Saturday, 22 October 2016

Fiend without a Face (1958)

I know that Fiend without a Face has the reputation of being something of a horror classic, but I’m afraid it’s a classic that left me sadly underwhelmed.

It is interesting in that it’s a 1958 British movie that seems like a 1958 American sci-fi/horror movie. While Hammer did make a couple of superb science fiction movies around this time (the Quatermass movies) this one has very much of an American monster movie feel to it. It’s set at an American air force base in a French-speaking part of Canada, which adds to the unsettling transatlantic feel that doesn’t seem quite right. The interactions between the air force people and the villagers suddenly makes one feel like one has wandered into a 1950s British Ealing comedy.

The American air force base is being used for experiments in atomic-powered radar. This was the 50s, so atomic power could be used for anything! The atomic power is beamed from ground stations to an aircraft in flight. Yes, I thought that bit was pretty silly too, but this movie is going to get a lot sillier than that. Strange events are occurring in the vicinity of the base. People are dying in inexplicable ways. The locals, being simple country people, think the atomic reactor at the air base is responsible even though the air base commander assures them that nuclear power is completely safe. Eventually permission is obtained to cary out autopsies on the dead, and it is discovered that their brains and spinal columns have been sucked out through two small puncture marks at the base of the skull! This merely confirms the suspicion of the villagers that atomic radiation is the culprit.

Major Cummings (Marshall Thompson) has the task of investigating the deaths and calming the local people. He’s inclined to think that the mysterious Professor Walgate may be connected. He is after all a mad scientist, working in the area of psychic phenomena and thought control. You know he’s a proper movie mad scientist because he has a beautiful female assistant (standard equipment for mad scientists in those days).

And of course Major Cummings and the beautiful female assistant start to fall in love, especially when he lets himself into her house to find her wearing nothing but a towel. This is the movie’s one sexy moment and they played it up for all it was worth on the posters!

Naturally if the villagers hadn’t been ignorant superstitious bumpkins they’d have realised at once that they were dealing with an invisible brain-eating monster. Oddly enough even the air force chappies take a while to figure that one out. As long as the monsters stay invisible the movie has a chance, but once a way is found to make them visible all is lost. If you have very silly looking monsters and very bad special effects, show your monsters as little as possible. Sadly the makers of this film ignored this golden rule. The stop-motion effects undoubtedly required considerable effort, but they look ridiculous. I generally have a very high tolerance for crude social effects, but this movie exceeded my tolerance by a considerable margin.

The movie has lots of other problems as well. For one thing, although there’s a germ of a good idea in there the plot is full of gaping holes. The acting is very unexciting, and the direction and the cinematography are lacklustre. So the elements that could compensate for the plot deficiencies and the general silliness of the premise are lacking. It’s not the plot or the monsters that sink this film, but simply the fact that it’s dull and lacks suspense. It’s an interesting historical oddity and if you really really love 50s sci-fi monster movies you might enjoy this movie. It’s definitely not my idea of an entertaining movie, although the 1950s jet fighters look rather spiffy and will appeal to aircraft geeks.

Fiend Without a Face has had numerous DVD releases including a typically expensive one from Criterion. I personally wouldn’t shell out big bucks for this one. Maybe worth a rental.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Demons of the Mind (1972)

Demons of the Mind is in many ways typical of what Hammer Films were doing in the early 70s - trying to stick to what they knew best and had had the most success with while also trying to vary a formula in real danger of becoming stale. So it’s a gothic horror movie, but it’s psychological rather than supernatural horror.

The setting is the familiar Hammer generic middle Europe, presumably towards the end of the 19th century. There have been murders and disappearances, and murmurings among the local peasantry about demons. There are in fact demons that are responsible for these horrors, but they are demons of the mind. There is a curse, but it’s the curse of insanity rather than the diabolical kind. It’s an inherited disorder of the mind, but not in the usual sense. It’s the type of madness a parent passes on to a child, but not through the blood (or through the genes as we’d see it today). 

The Baron Zorn has two children, twins, a girl and a boy, both now on the cusp of adulthood. The Baron and his sister along with Klaus, a faithful family retainer bearing at least a passing resemblance to a part-time hoodlum, are keeping the twins Elizabeth and Emil under lock and key and under heavy sedation. They have escaped more than once, and the baron has cause to believe that their minds are tainted with the Zorn family’s predilections for murder and blood. There is also reason to suspect an excessively close attachment between brother and sister, with definite sexual undertones. The last time Elizabeth almost got away she stayed in a hut in the woods with a nice young man with whom she became very very friendly indeed. She was retaken however, although the young man will reappear in the story.

