Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


THE ATOMIC SUBMARINE (1959). Director Spencer G. Bennet.

Something in the Arctic circle is destroying ships and submarines, so the atomic sub Tiger Shark is sent to investigate. Dick Foran is the captain of the ship, upon which we also find Commander "Reef" Holloway (Arthur Franz) and Dr. Carl Neilson (Brett Halsey), who operates a new "depth explorer" that figures in the action. Reef can't stand Carl, whom he sees as a peacenik whose attitudes caused strain for his father, Reef's friend. The film makes the point that one doesn't have to be militaristic or a war-mongerer to be brave. However, the real point of the film is the underwater flying saucer they dub "cyclops" -- it turns out the spaceship is a living being, in fact -- that contains a huge, one-eyed monstrous alien with telepathic powers and several wriggling tentacles. The sets are sparse, economical, and clever, and the music (possibly Alexander Laszlo) suitably weird and eerie. Joi Lansing plays Reef's sexy date and Tom Conway is a scientist. Jack Mulhall, who plays the Secretary of Defense, was in serials The Clutching Hand and The Three Musketeers.

Verdict: Cheap and irresistible. **1/2.

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