The Bedford Incident, Richard Widmark plays a hardened cold-warrior and captain of the American destroyer USS Bedford. Sidney Poitier is a reporter given permission to interview the captain during a routine patrol. Poitier gets more than he bargained for when the Bedford discovers a Soviet sub in the depths and the captain begins a relentless pursuit, pushing his crew to the breaking point. This one’s grim tension to the end.
Chilling and taut.
The Bedford Incident, This is a very, very taut Cold War film–very much in the same mold as “Fail-Safe” and even a bit like “Dr. Strangelove”. So, while you might think this is a very pro-war sort of film, it isn’t–it’s about the dangers of overzealous folks who might be propelling us to nuclear disaster.
The film is set on a US destroyer–a naval ship whose job it is to track Soviet subs near Greenland. Its captain is a very efficient and hard-driven man (Richard Widmark). Onto this very business-like ship come a new ship’s doctor (Martin Balsam) and reporter (Sidney Poitier). While the reporter character seemed very unrealistic, Poitier did fine in this role. Most of the film consists of the captain playing a cat-and-mouse game with an unidentified sub–one the captain is determined not to let go. Unfortunately, he’s so determined, he’s almost like Captain Ahab! Where is all this going to end? See the film and find out.This movie works very well because the sense of tension was THICK and the acting was quite good. It also has nice production values and looks like you are at sea, as the models used are pretty good ones. It’s also a bit disconcerting–and the filmmakers clearly intended this.
By the way, the game played in the film with the sub might have been timely in 1965, but with the proliferation of nuclear subs, these ships no longer needed to surface for air like the one in the film. Also, look closely near the beginning of the film and you’ll see a young Donald Sutherland working in the lab.