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Release Date: January 16th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 1958

Run Silent, Run Deep: Special Edition

Overview -

KLSC reissues one of Hollywood's best World War II submarine films, starring the formidable duo of Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster. Though the transfer remains the same, KLSC has increased the bit rate and housed the movie on a BD-50 disc, resulting in a sharper picture that intensifies the claustrophobic atmosphere and heightens the tension surrounding a vengeful mission to destroy a deadly Japanese warship. Solid audio and a brand-new commentary track enhance the appeal of this welcome re-release of a taut, well-crafted picture directed by the esteemed Robert Wise. Recommended.

Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p/AVC MPEG-4
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
English: DTS-HD MA 2.0
English SDH
Release Date:
January 16th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


Hot on the heels of Odds Against Tomorrow, KLSC reissues Run Silent, Run Deep, another classic directed by the great Robert Wise and one of the finest World War II submarine movies produced during Hollywood's Golden Age. Released a scant 18 months apart (Run Silent, Run Deep premiered first and Wise even had time to helm the highly regarded I Want to Live! in between), the two films showcase Wise at the top of his game, right before he won his first Oscar for West Side Story.

The powerhouse duo of Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster generate plenty of testosterone as officers at odds aboard a U.S. submarine bound for dangerous waters off the Japanese coast. Taut, exciting, and packed with claustrophobic tension, Run Silent, Run Deep also boasts a top-notch supporting cast that includes Jack Warden, Joe Maross, and - in a straight dramatic role - comedian Don Rickles in his film debut. My former colleague Steven Cohen reviewed the movie at the time of its first Blu-ray release in 2014. I agree with his fine assessment, which is reprinted below.

"Even under normal circumstances, two opposing personalities thrust head to head are sure to light some sparks - but throw in the added pressures of a claustrophobic, military submarine always subject to the constant threat of enemy fire, and suddenly you've got yourself a perfect recipe for motion picture drama. And while there have been many strong films set deep below the ocean's surface, Robert Wise's Run Silent, Run Deep is one of the genre's defining prototypes. Tense and handsomely crafted, the movie offers a slow-burn descent into obsession and mutiny, spearheaded by fantastic performances from two Hollywood legends.

When his submarine is destroyed by a Japanese ship, WWII Commander Rich Richardson (Clark Gable) becomes obsessed with tracking down the enemy vessel in order to get revenge. With a new sub now under his control, Richardson tirelessly trains the crew for his own personal vendetta, ignoring their official mission. But when Lt. Jim Bledsoe (Burt Lancaster) opposes Richardson's tactics, tempers flare leading to a possible mutiny - all while the enemy diligently attempts to sink their submarine.

After a dramatic, ominous opening, Wise perfectly sets up Richardson's central drive, showing us the fateful attack that sunk his original ship. Gable takes on the role with powerful determination and blinded obsession. Dignified yet slightly arrogant, Richardson is clearly a good commander, but his quest for vengeance betrays his better qualities, putting his crew in unnecessary danger. Serving as his sparring partner, Burt Lancaster is equally effective in the role of Bledsoe. Calm and collected, the man carries an effortlessly heroic temperament, making it easy to see why the crew would turn to him for guidance. Together, both actors create a stirring central conflict, and the mounting tension between them is absolutely absorbing.

Taking a slow-burn approach, the filmmakers litter the first half with repeated attack drills and gradually escalating discontent among the crew as Richardson continues to push them harder and harder. This tactic gives us a glimpse into the minutia of submarine life and training, while carefully building toward the potential mutiny that rests at the center of the narrative. Likewise, it allows us to get to know the characters and dynamics between them before chaos erupts. And while these earlier scenes can be a little tedious, the director ramps up the action considerably in the second half, offering a thrilling and suspenseful series of submarine action scenes that add a visceral level of tension to the already palpable emotional drama.

To pull off the attack sequences, the movie primarily uses miniatures, and while the use of models definitely shows its age (wires guiding the subs and torpedoes are frequently visible), the effects work still gets the job done just fine. Likewise, the sets used for the submarine interiors are solid as well, even if they don't quite carry the same claustrophobic quality found in later cinematic efforts like Das Boot. For his part, director Robert Wise stages the action and drama with handsome precision, and while the visual style can be a bit generic and old-fashioned, the mixture of stationary shots and subtly moving frames does a decent job of portraying the dangerous submarine atmosphere.

With that said, several shots can't help but feel like studio sets and though the film's themes of loyalty, vengeance, and obsession are strong, the script's central dilemma is familiar and its examination of war is fairly simplistic. The Japanese are depicted as little more than an enemy that needs to be defeated, and each successful mission is greeted with exuberant celebration. Of course, it's clear that the writer's goal isn't to create an anti-war message, and the real focus remains on the opposing character dynamics between Richardson and Bledsoe.

