29 May 2005 | Doylenf
Wartime clash of the titans...Gable and Lancaster...
A submarine story that sticks to a simple "clash of wills" storyline without the inclusion of sub-plots and worn-out clichés that existed in so many WWII war stories is RUN SILENT, RUN DEEP. It proves without a doubt that CLARK GABLE and BURT LANCASTER were not only genuine classic stars but extremely good actors when given a solid script. And under Robert Wise's no nonsense direction, the cast of submarine sailors delivers the goods in realistic fashion, avoiding the sort of stereotypes often seen in these kind of war stories.
The main action involves Gable's revenge motif. He's like a Captain Ahab, fervently determined to sink the Japanese destroyer that took the lives of his former crew members a year earlier, just as Ahab ran after the whale. His motives are questioned by the man originally selected to be Captain, his second in command Burt Lancaster. It's the clash of wills between these strong personalities that gives the film its punch and keeps the situation tense and taut until the final battle.
Franz Waxman's score is almost non-existent, one of the chief shortcomings for me, as I always expect great things from Waxman. Here he opted for silence on the soundtrack when the situations get tense, as when the depth charges are sinking to the bottom of the ocean, barely missing the submarine. Perhaps this was a wise decision, since the sounds we do hear are those the sailors aboard the sub are experiencing while waiting tensely in their claustrophobic surroundings.
It's an admirable war film, graced by two excellent performances from Gable and Lancaster, both convincing in their display of authority and command. Although models are used in the battle scenes, all of the action looks very realistic thanks to some excellent B&W photography. Kudos to Robert Wise for keeping the whole story brisk and supercharged.
It never drags for a moment, as some of the other big wartime movies like DESTINATION TOKYO did. The script is taut and concise without resorting to any arbitrary love interest or humorous shenanigans which would have weakened the drama--and it's all told in a tense running time of 94 minutes.