Movie Review: Submarine Seahawk (1958)

Synopsis: An efficient but unliked naval officer is given command of a World War II submarine with orders to locate missing Japanese ships. His orders are to avoid engaging in combat with enemy ships, something that leads to tension with his crew.

Who's in it? The movie stars John Bentley, Brett Halsey, Wayne Heffley, Steve Mitchell and Henry McCann.

Review: I don't watch war movies on a regular basis but, every so often, will come across one that looks interesting. That was the case with this film, which I watched earlier today, and, after seeing it, I do have to say I enjoyed it.

The overall plot of this movie is somewhat unique. The sub's new commander, Paul Turner (Bentley) has strict orders not to fire on other ships, to avoid giving away his reconnaissance mission, and while the orders make some sense and he even goes out of his way to share them with his officers, the tension over them steadily grows as they pass up one target after another and even come under fire from one of their own ships.

Adding to his difficult situation was the decision to have him replace a popular ship captain and promote him above another officer, who winds up being his second-in-command. I could see how both those decisions could create additional tension considering he was unproven as a commander.

Another thing I liked about this movie was the way it took the time to show us his human side by having him spend some time with his wife (Jan Brooks) prior to starting the mission. This both showed the viewer he wasn't as stern as he might seem when commanding the ship while at the same time, also revealed he had someone to go home to, making his potentially suicidal decision toward the end a bit more impactful.

My only real complaint about the movie was the somewhat weak attempt to create a bit of comic relief by showing the crew on shore leave. I feel like that effort managed to give the crew members their own personalities but, at the same time, really didn't contribute much else to the overall movie considering, once they are on the ship, they aren't shown doing much more than criticizing Turner from their bunk area. I honestly expected them to do more than that based on the screen time they were given early on.

Final Opinion: The movie doesn't have a ton of action but does have some solid performances from the cast members and wound up being entertaining to watch. I'd recommend it if you have a chance to see it.

My Grade: B+


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