Those seeing U-Boat Prisoner's IMDb score of 8.1 may think it a little known classic. They would be wrong. Based on six votes only, the average is an outlier. (It is, for example, quite inferior to Operation Pacific, a 1951 submarine story rated as 6.5.) After another ninety or so responses, U-Boat's score should fall to about a 5.5--which is where it should be.
As to what happens in the picture, seaman Archie Gibbs is torpedoed and thought to be a German agent by the crew of the sub that rescues him. He is confined--as an informer--with four previously captured scientists. But a day or so later, a destroyer sinks the sub. Gibbs then employs torpedo tubes to help the few survivors escape until, seemingly, only he and the sociopathic captain are left. And in order to fire the tube for one, the other has to stay behind.
As to what happened in real life, since the movie is based on Mr. Gibbs' similarly titled experiences, the answer is virtually nothing that the movie claimed happened, happened. To wit: In May of 1942, Mr. Gibbs' ship was torpedoed. He was picked-up almost immediately. Twenty-four hours later that ship was also torpedoed. That was when he was picked-up by the U-126 (no spy was involved). A destroyer did not sink the sub. He was released a few days later and reported most of his experiences were positive.
As to why the picture is substandard, there are several reasons. There's much bad dialog:
Gibbs (to enemy spy on raft): "You Nazi skunk!" Enemy agent: "Wait a minute! Wait a minute! The U-boat will pick us up. I'll save your life." Gibbs: "I'll take care of you first."
There's little character development (the sub's crew is virtually indistinguishable from one another). There's obviously a low budget (which shows in tons of stock footage, crypto-cheesy sets, and ultra-tight shipboard shots). There's an unrecognizable cast (except for Bennett). And, finally, there's bad acting--particularly by the so-called Germans--though Bennett, it has to be said, does acquit himself well.
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