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 ...
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C. Aubrey Smith
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 <email@example.com>
I recommend that movie viewers if in the New York City area go to the Intrepid museum and get some idea of how closed in and cramped the living was for the crews of World War II vintage submarines. How much more so that must have been for the seamen during World War I. It must have truly been hell below.
Walter Huston and Robert Montgomery head the cast of Hell Below, Huston as the by the book captain and Montgomery as his free wheeling number two. They're both quite believable as Naval officers and the rest of the cast like Robert Young, Eugene Palette, Jimmy Durante, Madge Evans, Sterling Holloway, etc. fill their roles quite nicely.
The silent service got more popular during World War II and after. It's amazing, but I could name a whole slew of submarine pictures like Torpedo Run, Operation Pacific, Hellcats of the Navy, Run Silent, Run Deep and many more and you'll see the same plot situations in all of them. I guess there truly is a limit on situations as well.
Jimmy Durante's performance is interesting. He's pretty funny and his scene with the boxing kangaroo while on shore leave is very funny indeed. But I'd have to say a character like him in those cramped quarters is probably very necessary for morale. If you don't have someone like that to break the tension on board a submarine, you ought to get one transferred to your ship immediately.
The highlight for me however is Sterling Holloway's death scene. Very similar to Sean McClory's in Island in the Sky. It will haunt you long after you've seen this film.
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