The Bed ford Incident is an excellent contemporary sea drama based on a little-known but day-to-day reality of the Cold War, the monitoring of Russian submarine activity by US Navy destroyers. The production, made at England’s Shepperton Studios, has salty scripting and solid performances, including one of the finest in Widmark’s career.
James Poe’s adaptation of the Mark Rascovich novel depicts the ‘hunt-to-exhaustion’ tactic in anti-submarine warfare, whereby a sub contact is pursued until one side or the other either gives up or eludes.
Widmark stars as the skipper of the USS Bed ford, a modern destroyer, equipped with tactical nuclear weapons, on patrol in the North Atlantic. Widmark’s skipper is that rare breed whom the crew not only follows, but worships. The character of this sea dog is drawn out by the helicopter arrival of Sidney Poitier, as a wise-guy magazine writer, and Martin Balsam, a Reserve medic back on active duty.
Poitier does an excellent job in both the light and serious aspects of his role, and manages to leave a personal stamp on his scenes.