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Crash Dive was one of many films to be released during WWII. Its pluses are good acting, supplied by Tyrone Power, Anne Baxter and Dana Andrews and award winning special effects. The story takes place in and around our then American sub base in New London Ct. In between battles with the German navy, a love story evolves with Tyrone Power and Dana Andrews after the same woman played by Anne Baxter.James Gleason is a bonus as one of the sub's seasoned crew memebers.
Fantastic special effects highlight this World War II submarine drama
starring Tyrone Power, Dana Andrews, and Anne Baxter - Power's last
before going into the Marines.
Power is charming as a man who captures the heart of Anne Baxter, who though he doesn't know it, just happens to be the girl of Dana Andrews, Power's new commanding officer.
Out on the submarine, there's some exciting action as the sub searches for a secret base set up by the Nazis. One interesting subplot is the friendship of Oliver, a black soldier, with Mac, portrayed by James Gleason. Ben Carter, who played Oliver, does a great job, and his role as a concerned friend and brave soldier is not the usual stereotypical one blacks were often forced to play.
The ending, of course, is pure propaganda as Power, supposedly talking to his uncle, talks about the fighting men, subs, PT boats, and the like all doing their job. I'm in no way trying to denigrate it - propaganda is a fascinating part of film history and at that time was deemed important to the war movement. It's all very interesting to view today. And Power is gorgeous.
Archie Mayo's film lurches between a straightforward war movie (with
impressive effects in the later section, concerning an attack on a
submarine) and a tug of love romance between two friends and the girl they
both want to marry. The balance between the two stories isn't always
effective, and perhaps the film would have been better one thing or the
However, Tyrone Power is top-billed - in his last movie before real-life active service - and close following in the cast are Dana Andrews, reliable as ever in what could have been a unsympathetic role, and Anne Baxter as the schoolmistress who wins their hearts. All are very good. James Gleason, as 'Mac', is as watchable as ever, while the great May Whitty makes an impact when the focus moves away from the boys at sea.
'Crash Dive' is perhaps a noble failure, but yet another interesting war film, this time propaganda for the submarine units. It is also of note for the blink-and-you-miss-him film debut of Steve Forrest (younger brother of Dana Andrews).
This was a very enjoyable WWII film, though before I discuss why I
liked the movie, I should point out that the film does have one BIG
cliché. When Tyrone Power meets a woman (Anne Baxter--here with dark
brown hair) and they immediately hate each other, lovers of classic
Hollywood films know that this can only mean one thing---they are
destined to fall in love by the end of the film!! Aside from this
predictable aspect of the film, I really did like the movie.
The first thing I noticed about the film was the gorgeous color film. For 1943, it was terrific--with the most vibrant blues I've ever seen--much like the look of the great film, THE CAINE MUTINY. Twentieth-Century Fox really pulled out the stops to make this film look nice.
As far as the plot goes, it's a pretty exciting and standard submarine film. Now that I write this, I realize that they sure made a lot of great sub films over the years--with hardly a stinker among them. This film maintains the excellent tradition of such lovely films as RUN SILENT RUN DEEP, THE ENEMY BELOW and DESINTATION TOKYO--all lovely films that are both gripping and entertaining.
The film has more plot than just subs and Anne Baxter. It seems that Tyrone Power was very happy and successful aboard PT boats. When he was transferred to sub duty, he wasn't particularly excited, as he thought that patrol boats were the greatest thing since sliced bread. However, over time, he makes good and grows to love the submarine.
CRASH DIVE has some excellent action scenes--particularly the attack on a secret base near the end. The acting good, script very good for a wartime propaganda flick and I particularly liked the sympathetic portrayal of the Black sailor--something pretty rare in a film of the era. Overall, a good and enjoyable film.
Crash Dive is a typical WWII propaganda film with a stirring musical score by Hugo Friedhofer that prompts any young man to want to enlist in the navy. The cast is uniformly good, especially Tyrone Power as he cleverly tries to woo a reluctant Anne Baxter. Sub skipper Dana Andrews always excelled in military roles. The plot borders on the ridiculous. A German naval base in the north Atlantic- where? An American submarine conducting offensive operations in the Atlantic would likely have been attacked on sight by Allied forces who would naturally assume all subs in the Atlantic were German (such was the fate of one U.S. sub which left New London for the Panama Canal and was never heard from again). Good action scenes for a film of this genre with many of the clichés that would be repeated in other WWII submarine films.
Tyrone Power's last film before going to war was this World War II epic
which co-starred him with Dana Andrews and Anne Baxter and a good cast
of supporting players. This did win an Oscar for Special Effects with
the raid on the Nazi Submarine base.
