Thursday, October 9, 2014
'The Deep Six' DVD: Awesome Story of Quaker Pacifist Ideals During Wartime
Warner Archive continues its oft weekly highlight of a star regarding a peck of DVD releases of Alan Ladd films several weeks ago that includes the 1958 WWII era drama "The Deep Six". This celebration of Ladd also includes the Unreal TV reviewed release of the awesome western "The Big Land."
The terrific look of "Six" seems more like the '50s era in which it is filmed than the '40s era in which it is set but is terrific either way. The early scenes occur in a "Mad Men" style ad agency in which highly competent lady executive Susan Cahill, nicely played by Dianne Foster, enjoys a consensual (if not entirely fulfilling) personal relationship with the boss.
Susan soon falls in love with Ladd's Alec Austen, a very talented freelance artist and lapsed Quaker. The heating up of their relationship coinciding with the heating up of World War II results in Alec being forced to leave Susan behind to become a gunnery officer on a Navy ship. The lack of logic regarding having this artist serve as an artillery officer adds great "M*A*S*H" style humor to "Six."
Fun casting that is more apt for the Pacific Princess than the ship to which Alec is assigned includes having Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. of the '60s-'70s drama series "The F.B.I." play the laid-back bunkmate of Alec and William Bendix of scads of roles in classic films and the "The Life of Riley" sitcom play a stereotypical squid.
Shipboard concern that Alec's religious background will prevent him from fully doing his duty during a battle seems validated when Alec refuses to fire his weapon in an relatively early scene in "Six."
Much of the film predictably (but successfully) has Alec bonding with some shipmates and battling others. He additionally faces wartime challenges regarding his relationship with Susan. A reunion scene with her has some of the best humor, '50s style wholesomeness, and drama in "Six" in a neat roughly 15-minute bundle.
It is equally predictable that events throw Alec into another situation that requires that he either fight, flee, or become cannon fodder. The expertise of the folks at Warner regarding adding a twist to this standard development is what makes "Six" and films of its ilk classics.
This strong blend of action and substance make "Six" a Ten in terms of both Archive and war films.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Six" is strongly encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.