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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "The Submarine Story")

 

Directed by John Farrow
USA 1951

 

John Farrow (Wake Island, China) directs a story and screenplay by Jonathan Latimer (Night Has a Thousand Eyes, Alias Nick Beal) which takes a very early look at what would later be called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Screen icon William Holden (Stalag 17, The Bridges at Toko-Ri) stars as WWII Lieutenant Commander Ken White, who orders the submarine USS Tiger Shark to crash dive in order to evade a Japanese aerial attack. While the maneuver saves the submarine, it consequently kills the captain and another crewman. White is promoted, but the events on the Tiger Shark continue to haunt him and also disrupt his relationship with his wife Carol (Nancy Olson, Union Station). Eventually, he takes a desk job. But when the Korean War flares up, White is called back to active duty and asked to command the Tiger Shark once more. One of the very first dramas to tackle the psychological consequences of war, Submarine Command also features first-class work from William Bendix (Lifeboat) and Don Taylor (The Naked City).

***

Submarine commander Ken White is forced to suddenly submerge, leaving his captain and another crew member to die outside the sub during WW II. Subsequent years of meaningless navy ground assignments and the animosity of a former sailor, leave White (now a captain) feeling guilty and empty. His life spirals downward and his wife is about to leave him. Suddenly, he is forced into a dangerous rescue situation at the start of the Korean War.... reassigned to the same submarine where all of his problems began.

Posters

Theatrical Release: November 1951

Reviews                                                       More Reviews                                                DVD Reviews

 

Review: Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:27:07.263        
Video

1.37:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,772,749,117 bytes

Feature: 22,143,049,728 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.92 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1965 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1965 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Kino

 

1.37:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,772,749,117 bytes

Feature: 22,143,049,728 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.92 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

NEW Audio Commentary by Filmmaker/Historian Steve Mitchell and Combat Films: American Realism Author Steven Jay Rubin
Trailers


Blu-ray Release Date: May 14th, 2024

Standard Blu-ray Case inside slipcase

Chapters 9

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Kino Blu-ray (May 2024): Kino have transferred John Farrow's Submarine Command to Blu-ray. It is cited as being from a "2020 HD Master by Paramount Pictures From a 4K Scan". Unfortunately the contrast seems compromised - perhaps a density issue with the source. This become more noticeable at around 40-minutes into the film (see samples below.) It's quite watchable but the shift down in contrast is noticeable and it can look waxy and I don't fully discount digitization. It mostly looks like the source to me though.

NOTE: We have added 42 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Kino use a DTS-HD Master dual-mono track (24-bit) in the original English language. Submarine Command has only a few aggressive naval conflict battles that come through with reasonable depth. The score was by David Buttolph (Rope, Secret of the Incas, Street of Chance, The Horse Soldiers, Wake Island, This Gun For Hire, Western Union, Pete Kelly's Blues, Rope, Three Secrets, Kiss of Death, Blood and Sand and many more) which supports the film in subtle ands occasionally melodramatic ways. Kino offer optional English (SDH) subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

The Kino Blu-ray offers a new commentary by filmmaker / historian Steve Mitchell and Combat Films: American Realism author Steven Jay Rubin. They discuss Farrow - who served in the Navy, the submarine cinematography, shot off the coast of San Diego, budget being just less than a million dollars, 30 camera days, details / careers of the cast; Holden, Don Taylor, Nancy Olson, William Bendix, Darryl Hickman. Jack Gregson (his only film), Jack Kelly ('Bart Maverick' in Maverick) etc. It's educational if not a ton on the film itself. There are also trailers; The Turning Point, The Bridges at Toko-Ri, The Horse Soldiers, The Counterfeit Traitor, The 7th Dawn, The Devil's Brigade, China and
Wake Island, but none for Submarine Command.  

John Farrow's Submarine Command is early in addressing PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) - the mental and behavioral disorder that develops from experiencing a traumatic event in this case torturous memories over a crewman's death. Holden, who is excellent as Cmdr. Ken White, invested $20,000 of his own money into Submarine Command. It's the kind of film that Paramount would churn out in the 50's. It has a minimum of stock footage (a few short sequences), broaches the topic of the psychological scars of war, and is generally a pleasing, reasonably entertaining, film. Submarine movie fans won't find this as gripping as, example, Samuel Fuller's Hell and High Water. Australian-born Farrow has an interesting filmography working initially in the silent era. He directed Wake Island, Calcutta, Plunder of the Sun, and noirs Night Has a Thousand Eyes, Alias Nick Beal, The Big Clock, His Kind of Woman among others. I wouldn't put Submarine Command in the top 50% of his directorial work. The Kino Blu-ray has an image issue, but offers a new commentary. Holden fans or Farrow completists may wish to indulge. Otherwise, I'd probably say "pass".

Gary Tooze

 


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Distribution Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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