that will be necessary to sink the Akikaze . Bledsoe angrily accuses Richardson of senselessly risking the lives of the crew and threatens to bring charges against him if he fails. Shortly after the crew has been informed of the change in orders, Lt. j.g. Gerald Cartwright and several officers propose to Bledsoe that he relieve Richardson. Although the officers cite naval regulations, Bledsoe instantly quashes the plan, telling them it is their duty to follow their captain where ever he leads them. After days of scouting, the Nerka sights the Akikaze escorting a supply convoy. The submarine lures the destroyer by sinking two freighter ships, but as the Akikaze closes in on the Nerka , enemy bomber planes attack, forcing Richardson to order an early dive. After the Nerka torpedoes just miss the Akikaze , a wild torpedo circles back toward the Nerka , forcing evasive maneuvers. The Akikaze then drops depth charges on the Nerka , causing damage in the forward torpedo room. Richardson investigates and is knocked unconscious when a series of depth charges explode simultaneously outside the submarine’s hull. Upon reviving, Richardson orders the jettisoning of debris, including the bodies of the crew killed in the attack in hopes that the Akikaze will believe the submarine destroyed. The ruse works, but Richardson, Bledsoe and the men are puzzled by an indecipherable Morse code message heard just after the Akikaze ceases its attack. When Medic Hendrix states that Richardson has suffered a severe concussion that needs immediate care, the commander orders him not to reveal the information. Richardson summons Bledsoe, who is stunned when the commander directs him to resume their search for the Akikaze after two days of mandatory repairs. Bledsoe refuses, assumes command and orders the ship to return to Pearl Harbor. The crew is relieved to be returning to port, but are disturbed by Bledsoe’s agitation. Two days later, in the officer’s mess hall, Bledsoe and the others are startled when a broadcast by Tokyo Rose laments the loss of the Nerka and names several lost officers and men, calling Mueller “Kraut,” a nickname recently applied to him by Cartwright, who wrote it on a scrap piece of paper. Bledsoe abruptly questions several members of the crew then visits the ailing Richardson, who deduces that Bledsoe intends to return to the straits. Bledsoe reveals that he has concluded that the Japanese have been able to locate the submarines because they have been retrieving the submarines’ garbage sacks. Bledsoe points out that because the Japanese believe the Nerka destroyed, the submarine now has a legitimate attack advantage. Bledsoe then orders the Nerka back to the Bungo Straits in time to intercept the next supply convoy. As the submarine engages the freighter to draw in the Akikaze , Richardson slips in and out of consciousness, fretting over the Morse code signal. The Nerka crew successfully blow up the Akikaze using Richardson’s shallow dive maneuver, but are confused when they detect a torpedo coming at them. Richardson then revives and orders the ship to crash dive, informing Bledsoe that the Morse code has emanated from a Japanese submarine working in tandem with the Akikaze . The Nerka evades the torpedo, then attempts to silently wait out the Japanese submarine while both are deep undersea. Knowing that waiting is a weak gamble, Richardson tells Bledsoe that with the Akikaze destroyed, the convoy’s only defense is the submarine, so Bledsoe orders the Nerka to surface and attack the convoy, thus forcing the enemy submarine to the surface. The ploy works and Bledsoe turns over the helm to Richardson for the successful attack on the submarine. After the attack, Richardson collapses and later dies. Bledsoe then leads the burial at sea service for the Nerka ’s commander. +

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

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