During World War II, the USS Haynes, an American destroyer escort discovers a German U-boat in the South Atlantic. A deadly duel between the two ships ensues, and Captain Murrell must draw upon all his experience to defeat the equally experienced German commander. Written by
Linda Adams <Garridon@aol.com>
Some of D.A. Rayner's wartime submarine adventures and experiences which appeared in his 'The Enemy Below' source novel to this movie and were adapted into this picture's story as well can be researched in Rayner's other book, 'Escort: the Battle of the Atlantic', particularly the 11 November 1944 Southern Ireland encounter between U-1200 and Allied corvettes (See pp. 224-228). See more »
When the U-boat is first sighted the captain says; "We might get close enough to get a shot at him before he pops under." At the reported range of 6,000 yards the U-boat was already an easy shot for the 3"/50 guns of a destroyer escort (14,600 yards max range, about 10,000 yards effective range). See more »
I guess you're finding the Sun kind of hard to take, after the North Atlantic.
Oh, it doesn't matter. It's always either too cold or too hot, wherever there's a war on.
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Robert Mitchum is the new Captain of a destroyer on patrol in an area of the South Atlantic where there will be little chance for any action, or so the crew thinks. This is a new command for him, he lost his last vessel and was 21 days on life raft. Mitchum though he was in the merchant marine before World War II is as new to the navy as most of his crew.
Lurking beneath is Curt Jurgens in command of a U-Boat. Jurgens is a career navy man who's already given much for the fatherland, two sons lost. His submarine is on courier duty, not looking in fact for any combat.
But they find each other and The Enemy Below is about the cat and mouse game each of them play in trying to destroy the other.
With twelve years in between the end of World War II and the present it was now possible to portray Germans as three dimensional people, something rarely done during the war years. Jurgens at this time was a very big star on the European continent and was now getting roles that would introduce him to American audiences. He's very good as the professional, but tired U-Boat captain who just wants to get home.
He's matched all the way by Mitchum who's got a lot of doubts now having lost one ship already. The crew has some doubts too, but Mitchum proves worthy of the command he's been given.
The Enemy Below won the Academy Award that year for special effects. No ships in a tank, these are real vessels being used for this film.
Look for good performances by supporting players Theodore Bikel as the Executive Officer of the submarine, David Hedison as the Executive Officer of the destroyer and Russell Collins as the ship's doctor on the destroyer. You might note a small role for Doug McClure at the beginning of his career.
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