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On December 6, 1941, Captain Yamanada of the Japanese aircraft carrier "Hiranamu", orders full steam ahead for Pearl Harbor. His ship encounters and sinks an American yacht and the single survivor, Sue Curry, is rescued by an American submarine, the "Sea Serpent", commanded by Commander Chris Warren. He hears her story and attempts to radio a warning to Pearl Harbor. Yamanada, hearing the signals, orders the airlines jammed, and then sends his son into the air to sink the sub. The attack fails, after the sub makes a crash dive, but they fail in their warning attempts. The next morning, December 7th, the men on the sub hear the story of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and devise a desperate plan to sink the Japanese carrier by letting the carrier know their position. The carrier comes in search of the submarine. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Time is often needed in order to add perspective ...
... especially if one is making a movie less than a year after one of the most brazen attacks on American soil in U.S. history, the attack on Pearl Harbor. Given that this is a B film and there is no time or desire to plug vital plot holes, this is an interesting little piece of B film history.
The premise of the film is outrageous enough - a Japanese aircraft carrier on route to Pearl Harbor spots a pleasure cruise yacht way out in the distance. The people on board are civilians, with one couple just arguing over whether or not they should get married without the least interest in what is going on in the sea around them. With discretion and surprise being key to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the captain of the Japanese aircraft carrier decides to start a potential international incident by blowing the yacht to kingdom come, then trying to kill the survivors in the life raft with one of his aircraft, then trying to sink the passing American sub that picks up the lone woman survivor.
Meanwhile back in Honolulu, American secret agent Bill Warren is having a hard time clearing out "fifth column" saboteurs, and no wonder. He openly discusses his true identity and his profession with his girl - nothing impresses the ladies like a little international intrigue! - and with the conversation clearly audible by his chauffeur. When another car pulls up next to his car and takes a shot at him and it turns out his chauffeur is in on the deal he is shocked!...shocked I say!... that everybody seems to know who he really is.
Back on the sub, commander Chris Warren is trying to get a message through to somebody - anybody - about the acts of war taken by the Japanese, but all they can do is pick up music from a club in Honolulu. The scene switches to said club where the rattled Bill Warren is discussing the attempt on his life and his fears of Japanese aggression to an acquaintance. Meanwhile in that very club a waiter/Japanese agent goes into the coat room, opens a secret panel and walks into a fully outfitted radio room manned by another Japanese agent! Clever agents to architect and add such a room without the owner or American staff ever noticing! What follows is the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese predicted by Bill Warren, and a cat and mouse game between commander Chris Warren's submarine and the Japanese aircraft carrier that blew up the yacht. Key to the plot - the sub commander and not-so-secret American agent are brothers, and the captain of the Japanese aircraft carrier is the father of the pilot lost at sea trying to sink Warren's sub.
The propaganda is blatant and the plot holes border on just too silly, but it is by no means boring. I'd recommend it just for illustrating that to make an effective war picture requires the passage of time so that some perspective can be gained. However, in 1942, the home front probably appreciated little pictures like this that likely raised morale.
What's particularly interesting is that it is the supporting ranks of the players here that had bigger careers later on, such as Bruce Bennett as the first officer of the sub and Larry Parks as the radio operator on the sub. Also note that is Lloyd Bridges' voice over the sub intercom in an uncredited role.
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