Lieutenant Braden discovers that Sally, the woman he's been falling in love with, has actually been checking out his qualifications to be a U.S. Navy frogman. He must put his personal life behind him after being assigned to be smuggled into a Japanese-held island via submarine to photograph radio codes.
James Garner ... Lt. j.g. Kenneth M. Braden
Edmond O'Brien ... Commander Paul Stevenson
Andra Martin ... Sally Johnson
Alan Hale Jr. ... Lt. Pat Malone (as Alan Hale)
Carleton Carpenter ... Lt. Phil Carney
Frank Gifford ... Ensign Cy Mount
William Leslie ... Lt. Doherty
Richard Bakalyan ... Seaman Peck
Edd Byrnes ... Pharmacist Mate Ash (as Edward Byrnes)
Sean Garrison ... Seaman Floyd
Henry Kulky ... Chief Petty Officer York
I was expecting a fairly mediocre and routine "sub flick" and was pleasantly surprised to find an above average and pretty engrossing movie. The story has some grit and conflict, especially in the hostility of the crew for its "by the book" captain, played with convincing war-weariness by the always-reliable Edmond O'Brien, whose efforts are matched by a very young James Garner. Production values are high, and it's worth catching it in letterbox format. Some of the mistakes in commando procedures have been noted, to which I would add the lack of facial camouflage, as Garner's strikingly white face floats conspicuously above the water in his nighttime swim, an easy target for lookouts. None the less, a pretty good war flick.
This is a great film with a well done script about an American Naval Lieutenant Ken Braden played by James Garner assigned to a submarine commanded by Edmond O'Brien (a very underrated actor of his time) as Captain Stevenson. Braden's mission is to go ashore as a frogman on a Japanese held island to retrieve a wireless code unable to be cracked by U.S. intelligence. Stevenson is haunted by the loss of a rating on a previous sortie and wants to exact careful handling of his current mission at the expense of making Braden's operational plan a difficult one. With a submerged time deadline imposed on Braden to find and photograph the information he skilfully swims to the island and after activating an incendiary device to alight fuel drums at the Japanese base in order to create a diversion, successfully enters the radio room behind the back of the on duty officer and snaps the pages of the code. Returning to the sub he is behind the time deadline and oxygen on the sub is rapidly depleting. A crew member constantly taps a wrench on the sub's hull to guide Braden back and Stevenson gives in to just sufficient extra time to allow him to return. On arrival back at Pearl Harbor Braden sees Intelligence Officer Sally Johnson, played by a stunning Andra Martin, at the dock waiting to greet him. She had been commissioned at the beginning of the movie to evaluate his suitability for the assignment but a love affair blossomed to now give this movie a supposedly happy ever after ending. Mention must also be made of the role of Alan Hale Jr. (ex Gilligan's Island) as Ensign Malone who gives the movie a well deserved comedy touch. Absorbing viewing.
O'Brien is the sub commander, who loses the trust of his crew, Garner the naval officer assigned a commando mission-but the real story here is the vintage cast-Richard Bakalyan and Warren Oates are joined by TV's familiar faces: Edd (Kooky) Byrnes, Henry (Otto Schmidlapp from "Life of Riley") Kulka, and Alan (the Skipper from "Gilligan's Island") Hale Jr. The fine performances are punctuated by adequate action scenes that result in a very watchable picture.