In desperation the baron has called upon the services of the modern equivalent of the witch-hunter, the psychiatrist Falkenberg (Patrick Magee). But psychiatry at this point in history is little more than hocus pocus and theatrics, and even by the standards of 19th century medicine Falkenberg has a reputation as a charlatan. But where else is there to turn to? To add the necessary degree of complication to the plot a crazed wandering preacher (Michael Hordern over-acting outrageously) arrives, warning of devilry. 

For a late Hammer production this film looks handsome and classy. The atmosphere combines dark secrets, incest, insanity, bloodlust, sexual anxiety and aristocratic decay and does it effectively and with style. Director Peter Sykes provides a competent hand at the helm. 

And the cast is potentially extremely strong. Patrick Magee plays Falkenberg with his usual mix of frenzied and maniacal excess. The main task confronting Gillian Hills in the role of Elizabeth was to be sweet, innocent, sinister and completely loopy all at the same time, as she succeeds admirably. She has little else to do, but little else is necessary. Shane Briant as her brother Emil displays much the same characteristic but with added creepiness. His performance is less successful, but it’s perfectly adequate. Michael Hordern is great fun. Robert Hardy as the baron has a more complex and ambiguous part to play and he doesn’t quite nail it, but it’s a valiant attempt.

The script has weaknesses if you’re inclined to probe deeply enough, but if a horror movie has energy and style and gets the mood and feel right a few problems with the script don’t really matter and this movie has the requisite qualities. Being the early 70s, there’s some gore and some nudity. The film is both intriguing in the ideas it plays with and also very entertaining and there isn’t a great deal more than one can ask. A surprisingly interesting but oddly neglected movie which I thoroughly recommend.

Demons of the Mind is readily available on DVD.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

The Valley of Gwangi (1969)

The Valley of Gwangi is one of those lost worlds where dinosaurs still roam movies. While these movies tend to follow a fairly standard formula, this one is a little unusual in being a cowboys and dinosaurs movie. It also has stop-motion animation effects by Ray Harryhausen, which is sufficient reason in itself to make it worth seeing.

The movie, made in 1969, is set somewhere around 1900. Tuck Kirby is a somewhat shady cowboy/conman/impresario who turns up in the town where his old girlfriend, the beautiful T. J. Breckenridge, is the star attraction in a Wild West show. Her act is to jump from a high platform into a pool of water surrounded by fire while on  horseback. Not the easiest way to make a living one would have thought. The show is run by her father, and it isn’t doing too well, but T. J. has come up with a new attraction which should turn the show into a veritable goldmine. One of the cowboys has found a living eohippus, the so-called dawn horse, the ancestor of the modern horse. It’s about the size of a large rabbit. She’s going to stage an act in which the miniature horse rides on the back of a full-size horse. 

There’s also a paleontologist working in the area, and when he finds out about the living eohippus the stage is set for a struggle between the scientist wanting to exploit the discovery in the interests of human knowledge and on the other hand T. J. and Tuck wanting to exploit it to make lots of money. Since T. J. doesn’t trust Tuck one little bit there are really three parties all competing for ownership of the little horse. It doesn’t take long for them to figure out that where there one eohippus there must be more, so they set out for the forbidden Valley of Gwangi, despite the dire warnings of catastrophe by the local gypsy wise woman. The valley contains more than just miniature horses - it also boasts living dinosaurs including a Tyrannosaurus rex, which of course would make an even better attraction in the arena than a bunny-sized horse. They set out to trap themselves a dinosaur (in one of the most stunning stop-motion sequences Harryhausen ever staged). 

Of course anyone who’d watched a few science fiction movies could have told them that trying to use a full-sized Tyrannosaurus rex in a circus show was an idea bound to lead to all sorts of destructive mayhem but they didn’t have science fiction movies in 1900 to warn them of such dangers. And naturally the expected mayhem does in fact occur.

