Welcome Guest [Log In] [Register]
Welcome to In The Balcony. We hope you enjoy your visit.

You're currently viewing our forum as a guest. This means you are limited to certain areas of the board and there are some features you can't use. If you join our community, you'll be able to access member-only sections, and use many member-only features such as customizing your profile, sending personal messages, and voting in polls. Registration is simple, fast, and completely free. Plus, you'll be eligible for the monthly $1 million prize. (Not really.)

Join our community!

If you're already a member please log in to your account to access all of our features:

Username:   Password:
Add Reply
The Atomic Submarine (1959)
Topic Started: Feb 11 2007, 07:11 PM (1,206 Views)
Laughing Gravy
Member Avatar
Look for In The Balcony on Facebook!
[ *  *  * ]
A few weeks ago, the Criterion Collection released a four-pack called "Monsters and Madmen" that offered four low-budget horror and sci-fi films of the 1950s. Although some genre fans profess love for them, I have no affection for the three I'd seen (The Haunted Strangler and Corridors of Blood, both starring Boris Karloff, and First Man Into Space, which was probably the best of the three, for what that's worth). So today I watched the fourth film, Spencer Bennet's The Atomic Submarine, which has an okay script and an interesting cast sunk by the nickel-and-dime budget.

Ships and subs near the North Pole are being destroyed by some sort of mysterious electrical force, and the U.S.S. Tiger Shark is dispatched to investigate. The crew and assorted scientific advisors include Dick "The Mummy's Hand" Foran, Tom "The She-Creature" Conway, Brett "Return of the Fly" Halsey, Arthur "Monster on the Campus" Franz, Sid "Alf Monroe of Hooterville" Melton, plus Bob "Three Mesquiteers" Steele and Jack "Burn 'em Up Barnes" Mulhall. Now THAT, my friends, is a cast what AM a cast. Anyway, they discover a magnetic-powered underwater flying saucer(!) piloted by a giant hairy eyeball.

Besides the cast, the eyeball is the best thing about the film (besides its brevity). The rest of the special effects are... well, Revell made more realistic submarines than the models on display in this film, and when we finally get inside the flying saucer, we see... nothing. It's dark in there. Can't see a damn thing. And as for the inside of the Tiger Shark, well... let's just say I have never seen a submarine with rooms that have 30-ft. high ceilings, and leave it at that.

With that sort of cheapness going on, it's kind of surprising to see some pretty good "melting flesh" shock effects. And as I said, the film's brevity is a plus -- it moves along fairly quickly. A nice little, inoffensive picture for a Saturday afternoon matinee. Although the film's greatest sin, if you want my honest opinion, is to hire one of the great scene stealers, Sid Melton, and then barely use him. What a waste!
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Frank Hale
Balcony Gang, Foist Class
[ *  *  * ]
Should have guessed you'd have been on this one way ahead of us, Gravy!

Hey, fantastic film! I gotta start watching more crap like this instead of the usual crap I watch.

Of course I watched this in connection with Batman's much acclaimed Sid Melton festival currently discussed on the Robert Lippert thread.

Sid regrettably doesn't have much to do in the picture, being on screen for perhaps 90 seconds, but he might profitably have spent his down time trying to lose some weight. Of course nearly everyone else in the cast is also about 30 pounds overweight, including the eyeball, but I guess they earned it.

Brett Halsey comes off very well in an accompanying interview on the Criterion disc. And turns out there is actually a Robert Lippert connection, because Mr.Halsey recalls how the great man called him in to coerce him into appearing in Return of the Fly (which he did, and which led to much better roles). Mr. Lippert, in an accompanying still, is a dead ringer for Paul Whiteman.

So what was your opinion, Mr. Bats, and what's next on the schedule?
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
The Batman
Member Avatar
Charter Member
[ *  *  * ]

Argh, so sorry, Mr Hale. It seems I've put that set in storage and will need to dig it out. I promise it will be watched this week, hopefully tomorrow. For some reason, I thought I had watched all four movies, when I put it away.

Always be yourself! Unless you can be Batman...then always be Batman!
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Frank Hale
Balcony Gang, Foist Class
[ *  *  * ]
I wouldn't knock yourself out if your interest is really just to see Sid. His part is insignificant and there's no schtick, so he could just as well have been replaced by a trained ape.

The real fun, as Gravy suggested, is seeing the old timers late in their careers. One guy Gravy didnít mention was Victor Varconi, who I believe appeared in silent pictures for DeMille. In this film he looks and talks just like Gustav von Seyffertitz.

Good print, as you might expect from Criterion, but full screen for some reason.

