Battle of the Coral Sea

Battle of the Coral Sea

Director: Paul Wendkos, Cliff Robertson, Gia Scala, Teru Shimada

Cast: Paul Wendkos, Cliff Robertson, Gia Scala, Teru Shimada

     
 
The preparation for the Battle of the Coral Sea is the basis of this wartime drama. A submarine captained by Jeff Conway (Cliff Robertson) successfully scouts the location of enemy installations, ships, and subs and then starts to head back to friendly waters. Before chugging very far in that direction, the submarine is spotted and captured by the Japanese. The crew

Overview

The preparation for the Battle of the Coral Sea is the basis of this wartime drama. A submarine captained by Jeff Conway (Cliff Robertson) successfully scouts the location of enemy installations, ships, and subs and then starts to head back to friendly waters. Before chugging very far in that direction, the submarine is spotted and captured by the Japanese. The crew members are taken prisoner by an even-handed Commander Mori (Teru Shimada) and held on the Japanese forces' island base. While chaffing under a ticking clock as the day of the final confrontation draws near, an island woman is secretly enlisted to help smuggle out three of the prisoners. If they can make it off the island to their own base, then the all-important information on the Japanese positions will tip the scales in favor of the U.S. Navy.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
The combination of content and title in Battle of the Coral Sea might just have (and perhaps should have) provoked riots, or at least angry complaints to theater managements back in 1959 -- mostly because the event known to history as the Battle of the Coral Sea is barely mentioned anywhere, except at the beginning and end of the film, and hardly more than glimpsed, and even the two minutes of footage that purports to be action from that event is, at least, in part, drawn from other events and also from other (better) Hollywood movies. Otherwise, we get lots of talk and small-scale action in this picture, involving submarine commander Cliff Robertson and a mission to scout enemy forces in the area where the battle of the title was to take place. He gets the information, but is also captured along with a handful of his surviving crew and put into one of the most comparatively humane Japanese POW camps ever seen in a US film. And though one very likable supporting character is brutally murdered against the orders of the commandant, it all still looks like a very nasty summer camp compared to what we saw in, say, Bridge On The River Kwai etc. Discussing plot details, or even any virtues in the acting or much else about the picture is pointless in so patently ridiculous a story, which only gets worse as it progresses, with the prisoners -- including a female Australian nurse interned with male prisoners . . . -- making a daring escape, to a kind of cliffhanger denouement that stretches credibility to the breaking point one last time. Director Edward L. Cahn was an expert at making minor classics out of very little and even something out of nothing, but here the script gave him less than that to work with -- just one or two good actors and a bunch of others trying to earn a paycheck and a chance at something better -- and the end result is a movie that must have been an embarrassment to all concerned at the time. It's difficult to imagine that even drive-in audiences wouldn't have felt cheated by the promise of the title against what was delivered, and any actual navy veterans might even have been offended. What's left today can only elicit unappreciative laughter of the worst kind, and a grotesque example of bad studio product near its nadir.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/16/2010
UPC:
0043396355491
Original Release:
1959
Rating:
NR
Source:
Sony Pictures Home
Presentation:
[B&W]
Sales rank:
28,323

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Cliff Robertson Lt. Comdr. Jeff Conway
Gia Scala Karen Philips
Teru Shimada Comdr. Mori
Patricia Cutts Lt. Peg Whitcomb
Gene Blakely Lt. Len Ross
Rian Garrick Al Schechter
L.Q. Jones Yeoman Halliday
Robin Hughes Maj. Jammy Harris
Gordon Jones Torpedo man Bates
Tom Laughlin Ens. Franklin
James T. Goto Capt. Yamazaki
K.L. Smith CPO Connors
Carlyle Mitchell Adm. McCabe
Patrick Westwood Simes
Jon-Mikl Thor Army Major

Technical Credits
Paul Wendkos Director
Wilfrid M. Cline Cinematographer
Ernest Gold Score Composer
Stephen Kandel Screenwriter
Chester Schaeffer Editor
Charles H. Schneer Producer
Dan Ullman Screenwriter

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