The acting is reasonably proficient, with James Franciscus charming and thoroughly untrustworthy but terribly brave as Tick and Gila Golan doing a competent job as T. J. Laurence Naismith contributes a fairly standard but still entertaining performance as the dotty paleontologist. There’s a romantic sub-plot between T. J.  and Tuck, there are problems caused by the superstitious fears of the locals, and overall the far-fetched plot provides a good deal of fun and excitement.

Harryhausen’s creature effects are the real stars, and as always he delivers the goods.

The movie is available on DVD just about everywhere. The region 4 DVD includes a very short and completely worthless documentary which consists of very little besides modern special effects “wizards” gushing about what a genius Harryhausen was. He certainly was a genius, but this brief doco contributes remarkably little in the way of actual information about the man and his methods. 

The movie itself though is a very enjoyable romp which never makes the mistake of taking itself too seriously. And by sticking to a running time of just over 90 minutes it also (unlike so many modern movies of this type) avoids the danger of wearing out its welcome. Highly recommended.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Carry On Cleo (1964)

Carry On Cleo was the tenth of the Carry On movies and one of the most successful. It was a box-office smash hit at the time of its release in 1964 and remains one of the most highly regarded movies of the series.

I’ve always had a preference for the Carry On movies dealing with historical subjects. They seem to lend themselves particularly well to the over-the-top and highly theatrical comedic style of the Carry On films. 

Carry On Cleo has the considerable advantage of some absolutely perfect subject matter - Julius Caesar’s invasion of Britain, the plot against Caesar’s life and Caesar’s and Antony’s romantic dalliances with Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt.

Hengist Pod (Kenneth Connor) is a British wheel-maker who has invented a new and highly advanced type of wheel - the square wheel. The advantages of the square wheel are obvious. Well, they’re obvious to Hengist Pod anyway. Along with his friend Horsa (Jim Dale) Hengist is captured by the Romans and sold into slavery. They end up in the galleys.

While all this is going on Caesar (Kenneth Williams) has sent Mark Antony (Sid James) to remove Cleopatra (Amanda Barie) from the throne of Egypt and replace her with her brother Ptolemy. Antony takes one look at the gorgeous Queen of Egypt and decides that it’s a much better idea to back Cleopatra against Ptolemy.

Hengist and Horsa end up in Rome where the bumbling and cowardly Hengist ends up being mistakenly given the credit for slaying half a dozen would-be assassins and becomes Caesar’s bodyguard. Caesar and Antony travel to Egypt where they are in competition for Cleopatra’s affections and Antony’s best chances of gaining those affections is obviously to assassinate Caesar. 

This film obviously has, by Carry On standards, a fairly substantial plot. More importantly Talbot Rothwell’s script has an abundance of gags nearly all of which come off. And the historical subject matter isn’t just a colourful background - the gags and the story are perfectly integrated and while there’s the usual supply of double entendres there’s also some genuine wit.

The actors throw themselves into their roles with tremendous enthusiasm. They clearly appreciated having such a strong script. Kenneth Williams, Sid James and Charles Hawtrey are wonderful but then they always were. Kenneth Connor gives one of his best Carry On performances. Joan Sims doesn’t get much screen time but she’s in blisteringly good form as Caesar’s neglected, jealous and shrewish wife Calpurnia. Amanda Barrie as Cleopatra is a delight. Jon Pertwee puts in an appearance as a mad soothsayer.

Carry On Cleo was a very fortunate production indeed. It was shot at Pinewood and producer Peter Rogers was able to use some magnificent sets that had been built for the mega-budget Elizabeth Taylor Cleopatra. They were never used for Cleopatra since the production of that film was moved to Rome but Carry On Cleo director Gerald Thomas was more than happy to make use of them. Some of the costumes (including those worn by Amanda Barrie) had originally been made for Cleopatra as well. As a result Carry On Cleo looks like an incredibly expensive movie. In actual fact it’s budget was a paltry £165,000 (compared to the $44 million that 20th Century-Fox poured into Cleopatra). Carry On Cleo looks absolutely gorgeous.

The movie was shot widescreen and in colour to take full advantage of the terrific sets.

The ITV Studios DVD, from their Carry On: The Ultimate Collection boxed set, includes an entertaining audio commentary with Amanda Barrie and Julie Stevens (who plays Horsa’s lady love). The transfer is extremely good. 

It’s all outrageous fun, and it’s worth it just to hear Kenneth Williams deliver the line that was voted in a 2007 poll as the funniest line in movie history. This may be the best of all the Carry On movies. It’s certainly in the top three. I’d even go so far as to rate it as one of the best movie comedies of all time. Very highly recommended.

