CRIMSON TIDE (1995)

A film by Tony Scott. Stars: Gene Hackman, Denzel Washington and Matt Craven. When some Russian rebels takes control of some ICBM’s, the Americans mobilize. Among the vessels sent is the nuclear sub, the Alabama. But before they leave they need a new X.O. and among the choices is Commander Hunter, who hasn’t seen much action. But the ship’s Captain, Ramsey OK’s him. While on the way, there was an incident and Hunter disagreed with how Ramsey handled it, it’s evident that Ramsey doesn’t think much of Hunter because Hunter was college educated while Ramsey worked his way up. They’re given orders to attack but when they were in the process of receiving another order, the ship’s communications were damaged, so the entire message was not received. Ramsey decides to continue with their previous order while Hunter wants to reestablish contact first. That’s when the two men butt heads that ends with Hunter relieving Ramsey. Later when some men die. Skip Beard, listed as a Technical Advisor, served as the Commanding Officer of the real USS Alabama (SSBN 731). He can be seen in the Board of Inquiry scene. He is the man with no hair sitting next to Jason Robards. Al Pacino was originally offered the role played by Gene Hackman. Warren Beatty was also interested in the movie and producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer went through a long period trying to convince him to sign on, before all parties moved on. Quentin Tarantino was brought in to do uncredited “punch-ups” of the dialogue. His major contribution was the comic book bickering. The character name “Russell Vossler” is a reference to Rand Vossler, with whom Tarantino used to work at a video store. See also Pulp Fiction. Jason Robards, who plays the admiral in the inquiry scene, actually served in the Navy during World War II and received the Navy Cross (though he is not listed in official rolls of Navy Cross winners, despite the claims some – not he – have made). The dockside scene where Captain Ramsey (Gene Hackman) addresses the crew shows the USS Alabama in the background and, after his speech, the crew runs onboard. The sub was actually USS Barbel (SS-580), a conventionally-powered (i.e. non-nuclear) attack submarine originally commissioned in 1959. The sail (“conning tower”) is a plywood mock-up that generally matched the real Alabama’s. Barbel’s original sail not only looked different but had already been removed (the Barbel was about to be scrapped). The scene in which the USS Alabama is diving for the first time out of dock, the footage is of the real submarine submerging. Director Tony Scott was following along in a helicopter attaining shots of the ship, herself. When the captain of the Alabama requested that the helicopter cease filming, they submerged, which is what director Tony Scott was hoping for anyway.

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