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>
This movie represents one of a select group of World War II submarine movies that have won the one single Academy Award in a technical category, that's just only the one Oscar in either special effects or sound editing. The others are Crash Dive (1943); The Enemy Below (1957); Torpedo Run (1958) and U-571 (2000). The Hunt for Red October (1990) also won just the one Oscar as did the WW 2 part sub-movie 49th Parallel (1941), but for Best Original Story. See more »
When the German "detonators" are activated, pendulums start swinging. Pendulums are NEVER used aboard ship. The normal rocking of a ship in a seaway makes pendulums an unreliable method of activating a timing device. See more »
I should have died many times, Captain, but I continue to survive somehow. This time it was your fault.
I didn't know. Next time I won't throw you the rope.
I think you will.
See more »
Opening credits prologue: WORLD WAR II THE SOUTH ATLANTIC See more »
So leben wir alle Tage
(Drinking Song) (uncredited)
Traditional German folksong sung to the tune of the "Dessauer Marsch"
English lyrics by Charles Henderson
Sung by Curd Jürgens and the crew of the U-Boat See more »
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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