Friday, 23 September 2016

King Kong vs Godzilla (1962)

King Kong vs Godzilla dates from 1962 and by this time the idea had taken root that one giant monster was not enough. Godzilla was a huge box-office drawcard but pitting him against other equally formidable monsters was obviously going to be the way to make sure audiences kept buying tickets. Having Godzilla battling King Kong must have seemed like a surefire winner. Toho Studio managed to secure the rights to use King Kong and King Kong vs Godzilla was the result.

Mysterious weather events in the Arctic are causing enough concern for the UN to send their latest submarine to investigate. They run into big trouble and then they see Godzilla emerging from inside a huge ice floe (in one of the movie’s most effective scenes).

It is a well-known scientific fact that dinosaurs, like salmon, always return to their birthplace and since Godzilla-like fossils have been discovered in Japan it is clear that Japan is where Godzilla will be heading.

Meanwhile a Japanese pharmaceutical company has despatched a scientist to a remote Pacific island to secure supplies of a new wonder drug called soma which is found only in berries that grow only on this one island. The company is also looking for a major publicity attraction so reports of a giant monster on the island make the island even more interesting to them - this monster could be a great sales gimmick.

The monster is of course King Kong. Capturing him is surprisingly easy - soma sends him to sleep. The giant ape is towed to Japan on a raft.

Now the Japanese have two giant monsters to contend with. This is especially tricky since each monster has different strengths and weaknesses. Dinosaurs hate electricity but as everyone knows electricity makes giant apes stronger. A barrier of high tension wires carrying a million volts should be able to keep Godzilla at bay but when King Kong reaches the barrier it not only fails to stop him, it makes him much more powerful. Tokyo is, once again, in deadly peril.

There seems to be only one solution. It is a well-established scientific fact that for millions of years dinosaurs and giant apes were natural enemies. If they can be brought together they might, with luck, destroy each other. Transporting King Kong to the scene of the epic battle presents a challenge but an ingenious employee of the aforementioned pharmaceutical company has the answer to that - he has invented a super-strong cable so all they need to do is to send the ape to sleep and then he can be easily transported by balloon! This provides a scene with the kind of inspired lunacy that makes Japanese monster movies so appealing.

The stage is set but which monster will prove to be the stronger, and will the battle of the monsters really save Tokyo from destruction? You’ll have to watch the movie to find out.

Ishirô Honda is once again in the director’s chair and there’s plenty of insanely silly but thoroughly enjoyable action. The monsters are everything one could hope for but it has to be said that King Kong tends to steal the picture. This ape has star quality. He’s also the best actor in the movie. The special effects are often terrible but they’re terrible in a fun way. Lots of toy trains get stomped! The effects might be crude but there are plenty of them. Kong is actually portrayed by a guy in a gorilla suit rather than with stop-motion. This will disappoint stop-motion fans but it works well enough.

The plot is totally mad and this film really goes overboard on the comic relief. It’s also breathtakingly (although very amusingly) politically incorrect.

The American version (which is the one I’m reviewing here) cut quite a few scenes and replaced them with dull talky scenes shot in Hollywood. I’m told the Japanese version is a lot better and I can well believe it.

The Region 4 DVD from Siren is a two-movie disc, pairing this one with the original Godzilla as the Godzilla Double Feature volume 1. It’s one of the worst DVD presentations I have ever come across. Even Alpha Video have never released anything quite this bad. The transfers are horrible, there’s massive print damage and both movies are (very badly) pan-and-scanned. It’s a disgraceful effort. Luckily it was a rental - I’d have hated to have paid to own this dismal DVD.

King Kong vs Godzilla tries to be a light-hearted romp of a monster movie and it succeeds reasonably well (and probably succeeded a lot better before American studio execs made their ham-fisted attempts to Americanise it). It’s worth a look but you would undoubtedly be well advised to seek out the Japanese version.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

House of Frankenstein (1944)

House of Frankenstein, released in 1944, was one of Universal’s infamous (but commercially very successful) monster rally movies. Dracula, the Wolf Man and Frankenstein’s Monster all feature in the film although perhaps rather curiously their roles are not actually central. It’s not really a very good movie but it has its moments and it is strangely enjoyable.

