Movie Star CUBERA

Movie Star CUBERA

The wife and I enjoy old sci-fi movies. Imagine my surprise one night, when towards the end of the 1955 monster-flick "It Came from Beneath the Sea", there was the SS347 sailing back to San Francisco after dispatching the "giant" stop-action animated octopus that Ray Harryhausen created for the film. Watching it again, I saw more shots of CUBERA in other scenes. Immediately after the opening launch of NAUTILUS, the GUPPY sub on the surface at sea is clearly numbered "347." Interior shots were probably filmed aboard the PAMPANITO in San Francisco.

Our newly converted sleek Guppy sub was supposedly the latest "atomic" sub, and locked out through the forward escape trunk two aqualung divers who delivered the knockout punch up-close and personal.

Why was CUBERA used for these scenes? Here’s my thinking: Columbia Pictures knew we had an atomic-powered Nautilus, launched in 1954. A shot of the launch is in the film. Hell, it was all over the news. Any suitable footage of NAUTILUS underway was probably not available from the U.S. Navy at the time, for reasons of secrecy. Now, CUBERA (being the first Guppy-II) was probably filmed in 1947 for archive footage as part of the Guppy program documentation by the Bureau of Ships, and that footage was no doubt de-classified by 1955, when the film was made. So when Columbia Pictures’ film editors called the Navy and asked for "atomic submarine footage", CUBERA’s footage was what they were offered.

Rent the film if you don’t believe it!

P.S.: I’ve since seen this same CUBERA film clip on The History Channel, used in the segment on U.S. submarines.

UPDATE 31MAR2011: I think I found the source of the film clip--it’s used in a 1954 USN promotional film called "Take’er Down". It’s posted on YouTube here.


Last modified: 08Oct2019