The Atomic Submarine (1959) DVDRip (SiRiUs sHaRe).avi
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The Atomic Submarine (1959)
In the far and distant future of 1968, many ships and planes are crossing the North pole to transport passengers and cargo. However lately more than eight ships and seven submarines have vanished mysteriously. The Tigershark is sent out to investigate their whereabouts and - if possible - remove the cause of their disappearance. But the life form Commander Vandover and his crew encounter may be too powerful even for their weapons of newest technology...
Arthur Franz ... Cmdr. Richard 'Reef' Holloway
Dick Foran ... Capt. Dan Wendover
Brett Halsey ... Dr. Carl Neilson
Paul Dubov ... Lt. David Milburn
Bob Steele ... CPO 'Grif' Griffin
Victor Varconi ... Dr. Clifford Kent
Joi Lansing ... Julie
Selmer Jackson ... Adm. Terhune
Jack Mulhall ... Secretary of Defense Justin Murdock
Jean Moorhead ... Helen Milburn
Richard Tyler ... Seaman Don Carney
Sid Melton ... Yeoman Chester Tuttle
Kenneth Becker ... Seaman Al Powell (as Ken Becker)
Frank Watkins ... Watkins
Tom Conway ... Sir Ian Hunt
Something about this movie makes me believe it was inspired by some article in an old Popular Science magazine about giant atomic-powered cargo subs of the near future plying the short route to the Pacific under the polar ice cap. (I must have missed that development while I was commuting by hovercraft to my all-plastic cabin in the mountains, where a home breeder reactor supplies me with power too cheap to meter.)
The actors are (mostly) competent, with B-movie stalwart Arthur Franz in the lead. The script is serviceable, containing some creepy moments as well as an occasionally interesting clash of ideologies between military tough guy Franz and the peacenik scientist son (Brett Halsey) of his revered mentor. Though they despise each other at first, they find they can agree on the need to kick alien booty.
The sfx team of Jack Rabin, Irving Block and Louis DeWitt collaborated on quite a few low-budget sci-fi's in the 50's -- the most notable example being "Kronos", with its bizarre, energy-sucking giant cubist robot -- and manage to achieve a few interesting effects in this one, too.
The most fascinating thing about this film is that I believe it's the first sci-fi movie to use the concept of a "living" spaceship. And I'm willing to bet money that the film's slime-dripping, tentacled alien Cyclops is the direct inspiration for The Simpsons' Kang and Kodos. Even the voice is similar.
All in all, "Atomic Submarine" is not a bad little low-budget romp.
'B' grade Sci-Fi which attains, for the first half at least, the heights of a reasonable thriller, as a submarine is dispatched to the arctic circle to investigate the cause of shipping accidents and disappearances.
While the effects are never up to much, the plot and script are more than adequate. The climax of the film is a glorious return to B-movie hokum as an underwater flying saucer is discovered to be the cause of the problems. The scientists reason that the saucer returns to the pole for magnetic energy and they decide to lie in wait in the sub to ram it !! In doing this however, the sub becomes stuck in the saucer and some crew members are dispatched to go inside the saucer and dislodge it.
There is the usual character tension between the young inexperienced scientist on the mission, and the older, wiser navy man, who just happens to be friends with the younger man's father etc. etc. The inside of the spaceship is a lesson in minimalism - simply illuminated gangways in a sea of darkness. These scenes lead to the creature in the saucer which is an octopus-type figure, with one huge eye on a stalk. The creature speaks ( in Queens English ) through thought and turns out to be looking for suitable planets as homes for its advanced race of bug-eyed-hairy-octopi.
Saucer is blasted by a ballistic missile, contradicting the 1950's sci-fi theme of warning against the nuclear arms race. A difficult film to dislike, but a few leagues below 'It Came from Beneath the Sea'.
What a difference the three years separating ATOMIC SUBMARINE and VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA made! Of course, Allen's much larger budget sure helped too. Still, one can see The Tigershark as being the direct parent of The Seaview.
We have an advanced nuclear sub capable of firing missiles or torpedoes and equipped with a secondary submarine. The Seaview originally carried a small fleet of 2-man submersibles but they got eclipsed by the flashier Flying Sub. And of course you have the senior officer, the younger guy who actually handles the action scenes, and a couple onboard scientists just for the heck of it.
The plot itself is pretty much the model for many of the Voyages to the Bottom of the Sea. The hidden mystery at the heart of an otherwise normal mission, the unexpected monster.... Yeah, this could have been a VOYAGE episode. And in fact, eventually IT WAS! VOYAGE did an episode that adapted ATOMIC SUBMARINE pretty much straight, just changing the sub, the crew names, and a few details (and ditching Joi Lansing's character, alas!).
While ATOMIC SUBMARINE does look frightfully low budget compared to VOYAGE, let alone today's super-bloated budget busters, it works pretty well for a product of its time. And the minimalist, barely illuminated alien saucer interior is surprising effect. I know it creeped me out when I first saw this late one night in '66!