It certainly boasts a formidable array of horror icons in its cast - Boris Karloff, John Carradine, Lon Chaney Jr, Lionel Atwill, George Zucco and J. Carrol Naish.

Dr Gustav Niemann (Boris Karloff) has been continuing the work of the notorious Dr Frankenstein and as a result he is now rotting in prison. He still dreams of taking up the great work again but it seems unlikely he will ever be able to do so. Then fate intervenes - the prison is struck by lightning which demolishes the wall allowing Niemann and another prisoner, the hunchback Daniel (J. Carrol Naish) to escape. 

Now Niemann can go back to his experiments but there are two tasks he must first accomplish - he must find Dr Frankenstein’s notebooks and he must get his revenge on the men whose testimony put him in prison. Then, with Daniel as his faithful assistant, he has a whole series of ambitious experiments to work on.

A chance encounter with a traveling Chamber of Horrors show run by a Professor Lampini (George Zucco) provides Niemann with a very useful opportunity - this traveling show will provide a perfect cover for him, allowing him to travel through the countryside without being recognised or attracting suspicion. Professor Lampini is not happy with this idea but he is quickly disposed of.

One of Lampini’s prized exhibits is the skeleton of Dracula. Of course no-one really believes it is the skeleton of the famous vampire but when Niemann removes the stake from the skeleton he discovers that this is indeed Count Dracula and he’s come back to life. 

Resurrecting vampires is just a distraction for Niemann. He is keen to get back to his laboratory, especially after not only finding Dr Frankenstein’s precious notebooks but also the frozen bodies of the Wolf Man and Frankenstein’s Monster. Dr Niemann has a particular interest in brain transplants and now he has lots of brains and lots of bodies to play with.

Of course you can’t expect to go around raising the dead and transplanting monster brains without something going wrong. In this case it’s something rather unexpected that goes wrong, the end result of a tragic love triangle between a hunchback, a werewolf and a gypsy girl. It must surely only be a matter of time before the villagers show up with flaming torches and pitch-forks.

The big problem with this movie is that combining so many monsters is an inherently unwieldy idea, especially since none of the monsters really have any logical connection with one another. Edward T. Lowe Jr’s screenplay (based on Curt Siodmak’s story) can’t really resolve this difficulty. The Dracula part of the story ends up being like a short film within a film. The Wolf Man story then takes over with Frankenstein’s Monster only playing a very insignificant part towards the end. In fact the main thrust of the plot is the story of Niemann’s obsession with surpassing Frankenstein’s achievements, combined with the tragic romantic entanglements caused by the arrival of the beautiful gypsy girl Ilonka (Elena Verdugo).

If the various plot strands never do come together very successfully, and if most of the ideas are very unoriginal, it has to be said that this movie is remarkably well executed. Director Erle C. Kenton maintains a frantic pace and provides plenty of thrills and some surprisingly effective visual touches (the vampire bat murder seen only in silhouette being a notable example). Of course Universal always managed to make even their lesser horror movies look terrific. This movie is no exception. The sets are extremely impressive, especially the ice cave. The monster transformation scenes are mostly well done (the werewolf transformation scene is very very good indeed).

The acting is a bit variable. Karloff’s performance is quite interesting if rather low-key - Niemann seems affable, quietly spoken and even kindly but if someone gets in his way he disposes of them with breathtaking ruthlessness. It’s as if he’s so obsessed by his work that killing is merely a minor irritation. Chaney could have played the Wolf Man in his sleep by this time but he does add his characteristic touches of pathos. Carradine is a very sinister and very effective Dracula. J. Carrol Naish makes Daniel both a chilling cold-blooded killer and a sympathetic victim of love gone wrong. Elena Verdugo gives a spirited performance as the gypsy girl. Atwill and Zucco really only have cameo roles (although Zucco makes the most of his very brief screen time).

The Region 4 DVD is noticeably lacking in extras but the transfer is superb.

House of Frankenstein is disjointed and is little more than a jumble of not very original ideas but it’s so well executed that one can’t help forgiving its faults. And it is consistently entertaining. Recommended.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Gray Lady Down (1978)

Gray Lady Down is a 1970s disaster movie starring Charlton Heston and that’s always a pretty good recipe for entertainment.