Serving as an influential precursor to later submarine thrillers like Crimson Tide, Das Boot, and K-19: The Widowmaker, Run Silent, Run Deep remains an engaging and suspenseful underwater drama. Gable and Lancaster become formidable on-screen rivals, and watching them butt heads proves to be riveting. While the pacing can be on the slow side and certain elements of the script and production are outdated, the main conflicts are gripping and the director always keeps the runtime afloat, even under heavy enemy fire." 

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
This reissue of Run Silent, Run Deep arrives on a BD-50 disc that's packaged in a standard case with reversible cover art inside a sleeve with a matte finish. Video codec is 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 and audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono. Once the disc is inserted into the player, the static menu with music immediately pops up; no previews or promos precede it.

Video Review


According to KLSC, this is the "same transfer as [the] 2014 release, but encoded at a higher bit rate and on a dual-layered BD50 disc, giving the feature 30mbps or more. So it should look better than the previous release that was on a BD25 single layered disc." I don't own the 2014 Blu-ray, so I can't personally make any comparisons, but based on our review of the 2014 transfer, I can say with a fair amount of certainty this 2024 rendering accomplishes KLSC's goals.

Clarity and contrast are quite good, but the higher bit rate accentuates the already strong grain structure, at times producing some palpable mosquito noise. The grain, however, fluctuates throughout, with some shots looking as smooth as satin. The inconsistency can be somewhat jarring, but the transfer supplies a pleasing film-like picture throughout that faithfully honors the cinematography of six-time Oscar nominee Russell Harlan. Rich blacks, crisp whites, and nicely varied grays produce a balanced image that brims with depth and allows us to drink in all the details in the submarine equipment and machinery. Excellent shadow delineation keeps crush at bay and razor-sharp close-ups highlight the omnipresent sweat on all the men's faces, the hairs in Gable's trademark mustache, and various facial blemishes. A few errant nicks and faint scratches dot the print, but never distract from the action.

If you're a diehard fan of this classic World War II submarine flick, you'll probably appreciate this upgrade, but it's not essential. Casual fans likely will be okay sticking with the disc they currently own.

Audio Review


This seems to be the same audio track from the 2014 Blu-ray, with possibly a modification or two. Here's how my colleague Steven Cohen reviewed it a decade ago:

"The film is presented with an English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono track along with English subtitles. There are some age-related issues, but the mix does a very fine job of complementing the story. Speech is relatively clear and full, but the track does have a comparatively flat quality. Effects work is handled well, and there is a solid sense of ambiance throughout the submarine. Likewise, torpedoes and explosions carry a decent kick, especially considering the film's age. The movie's ominous score also comes through with strong presence. With that said, minor background hissing can be heard throughout, and there are some intermittent pops in a few of the music cues. Thankfully, these issues aren't too distracting. Though limited by its age, this is a solid track that helps to enhance the film's escalating tension." 

To my ears, the age-related hissing and intermittent pops to which Cohen refers seem to have been erased, leading me to believe KLSC has tweaked the audio just a tad. The tense silences are clean and no errant surface noise disrupts the mix.

Special Features


The only extra on the 2014 Blu-ray was a trailer, but KLSC ups the ante here by adding an audio commentary.

  • Audio Commentary - Filmmaker/historian Steve Mitchell and author Steven Jay Rubin have paired up for several engaging commentaries for KLSC war pictures and they join forces once again for this high-quality track. The duo praises the film's efficiency and commitment to authenticity, cites differences between the original novel and screenplay adaptation, chronicles some personal conflicts and production issues that disrupted shooting, and supplies some brief cast and crew bios. They also drop in some trivia, note that no military stock footage was used in the film (a rarity at the time), and share some contemporary reviews of the movie. If you're a fan of this submarine thriller, you'll definitely want to give this track a listen.

  • Theatrical Trailer (HD, 3 minutes) - In addition to the film's original preview, KLSC includes several previews for other Blu-ray releases starring Lancaster and directed by Wise.

Final Thoughts

Run Silent, Run Deep remains a humdinger of a submarine film more than 65 years after its premiere, thanks to Wise's expert direction and the fine performances of a stellar cast led by Gable and Lancaster. KLSC's 2024 reissue improves upon its previous Blu-ray release, with a higher bit rate and BD-50 disc heightening image quality and a brand-new audio commentary providing context and perspective on this classic war flick. The enhancements, including upgraded packaging and reversible cover art, might be enough to convince some fans to upgrade, but if you've never seen Run Silent, Run Deep, this is definitely the edition to get. Recommended.

Order Your Copy of Run Silent, Run Deep on Blu-ray