And that's what makes this thing so stupid. Where was that base? Given what World War II vintage subs could do in performance, that base had to be Block Island, Martha's Vineyard or at worst, the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. You're asked to believe that the Nazis constructed a secret submarine base somewhere on some mythical isle in the Atlantic. These guys went off on some short cruise from New London to find this base. Just where were the Nazis operating?
Tyrone Power must have laughed himself silly every time he thought of this one. Especially in the South Pacific where served with the Marines in several major Pacific campaigns. At his funeral, there was a Marine honor guard as would befit a retired Major.
The rest of the story is your standard triangle the kind Power played in with Don Ameche during peacetime in the 30s. Except that here, the Ameche part was played by Dana Andrews.
One positive note. Black actor Ben Carter played a cook in the submarine galley and he's shown in an actual combat mission. It was an unusual role for a black actor to play at that time and I think he played it well. Some racial stereotyping, but his concern and affection for James Gleason who was the CPO on the submarine was real and rang true.
Crash Dive is directed by Archie Mayo and written by Jo Swerling and
W.R. Burnett. It stars Tyrone Power, Dana Andrews, Anne Baxter, James
Gleason, May Witty and Harry Morgan. A Technicolor production out of
20th Century Fox, music is by David Buttolph and cinematography by Leon
It's flag waving time, 1943 style as Power and Andrews vie for the love of Baxter whilst conducting a submarine offencive against the Nazis. The love triangle feels twee but Mayo manages to keep it in check and not let it bog this particular sub movie down. When the pic is out on the water it's grand entertainment, nicely filmed and featuring Oscar winning effects work. Momentum is gradually built until the finale comes and delivers an action packed bonanza. Hooray! 7/10
Three-way submarine drama following an ambitious navy officer (Tyrone
Power) who falls for a schoolteacher (Anne Baxter) prior to leaving for
a mission aboard a submarine bound for German targets. He is unaware
that she is the sweetheart of Dewey Connors (Dana Andrews) who is about
to become his commanding officer. Engaging wartime adventure blending
romance and action, with Oscar-winning special effects.
Summary: Simple premise Impressive special effects Decent acting An interesting study of propaganda in film
Taken from a story written by W.R. Burnett, this Navy yarn was directed by Archie Mayo. Typical Navy tale for War films of this sort were routinely produced during the 40's. It involves the standard war time plot of two men falling for the same woman. In this case we have our devilishly handsome officer Tyrone Power playing Lt. Ward Stewart who has a definite wartime preference for P.T.Boats and considers them the undependable heart of the U.S. Naval fleet. Unfortunately, he is being reassigned to Submarine duty with a stern commander, namely Lt. Cmdr. Dewey Connors (Dane Andrewa) as the ships's Captain. As per the formula scripts of the war-time era, the two men are in love with the same beautiful leading lady Jean Hewlett (Anne Baxter) and want to marry her. Although both find time to woe her, they also deal with war time problems, namely the enemy. Hazzards abound in the deadly seas they patrol, so much so it doesn't seem likely the officers will survive. The movie becomes standard stuff and because it's filled with guns, bombs and exciting situations, it promises to be interesting. Once that is accepted, the movie is good War-time exciting fun and could lead to you buying some war bonds after the show. If one is a fan of the two leading me, this becomes good entertainment. Nuff said, especially with additional cast members like James Gleason and Harry Morgan. Recommend for the patriotic crowd. ****
This is one of very few films shot partly at the submarine base in
Groton, CT, aka Submarine Base New London, CT.
A few naval combatants rarely seen in Technicolor are visible in the early part of the film. The PT boats seen near the beginning are the 77-foot Elco type. The submarine primarily featured as the fictional USS Corsair is the experimental USS Marlin (SS-205), with a conning tower modified to resemble her sister USS Mackerel (SS-204). A few O-class and R-class submarines, built in World War One and used for training in WW2, are visible in the background of some shots. For wartime security reasons, no submarine classes used in combat in WW2 appear in the film. The USS Semmes (AG-24 ex-DD-189) is seen in one shot; there are probably not many good Technicolor views of a four-stack destroyer available today. The Semmes was being used as a sonar testbed at the time.
I personally did not like how the love story progressed, as Tyrone Power is consistently deceptive and gets the girl anyway.
Another reviewer has assumed that the Nazi base would have to be near New England on the basis that WW2 submarines had a short range. This is incorrect. US submarines in WW2 routinely went from Pearl Harbor to Japan's home waters, patrolled for several weeks, and returned to Pearl Harbor on a single tank of diesel fuel. A Gato-class submarine could cover 11,000 miles without refueling, thus could have patrolled in German home waters while based in Groton if necessary. My assumption is that the Nazi base would be in Greenland, not likely given the realities of the war, but the raid on it still makes for good action.
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