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Hell Below (1933)

Passed | | Romance, Drama, War | 9 June 1933 (USA)
On leave in Italy, Lt. Tommy Knowlton falls in love with Jean Standish, who's not only married, but is the daughter of his submarine's commander. Friction between the two officers becomes ... See full summary »

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(adapted by), (adapted by) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Lieut. Comdr. T.J. Toler USN
...
Joan
...
'Ptomaine' - Ships Cook
...
Mac Dougal - Chief Torpedo Man
...
Lieut. (JG) 'Brick' Walters
Edwin Styles ...
Herbert Standish - Flight Comdr.
John Lee Mahin ...
Lieut. (JG) 'Speed' Nelson
David Newell ...
Lieut. (JG) Radford
...
Seaman Jenks
Charles Irwin ...
Buck Teeth Sergeant
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Storyline

On leave in Italy, Lt. Tommy Knowlton falls in love with Jean Standish, who's not only married, but is the daughter of his submarine's commander. Friction between the two officers becomes intolerable once at sea and after Commander Toler is forced to abandon Tommy's best friend topside while the sub dives to escape enemy planes, Tommy is no longer able to contain his anger. Written by Chris Stone <jstone@bellatlantic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Romance | Drama | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

9 June 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pigboats  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Considerable variations in running times were reported in reviews from press previews. Daily Variety reported a time of 155 minutes on 17 March 1933 while the Motion Picture Herald reported 78 minutes on 15 April 1933. In its review, Variety listed 105 minutes on 2 May 1933, but the TCM print was 101 minutes long. See more »

Goofs

During the air raid, set in 1918, the cars being shown are definitely 1930s vehicles. See more »

Quotes

Ptomaine: [Commenting on a large-nosed Italian girl] Mack, I don't care what you say. I'm not going out with her!
Mac Dougal - Chief Torpedo Man: Why, there's nothing wrong with her. She's got a mighty trim little hull.
Ptomaine: But I can't see past her bowsprit!
Mac Dougal - Chief Torpedo Man: Well, maybe she's built for speed?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Dedicated to those officers and men of the United States Navy, who, in peace and war, volunteer their lives in one of the most hazardous branches of its service: submarines. See more »

Soundtracks

Funiculi, Funicula
(1880) (uncredited)
Music by Luigi Denza
Played at a street carnival
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Well done early sound action film
29 May 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I say it's an action film rather than a war film because it has a little bit of everything - battle scenes, love scenes, and even some comedy thrown in here and there. It also does something unusual for an MGM film of the era - it doesn't get hammy and it doesn't come up with a contrived happy ending for all involved.

Lt. Thomas Knowlton (Robert Montgomery) and Lt. Brick Walters (Robert Young) are the best of friends and also officers aboard a submarine during WWI. At the beginning of the film they get a new commanding officer - Lt. Cmdr. T.J. Toler (Walter Huston). Toler is a strictly by the book commander and seems to rub Knowlton and Walters the wrong way just a bit, though more from his very formal nature than by any unfairness in his command. Knowlton falls in love with Toler's daughter Joan (Madge Evans). The complicating factor here is that Joan is married - she tells him so upfront. This doesn't seem to bother Knowton too much until he finds out exactly why Joan let her foot slip.

Conflict between Toler and Knowlton builds not only because of Knowlton's romance with Toler's married daughter, but because Knowlton is unfortunately an officer who thinks sentiment has a place on board a submarine in wartime.

Comic relief is provided by long-time MGM contract comedian Jimmy Durante and Eugene Palette as two enlisted men on board the submarine. Sterling Holloway plays what at first seems like comic relief to the comic relief but ends up the centerpiece of a very nightmarish and unforgettable scene that reminds everyone that war truly is hell.

Highly recommended as a good action film and one that plays to the strengths of the entire cast.


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