Miss Monkey Fist has successfully relocated from the dismal Baltimore suburbs to the sparkling and wonderful Lakes Region of Maine, northwest of Portland. When she lived in Maine before, all she missed about Maryland was decent Chinese food. When she was back in Maryland, all she missed about Maine was EVERYTHING. It’s great to be back!
MF and her traveling companions, (one chatty and urbane Brittisher who is frightened by trees, one sarcastic consumer electronics radio show host, one 80 pound Boxer-Mastiff mix and a 26 toed Maine Coon cat) piled into her newly-acquired vintage Jeep Grand Cherokee and set forth into the night on November 9th. After repeated ass-raping at the toll booths in New York and New Jersey, (towing a double-axle trailer) they stumbled off the interstate and found themselves in the wee hours, alone on a dark and winding CT parkway.
Mad Dogs and Englishmen
basking in the glow of a portable heater on a 22 degree night
We crossed into Massholistan around sunup, and arrived at Sebago Lake, Maine with just enough time to grab some Eggs Benedict and cinnamon buns at the local diner before we sprawled on bare floors in our sleeping bags for some much needed shut-eye. The house, empty for some time, had no heat, no running water, miserable cell reception and no internet.
After roughing it Colonial Style for the last 2 weeks, Miss Monkey is happy to announce that she has now returned to the 21st century with all mod-cons, and that Maritime Monday is back up and running.
Godzilla maven IshirÅ Honda helmed this quaint, old-fashioned fantasy adventure (loosely styled after 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) about the crew of a damaged deep-sea craft who are taken aboard a high-tech atomic submarine dubbed “Alpha,” commanded by the Nemo-like Captain McKenzie, played by Joseph Cotten.
The Captain then transports them to the underwater city of Latitude Zero, whose inhabitants are dedicated to monitoring and protecting human civilization. Cotten’s next mission involves the rescue of a Japanese doctor from the clutches of the diabolical Dr. Malic, (Cesar Romero) whose scientific experiments include the transplanting of human brains into various animals.
Mindless fun, with some marginally effective underwater model effects, and a few giant rubber-suit monsters thrown in for texture. (allmovie)
Low budget fantasy adventure from Britain; based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ 1918 science fiction novel, (working title for the story was “The Lost U-Boat” +) a German submarine holding American prisoners of war during World War I, veers off course.
Lost at sea, the submarine runs aground on an uncharted island in the Antarctic. The survivors find that the island contains an ancient oil refinery that can be used to fuel the submarine. The only problem is that the group of Germans and Americans have to battle gigantic dinosaurs and primitive cavemen as they make their way across the island. (allmovie)
The U-boat and ships were models and the dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals were puppets, hand-held or on strings rather than stop motion. (wikipedia)
Bill Murray plays Steve Zissou, an eccentric and renowned oceanographer seeking mortal revenge on a shark that ate one of the men on his team. The crew meets a host of obstacles on their journey, including pirates, kidnapping, and bankruptcy. Adding a flair of whimsy to the film’s aesthetic, the sea creatures and underwater scenes in the film have been created using stop-motion animation. (allmovie) The film was a box office flop. (wikipedia)
Constance Bennett stars as Joan Bannister, the wife of globe-trotting war correspondent David Bannister (Don Porter). Returning to the US, Bannister becomes suspicious when Joan begins keeping company with known Nazi functionaries. Suspecting that his own wife may be the elusive “Madame Spy” wanted by American authorities, Bannister is in for quite a few surprises before the film’s final frames. (allmovie)
John Ford directed this undersea adventure from the early days of the sound era. After a brief shore leave in Singapore, where sailors slaked their thirsts for both liquor and women, the crew of a U.S. Navy S-13 submarine is ordered back to duty (with many still drunk) in hopes of getting into safer waters before rough weather hits.
In the midst of a storm, the sub collides with a ship and starts to sink. The S-13 begins taking on water, which knocks out their radio equipment shortly after they send out a distress signal. The sub has a limited amount of oxygen on board, and tempers flare as the men begin to wonder who (if anyone) will survive.
A young Frank Albertson plays the sub’s ensign, and John Wayne has a small part as a radio operator. (allmovie)
(released as Morning Departure in the UK) – British naval drama film about life aboard a sunken submarine, directed by Roy Ward Baker, and starring John Mills and Richard Attenborough. Based on a stage play with the same name by Kenneth Woollard.
Submarine HMS Trojan, out on a routine exercise, hits a derelict floating mine left over from the World War II, instantly killing 53 of the crew. The sub settles to the bottom leaving twelve crew members alive amidships. Trouble ensues when the trapped men below are informed that due to the complexity of the operation, only eight can be rescued. The captain assembles the survivors to draw lots from a pack of cards to decide who goes and who remains. (more on wikipedia)
Based on a novel by Max Catto. Peter Yates directed this quirky World War II war drama starring Peter O’Toole as Murphy, an Irishman who survives the torpedoing of a merchant ship off the coast of Venezuela. Stoking a grudge against the German U-boat that blew up his ship, Murphy hatches a plan to find a missing plane, locate the hated U-boat, and blow it to smithereens. (allmovie)
The fictional Type IX U-boat was portrayed by ARV Carite (S-11); this was the former USS Tilefish which had been sold to the Venezuelan Navy in 1960. (image above) The OA-12 Duck used in the film was restored and flown by Frank Tallman and is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. (below)
Several Peace Corps volunteers serving in towns near the Orinoco River were recruited to play Nazi submariners. After a stint filming in the regions of Puerto Ordaz and Castillos de Guayana on the Orinoco River in Venezuela, there was a brief location shoot in Malta for scenes depicting the burning of the merchant ship.