Pretty silly, all things considered.
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
The Batman
Member Avatar
Charter Member
[ *  *  * ]

Thank, Mr Hale. Sid's not the only reason for me, I'm also miffed at myself for missing that one on the set, before putting it away. Getting it out again won't be a chore.

Always be yourself! Unless you can be Batman...then always be Batman!
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Laughing Gravy
Member Avatar
Look for In The Balcony on Facebook!
[ *  *  * ]
I'm just pleased and grateful we're all taking to heart Mr. Panzer's entreaties to watch better movies.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Frank Hale
Balcony Gang, Foist Class
[ *  *  * ]
Did you know this film opened in NYC with Disney's "Toby Tyler"? Now there's a double bill!

Heart-warming family fare and giant eye-balls. (The Crawling Eye might have been a better match.)
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
riddlerider
Member Avatar
Balcony Gang, Foist Class
[ *  *  * ]

This was another of Alex Gordon's exercises in nostalgia. During his relatively brief career as a producer, Alex went out of his way to hire people he admired from the serials and "B" Westerns of his youth, even if they weren't especially well suited to their parts as scripted. (By the way, did you spot Frank Lackteen and Eddie Cobb as extras?) I remember him saying he fought with his partners to get Spencer Bennet installed as director of Atomic Submarine.
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Frank Hale
Balcony Gang, Foist Class
[ *  *  * ]
*L* Actually, I did have a "Hey, is that..?" moment as regards Eddie Cobb somewhere near the beginning of the film. I'd have to watch it again to tell you exactly where, though. If Frank Lackteen was in it, I missed him.

Selmer Jackson, Joi Lansing, Paul Dubov...

So keep your eyes open, Mr. Bats!

BTW, in the Brett Halsey interview, he comments on how Spencer Bennet, adhering to his roots, was all business. I think he said the whole film, or at least the principal photography, was knocked out in 6 days.
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
riddlerider
Member Avatar
Balcony Gang, Foist Class
[ *  *  * ]
Frank Hale
Dec 21 2014, 07:29 PM
BTW, in the Brett Halsey interview, he comments on how Spencer Bennet, adhering to his roots, was all business. I think he said the whole film, or at least the principal photography, was knocked out in 6 days.

Once a serial director, always a serial director.
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
panzer the great & terrible
Member Avatar
Mouth Breather
[ *  *  * ]
Does that include Seitz, rr?
Life is just a bowl of cherries, it's too mysterious, don't take it serious...
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
riddlerider
Member Avatar
Balcony Gang, Foist Class
[ *  *  * ]
panzer the great & terrible
Dec 22 2014, 08:24 PM
Does that include Seitz, rr?

Absolutely! Cecilia Parker told me that he was the most efficient director she ever worked with, also that she looked forward to doing the Andy Hardy films because he worked fast and, with rare exceptions, kept things pleasant for cast and crew alike. She had issues with the Hardy Family series, but they were about her salary and the size of her role, never about the way Seitz ran things on the set.

It's no accident that Metro's fastest and most efficient directors of the Thirties and Forties were George Seitz, Richard Thorpe, and Woody Van Dyke -- all of whom graduated from serials.
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
panzer the great & terrible
Member Avatar
Mouth Breather
[ *  *  * ]
Oh, then I did understand you, and also agree. Thanks. Anything new on The Green Arrow (he asked hopefully)??
Edited by panzer the great & terrible, Dec 23 2014, 07:13 PM.
Life is just a bowl of cherries, it's too mysterious, don't take it serious...
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
The Batman
Member Avatar
Charter Member
[ *  *  * ]

OK, turns out that I didn't pack away that Criterion set that contains THE ATOMIC SUBMARINE, so I watched it last weekend.

Overall, a fairly enjoyable 50's sci-fi flick, with first half being a little draggy, but things definitely picked up in the second half. A very original looking alien, and one I wager was a direct inspiration for the aliens Kronos and Kudos that appear on the Simpsons.

I do agree about Mr. Melton's performance, Mr Hale. Very nondescript and not indicative of his more comedic work. If this had been my first exposure to Sid, he wouldn't have stood out, like in the Lippert films I have seen him in.




Always be yourself! Unless you can be Batman...then always be Batman!
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Laughing Gravy
Member Avatar
Look for In The Balcony on Facebook!
[ *  *  * ]
Does anybody else get "We All Live in an Atomic Submarine" stuck in their head whenever this thread pops up?

No, eh? Shoot.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
ZetaBoards - Free Forum Hosting
Fully Featured & Customizable Free Forums
Go to Next Page
« Previous Topic · Monogram Week · Next Topic »
Add Reply