Sunday, January 21, 2007

Launched This Day: 1st Atomic Sub


One this day in 1954, the first atomic submarine, the U.S.S. Nautilus, was launched at Groton, Connecticut. All vessels previously known as "submarines" were in fact only submersible craft. Because of the nuclear power plant, the Nautilus could stay submerged for months at a time, unlike diesel-fueled subs, whose engines required vast amounts of oxygen.

Nautilus demonstrated her capabilities in 1958 when she sailed beneath the Arctic icepack to the North Pole. Scores of nuclear submarines followed Nautilus, replacing the United States' diesel boat fleet. After patrolling the seas until 1980, the Nautilus is back home at Groton. link
Arctic Submarine Timeline
Atomic Submarine has just been released by Criterion(!) in a nice, new boxed set called "Monsters & Madmen" along with The First Man Into Space, The Haunted Strangler, & Corridors of Blood all under a beautiful cover by Darwyn Cooke (we highlighted another of his Criterion covers HERE).

The DVD Journal has reviewed the set and has this to say:
"The Atomic Submarine (72 minutes, Criterion no. 366) is to James Cameron's The Abyss what It! The Terror from Beyond Space is to Ridley Scott's Alien. When a nuclear-powered submarine, the Tiger Shark, sets out to investigate a series of mysterious disappearances near the Arctic Circle, its fearless crew finds itself besieged by electrical storms, an Unidentified Floating Saucer, and lots of hairy tentacles."

"There's something sublime in the hairy eyeball's "telepathic" baritone introduction to Arthur Franz: "So, Commander Holloway, as you Earth inhabitants would express it, we meet ... face to face!" Let's not forget the bombastic narrator ("Adapt a complicated guidance system to a huge ballistic rocket, convert it to a water-to-air intercept missile? It was foolish, it was insane, it was fantastic! But it was their only hope. And the Earth's only hope!"). And the Theremin-heavy musical score adds to the cheese factor with "electro-sonic" gusto."
Tomorrow’s Fear Becomes Today’s Nightmare!: