A wide screen format and sharp Technicolor cinematography by Carl E. Guthrie add immensely to UP PERISCOPE (1959). It's a fairly routine WWII film but it's handsomely mounted and a pleasure to look at. Some of the scenes during the third act of the film, which take place at night on a Japanese occupied island, could serve as cover art for the men's adventure magazines of that time. The colors are lush and vivid and the movie definitely looks better than it has to.
Edmond O'Brien is Commander Paul Stevenson, the skipper of the U.S. Submarine Barracuda. He's a strictly-by-the-book officer whose adherence to Navy regulations on a previous mission cost him the life of one sailor and the overall disenchantment of his crew. And what a crew it is! Alan (GILLIGAN'S ISLAND) Hale Jr. is Lt. Pat Malone, Warren (THE WILD BUNCH) Oates is Seaman Kovacs, Edd (77 SUNSET STRIP) Byrnes is Pharmacist Mate Ash and Frank (MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL) Gifford is Ensign Cy Mount. Who wouldn't want to go to sea with these guys?
Commander Stevenson receives a new crewman, Lt. (JG) Kenneth M. Braden (James Garner). Braden is a Navy frogman/commando on a top secret mission. His job is to gain access to a Japanese held island where a communications base has been set up. He has to photograph a code book and get out quick. The book will be used by the Navy to break the Japanese code and send the enemy false information about upcoming attacks. It's a dangerous mission complicated by the fact that it's Braden's first and that Stevenson remains determined to go by the book, which means Braden could end up left behind if he doesn't complete his mission on time.
Capably mounted by veteran director Gordon (THEM! (1954)) Douglas, UP PERISCOPE is a good little WWII actioner. Nothing spectacular but solidly crafted and presented. Nice way to pass a summer afternoon.