THE FIFTH MISSILE (TV movie)

2/23/1986. Sunday, 8 pm. 3 hours.
NBC.
Drama.
aka: "The Gold Crew."
Code: FM 2/1986

PLOT

Officers on a nuclear submarine face the prospect of World War III when toxic paint causes their logic to go haywire, and they threaten to use their deadly missile on an unsuspecting world.

CREDITS

Writer: Eric Bercovici.
Director: Larry Pearce,

CAST

Robert Conrad as Lt. Cmdr. Mark Van Meer
Sam Waterson as Cmdr. Allard Renslow
Richard Roundtree as Cmdr. Frederick Bryce
Jonathan Banks as Ray Olson, chief petty officer of U.S.S. Montana. Listed 4th (on screen) or 14th (industry source) of 27.
Art LaFleur as Meslinsky
David Soul as Capt. Kevin Harris
Yvette Mimieux as Cheryl Leary

CHARACTER

Does his job. Yells at men to keep them in line. Rubs hands nervously. Worries about possibility of war. Trusts Robert Conrad enough to mutiny. Does that mouth wipe after hitting a man over head with big wrench.

COSTUME

Tan Navy uniform, submariner badge above pocket, another (probably petty officer) below. Blue and white running shoes while on sub.

CRITICS

"Off target... has to be the season’s most ludicrously contrived story... inconsistent and illogical... laughable for its inertia… (performances) are low-key to the point of being lifeless." Lee Margulies, Los Angeles Times, 2/22/1986, sec.V, p.12.

"Blue paint threatens the world." (About JB) "A crewman who opts to help Conrad prevent WWIII is stricken inexplicably while helping rifle the small arms chest." Variety, 3/5/1986.

"…a preposterous, full-hysteria-ahead plot… overlong and overwrought." John J. O’Connor, New York Times, 2/23/1986, sec.II, p.29.

"Goofy, but it does have its moments… seems to be made up of stray pieces of other movies, isn’t something to be taken seriously, thank goodness. … a key participant (JB) … suffers a heart attack at a vital moment…" John Corry, New York Times, 2/23/1986, sec.II, p.29.

"… a gripping flick… but you do need to suspend your disbelief…" Jeff Jarvis, People, 2/24/86, p.9.

DEATH SCENE

Well, he dies, but it’s not clear from script or direction whether he was poisoned by toxic paint, or struck by a heart attack. Maybe the heart attack was caused by the toxic paint?

LINES

"It doesn't look too good, does it, sir?"

"Twenty-four missiles -- three hundred tons of nitro -- happy dreams."

"I'm sorry, sir, I think you've gone round the bend."

"It's my stomach. It's the first time I've ever been part of a mutiny."

LOCATION

Filmed in Malta and Italy, without the cooperation of the U.S. Navy.

SCREEN TIME

About 8 minutes in 12 scenes, starting 10 minutes in, ending at 2 hour mark.

WORKED WITH

Robert Conrad (ASS 3/1986)
Art LaFleur (SAF ?/1976?; BLA 5/1978; IW 2/1983; BIB 9/1984; CRG 7/1986; WG 9/1987 episode 70)
David Soul (RAG 9/1980)