For these particular scenes O’Toole was called upon to swim through water afire with oil and with explosives going off right and left of him.
“I used to do all my own stunts when I first started” he said. “I made it a principle. Everything in Lawrence of Arabia I did myself. But after suffering a paralyzed hand, a bad back, broken ankle and countless knocks, I decided never again. It was stupid. If you want to see a picture of sheer terror have a look at the shots of me when I first fly that seaplane.“
Murphy’s War was not well received either critically or at the box office. (wikipedia)
Jules Verne’s fantastic 19th century novel Mysterious Island provided the title and little else for this spectacular filmization. Lionel Barrymore plays an altruistic scientist who has built an underground city, hoping to use the modernistic devices he has installed to bring about world peace. But evil Slavic nobleman Montagu Love, whom Barrymore regards as a friend, has other plans.
Plagued by production problems, Mysterious Island was begun in 1926, went through three directors, and was re-shot to include dialog sequences when talking pictures came into vogue. Though essentially a silent film, it includes several well-integrated sound sequences; its highlight was a Technicolor submarine ride, which unfortunately exists only in black and white prints today. (allmovie)
La Isla misteriosa y el capitÃ¡n Nemo, or L’ÃŽle mystÃ©rieuse, a 1973 European TV miniseries starring Omar Sharif as Captain Nemo. This TV miniseries turned out to be one of the most remarkable Jules Verne adaptations, remaining unusually faithful to the original book, including the exterior design of the Nautilus. The series featured what may be considered the most beautiful, atmospheric dense Jules Verne imagery ever put on film. It was later re-edited into a 96 minute motion picture for theatrical release. (wikipedia)
MacDonald Carey stars as Brett Young, a U.S. undercover agent whose job it is to prevent atomic secrets from falling into the wrong hands. Marta Toren co-stars as Madeline Brenner, a woman of mystery who is seemingly in cahoots with enemy agents. The titular mystery submarine figures into the film’s climax, which takes place just off the coast of Mexico. (allmovie)
Starring Ben Gazzara, Yvette Mimieux, and Walter Pidgeon – A research facility becomes a death trap, and only an untested Navy vessel can save the day in this adventure drama. A team of scientists is studying marine life in an underwater research station called Sealab. Shortly before the Sealab crew are scheduled to return to the surface, a massive underwater earthquake strands them at the bottom of the ocean. A new experimental submarine is recruited to find the Sealab and rescue the crew. (allmovie)
The nature of the “Sealab” underwater facility may have been suggested by real-world projects of the 1960s: the ConShelf Two project that Jacques Cousteau participated in, and the US Navy SEALAB. (wikipedia)
Flynn is cast as Canadian mountie Steve Wagner, assigned to track down and capture downed Nazi pilot Hugo von Keller (Helmut Dantine) in the snowy Hudson Bay region. Once Wagner and fellow mountie Jim Austin (John Ridgely) catch up with Von Keller, they pretend to be sympathetic, hoping that he’ll reveal his espionage plans.
Taken in by the ruse, Von Keller leads the mounties towards a secret Nazi hideaway, where the Germans have hidden a huge bomber they plan to use in an attack against North America. (allmovie)
Post-apocalyptic drama based on Nevil Shute’s 1957 novel of the same name and starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and Anthony Perkins. Set in a then-future 1964, in the months following World War III. The conflict has devastated the northern hemisphere, polluting the atmosphere with nuclear fallout and killing all life. Air currents are slowly carrying the fallout around the planet, and the only areas still habitable, like Australia, are in the far southern hemisphere.
Survivors detect an incomprehensible Morse code signal from San Diego in the United States. In the hope that someone is still alive back home, the last American nuclear submarine, USS Sawfish, now under Royal Australian Navy command, is ordered to sail north from Melbourne to try to make contact with the signal sender.
In the novel, there are people still alive elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere, and Australia is in radio contact with other places such as Montevideo and Cape Town.
In the novel, the submarine is named Scorpion. In the film, she is called Sawfish. This may be because there was an actual USS Scorpion under construction at the time the film was made. A nuclear submarine like her fictional counterpart, USS Scorpion was in service from 1960 to 1968, when she was lost with all hands, cause unknown.
Unlike the novel, no blame is placed on whoever started the war; it is hinted that it may have been an accident, a few faulty vacuum tubes, or transistor circuits as in the similarly themed 1964 film Fail-Safe. (more on wikipedia)
see also: Analysis of the novel vs the film
header: Atlantic Convoy (Columbia, 1942)