1970s Gray Lady Down (1978)

Published on June 14th, 2011 | by Chris

0

Gray Lady Down (1978)


Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On June 14, 2011
Last modified:October 3, 2012

Summary:

The predictable plot unfolds, rescue team comes, problems and conflicts arise both on the surface and below, eventually most everyone is rescued and they all live happily ever after.

Gray Lady Down (1978)The phrase "Gray Lady Down", at least according to the movie of the same name, refers to the situation where a nuclear submarine has sank. (sunk? sunken? sinked? ah, heck.)

Here, the Neptune, helmed by Captain Blanchard (Charlton Heston) collides with another ship in an unfortunate accident, and finds herself at the bottom of the ocean, where they await rescue.  I don't know what class of submarine they're supposed to be in, either, but you could almost play tennis in that thing....  (nitpick, I know.)

And that's pretty much the long and short of the movie.  Actually, it reminded me a lot of stock 1970's disaster movies, with a healthy dose of 70's TV-ish moments, and some downright awful straight-from-TV soundtrack sequences (but others that were actually quite good! go figure.)  I'm not even sure you could technically classify it as a "war movie," other than that A) it involves the military and B) it's a movie.  Take that for what you will.

The predictable plot unfolds, rescue team comes, problems and conflicts arise both on the surface and below, eventually most everyone is rescued and they all live happily ever after.  Predictable being the key word here.  Just about every move you could see the end result a mile away.  From the untimely and heroic demise of Capt. Gates (David Carradine) to the sacrifice of Cmdr. Samuelson (Ronny Cox)....

Not to say at all that this is a bad movie.  Actually it isn't that bad at all, its just not quite what I was expecting.

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a veritable whos-who of 1970's and 1980's film and television, including a young Christopher Reeves, and a young Stacey Keach (younger than I remember him in anything anyway!)

All in all I'm throwing this a 6/10.  Just because even though its not all *that* bad, its pretty formulaic, and not really a war movie at all.  Just saying.

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Description

Charlton Heston stars in this riveting drama involving a nuclear submarine and her crew trapped 1,450 feet underwater. When the nuclear sub U.S.S. Neptune collides with a Norwegian freighter, it sinks helplessly onto an unstable ledge above a deep ocean canyon...

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Brand: UNI DIST CORP. (MCA)
Manufacturer: Universal Studios
Original Release Date:
Actors:
  • Charlton Heston
  • David Carradine
  • Stacy Keach
  • Ned Beatty
  • Christopher Reeve

Reviews

Customer Reviews
Average Customer Review

70 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Davey Jones' Locker, January 24, 2001
By 
D. Roberts "Hadrian12" (Battle Creek, Michigan United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gray Lady Down (DVD)
On the big board at NORAD, there is a single horrifying word that, when lit up, makes even combat hardened Admirals and Generals weak in the knees. The word is "DISSUB." It means that there is a disabled submarine, lost somewhere under the waves. It is a word that every senior officer at NORAD hopes that he never, ever sees on his watch.
This is a movie about just such a circumstance; an American sub (SSN) on her way home after a routine patrol collides with a Norwegian tanker, due to low visibility. The sub sinks to an unstable ridge on the side of an underwater mountain in the depths of the Atlantic. A furious rescue operation then gets underway by the US Navy to save the sailors trapped on board.
This is a fine submarine movie which boasts fine performances by Charlton Heston and Stacy Keach. Even the usually one dimensional David Carradine plays a passable under-appreciated engineer. The direction is also quite good and the special effects are... Read more
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a solid "disaster" thriller, July 2, 2004
By 
Alejandra Vernon "artist & illustrator" (Granada, Nicaragua) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (COMMUNITY FORUM 04)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Gray Lady Down (DVD)
The misfortunes keep piling up, as the Neptune, a nuclear submarine that has collided with a Norwegian cargo ship, sinks to the bottom of the waters near Cape Cod. There are many interesting character studies, as the increasing stress brings out the dark side, and also the heroic aspects of the personalities cooped up and running out of air, as well as those above, attempting to rescue the stranded sub.
Two underwater vehicles are used in the rescue, a two-man experimental Snark, and a DSRV (Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle). There are many taut, exciting scenes in the process, and the pacing by director David Greene keeps the action flowing.
Charlton Heston delivers a strong performance as Captain Blanchard, with moments of anguish he dare not show his crew. David Carradine and Ned Beatty, who operate the Snark, add a lot to the film as they try to find the "Gray Lady Down" on the murky ocean floor.
Other notable performances come from Stacy Keach, Ronny Cox,... Read more
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie; Terrible DVD Presentation, May 2, 2000
By 
Eric Paddon (Morristown, NJ) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gray Lady Down (DVD)
"Gray Lady Down" was Charlton Heston's last movie as an action lead, and it is a much more pleasing film than some of the other 70s disaster films he appeared in like "Earthquake" and "Airport 1975." This time, the disaster story of a nuclear submarine trapped on the ocean floor after colliding with a ship on the surface, has an air of believability and tension and the rescue procedures we see as the Navy tries to get to the sub before it's too late are well done. Compared to today's high-tech sub movies, "Gray Lady Down" may seem quaint, but that only serves to enhance its charm as a more realistic action film than today's mindless drivel.
Christopher Reeve has a bit part as an officer, and it was this appearance that first brought him to the attention of producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind when they were looking for candidates for "Superman".
Unfortunately, this new DVD release is not the right way to experience... Read more
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About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.



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