Submarine X-1 William Graham

Apparently, writer/producer John C. Champion didn't have many ideas to call his own. His 1968 film Attack on the Iron Coast featured hard-ass naval officer Lloyd Bridges surrounded by Englishmen as he pushed his men well past their breaking point. And his next film, Submarine X-1, featured hard-ass submarine captain James Caan surrounded by Englishmen as he pushes his men well past their breaking point. I'm guessing the war against the Nazis needed a forceful personality. You now have a choice of which version you want to see: the slick and professional early version, or the limp and haphazard later version. There are deviations — the Germans show up to try to gain intelligence on a new top-secret super-sub — and there are some shenanigans involving underwater nets and minefields, but otherwise they're the same movie, and what was indifferently told once is downright irritating the second time around. Again, decadent unsuspecting German officers; again, recruits who don't like the training program; again, an officer facing incredible odds (in this case an impossible timetable) — now that you know, do you really need to see it? Caan is largely uncharismatic in one of his earliest roles, nothing like the rollicking ludicrosity of Bridges in Attack, and William Graham's direction is brown, dull and lifeless, like staring at particle board for 90 minutes without blinking. In short, the choice between the two is obvious (not that you were agonising over it). The diehard WWII buffs for whom Attack was designed will thrill to every minute, but toleration of this aesthetic black hole seems to depend on uncritical war fetishism rather than actual interest in history. (MGM)