THE NEPTUNE FACTOR
(director/writer: Daniel Petrie Sr.; screenwriter: Jack Dewitt; cinematographer: Harry Makin; editor: Stan Cole; music: Lalo Schifrin; cast: Walter Pidgeon (Dr. Andrews), Ben Gazzara (Cmdr. Adrian Blake), Donnelly Rhodes (Bob Cousins), Yvette Mimieux (Leah Jansen), Ernest Borgnine (“Mack” McKay), Michael J. Reynolds (Hal Hamilton), Ed McGibbon (Shepherd), Chris Wiggins (Captain Williams); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sanford Howard; 20th Century; 1967-Canada)
“A predictable sci-fi adventure tale with little action.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A predictable sci-fi adventure tale with little action, that seemed more like a boring lecture at an aquarium than an action picture. It’s listlessly helmed by the Canadian longtime TV director Daniel Petrie Sr (“Lassie”/”The Betsy“). It’s scripted by Jack DeWitt. The soggy underwater adventure relies too much on the special sub’s scientific gadgetry and the exotic deep sea creatures to hold your attention than on the slight narrative. It steals its plot from Marooned (1969). While in the North Atlantic, on the R/V Triton, the Project Neptune team, headed by the director Dr. Andrews (Walter Pidgeon), is doing oceanographic research even if it’s opposed by Foundation Head Shepherd (Ed McGibbon). During an unexpected underwater earthquake, a team of three scientists led by Hal Hamilton (Michael J. Reynolds) is studying marine life in an underwater research station called Sealab and sending its discoveries to be analyzed on the Triton before it’s pushed into an unexplored cave in the Muir Seamount, leaving them lost, with only enough air to last a short time. Cmdr. Adrian Blake (Ben Gazzara) is recruited to go on a rescue mission, in a race against time, in a new experimental submarine that has been built for deep-sea diving. Blake also takes along the veteran deep sea diver chief “Mack” McKay (Ernest Borgnine), his assistant Bob Cousins (Donnelly Rhodes), and Leah Jansen (Yvette Mimieux), a Triton scientist and Hamilton’s bride-to-be. The dialogue is wretched throughout. In one early scene Walter Pidgeon asks Yvette Mimieux “I wonder if Einstein’s Theory of Relativity ever applied to beauty?” She coyly replies “Did anyone ever tell you, doctor, you have a very ‘fishy’ way with the ladies?”. Yeah. The banter was that bad. But the excellent underwater photography makes it watchable as seemingly one of those familiar types of underwater science films done on TV.
REVIEWED ON 1/1/2019 GRADE: C+ https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/