This time Heston is Captain Paul Blanchard, skipper of the nuclear submarine USS Neptune. The Neptune is returning to port at which time Blanchard will be handing over the command to his former Executive Officer, Commander Samuelson (Ronny Cox). The normal procedure is to remain submerged until reaching port but Blanchard decides it would be more fun to enter on the surface and enjoy some fresh air. Surfacing in heavy fog might not seem like the greatest of ideas, and in fact it proves to be a very bad idea. The Neptune manages to get itself rammed by a Norwegian freighter. The submarine promptly sinks.

The boat comes to rest on a ledge 1450 feet below the surface, well below its designed crush depth. Forty-one crew members survive the collision but their problems have only just begun. The reactor has shut down and one of the air purifiers is now inoperable. They have enough air for about 36 hours but the ledge is in an undersea canyon and it is subject to continual rockslides. 

This is all pretty bad, and now the Executive Officer (and soon to be skipper) is starting to crack up.

The Navy has no problem finding the stricken submarine. Rescuing the survivors should be no problem - they have their new high-tech deep sea rescue submersible, the DSRV-1. Unfortunately in order to carry out a successful rescue the Neptune’s escape hatch has to be clear and it isn’t. It’s covered by debris from the numerous rock slides. This is very bad news but there may still be a chance. An oddball genius US Navy officer, Captain Gates (David Carradine) has been working on an experimental underwater craft called the SNARK. The SNARK might be able to clear the escape hatch. 

Everything that could go wrong goes wrong. There are more rock slides. The remaining bulkheads on the Neptune are about to give way. The SNARK can’t find the Neptune at first. There are quarrels between Gates and the officer in charge of the rescue operation, Captain Bennett (Stacy Keach). The Neptune is running low on power and the survivors will soon be sitting in the dark. More crew members start to crack up. 

The tension doesn’t let up as one obstacle after another crops up to frustrate the rescue attempt.

You would normally expect Charlton Heston to handle the heroic stuff (since he was very good at that sort of thing) but oddly enough it’s David Carradine (who wasn’t so good at such things) who does most of the hero things. Charlton Heston still gives a pretty good performance as Blanchard, a captain who manages to combine a certain crustiness with a surprising amiability. David Carradine was of course a terrible actor and his performance is distractingly eccentric and at the same time rather dull. 

The special effects are reasonably good and the various submarine models look fairly impressive.

The producers got a lot of coöperation from the US Navy which is perhaps a bit surprising given that the film shows most of the crew members dealing remarkably badly with a crisis situation and given that the Neptune’s collision appears to have come about as a result of a combination of irresponsibility and carelessness (the submarine spotted the freighter on radar but the officer of the watch decided not to worry about it until it was too late). And the thought of a misfit like Commander Samuelson ever being considered for command of anything larger than a dinghy is positively terrifying. I guess the Navy figured that the chance to impress by showing off some high-tech toys would be enough to compensate for the depiction of the submarine crew as a bunch of neurotic incompetents. And the DSRV-1 is pretty cool and (according to the end credits such a vessel really was available for use by the US Navy for submarine rescues).

Perhaps the most surprising thing is that the movie is about the sinking of a nuclear submarine and we’re assured that there’s no danger whatsoever on that score. This was the late 70s and Hollywood was starting to get into full-blown hysteria mode over nuclear stuff (in fact Hollywood had been indulging in nuclear paranoia since the 50s). I suspect that in return for their assistance the US Navy vetoed any mention of nuclear dangers. I’m actually quite sure the Navy was correct on that score but I’m still surprised the producers were able to resist the temptation to introduce a nuclear panic into the mix.

The Region 4 DVD I watched was a rental copy and the menus didn’t work but rental DVDs usually are in poor condition. The anamorphic transfer was pretty nice.

1970s disaster movies can’t be judged by conventional movie standards. They’re supposed to be ludicrously melodramatic and cheesy and the acting is supposed to be exaggerated and hammy. What matters is whether they deliver entertainment and Gray Lady Down does that reasonably well. It doesn’t have the inspired craziness of other 70s Charlton Heston disaster flicks such as Airport 1975 but it has a few cool gadgets and it has submarines (if you like that sort of thing and I most definitely do like submarine movies). If you want a gripping realistic movie about a submarine rescue attempt in peacetime then the 1950 British production Morning Departure remains the gold standard. If you want action and slightly silly fun then Gray Lady Down isn’t too bad at all. Recommended.