Thursday, June 6, 2013

Torpedo Alley (1952)

Director: Lew Landers

Starring: Mark Stevens, Dorothy Malone, Charles Winninger, Bill Williams, Douglas Kennedy, James Villican, William Henry, Charles Bronson

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Deadliest undersea corridor in the world!

Plot: Carrier pilot Lieutenant Bob Bingham (Mark Stevens) is rescued at sea by a submarine after he freezes at the controls and crashes, killing his two crewmen. He returns to civilian life but soon afterwards, looking for redemption, applies for submarine duty. At the New London, Conn., training base he renews acquaintance with Commander Heywood (James Millican) and Lieutenant Gates (Douglas Kennedy), the skipper and engineering officers of the sub that rescued him at sea. Bingham falls in love with Navy nurse Lieutenant Susan Peabody (Dorothy Malone), daughter of Warrant Officer Peabody (Charles Winninger) and the steady girl friend of Gates. Heywood gets a submarine command at the outbreak of the Korean "police action" and Bingham and his friend, Lieutenant Graham (Bill Williams), are part of the officer's group on Heywood's sub.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

#11 on Project: Badass Charles Bronson

BRONSON'S AGE: 31
LEVEL OF BADASSICITY (10 being the highest): 1 (The Man kept him down.)


If you have any interest in seeing this (like I did) because it's got an early role of Bronson, just watch the following clip because 17 seconds is all he's got.  Why?  Because there was a conspiracy to keep him from taking over the picture with his testosterone-laden badassicity.  He was only allowed to exert .07% of his manliness (and somehow they were able to manipulate his footage to make it seem like he was scared - keep in mind that this is before modern computers where you could digitally manipulate anything) but what was there is clearly enough to show that if he had more to do it would have meant Charles Bronson would have taken that sub and attacked Berlin, killed Hitler, made a right turn and then a left and then attacked Japan, forseeing the Korean War and attacking North Korea, effectively ending WWII and preventing the next one.  Effectively, the savior of the planet.


This movie is so bland it's ridiculous.  The script is by the numbers and it's LOADED with the kind of propaganda war film dialogue that nobody would probably say in real life (real macho stuff, ya know?).  The performances are by the numbers, too, with all the "we can do it" optimism and self doubt (for the main character to overcome and help win the war) they could muster.  There's no composer listed in the credits.  The score is a collection of variations on every Navy tune and sea chanty I think I've ever heard (which they play ad nauseum).  Oh, and because this flick doesn't have the grapes (I presume it's because this is a propaganda film during the Korean War and it's hard to be all gung ho when all the action takes place in a submarine) to make a good sub action sequence at the end, they had to have our boys use the sub to get behind enemy lines and execute a commando raid on land to get us some gun-shootin', explosive-blowin' action.  I've seen lots of standard, run-of-the-mill flag-waving pictures like this and they normally don't bug me but this one almost felt like a joke with its use of a boatload of cliches.

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