One Step Beyond (1959–1961)
7.1/10
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The Haunted U-Boat 

During World War II a German U-boat is apparently haunted by a loud banging which only occurs when it is submerged. Eventually the noise so frightens the captain and crew that they bring ... See full summary »

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(creator), (as Larry Marcus)
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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
Himself - Host
...
Herr Bautmann
...
Capt. Eric Kreig
Kort Falkenberg ...
Lt. Freidel
Wesley Lau ...
Lt. Schneider
Siegfried Speck ...
U-Boat crew
Paul Busch ...
U-Boat crew
Frank Oberschall ...
U-Boat crew (as Frank Obershall)
Noberto Kerner ...
Hans (as Norberto Kerner)
...
U-Boat crew
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Storyline

During World War II a German U-boat is apparently haunted by a loud banging which only occurs when it is submerged. Eventually the noise so frightens the captain and crew that they bring the submarine to the surface and surrender. It would appear to be haunted by the ghost of a worker who died on board during its construction. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Release Date:

12 May 1959 (USA)  »

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(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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The U-Boat presented in the story is claimed to be U-147. According to uboat.net, the actual U-147 was sunk on June 2, 1941 north west of Ireland. See more »

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Did one of the Nazis Victims Strike Back?
3 October 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Years ago I was privileged to see Werner Klemperer on stage and after the same play. He was portraying the Russian composer Prokofief, in a play with Philip Bosco (as Andre Zhdanov) and Austin Pendleton (as Shostakovitch) and George Hearn (as Joseph Stalin). The play dealt with Stalin trying to rebuild a shattered Russia in the wake of World War II. They have won the war, but have suffered horrible losses. Yet while trying to rebuild, Stalin's own monstrous personality and defects are harming any chance of true repair work. The play was actually a work in progress, so there was a question and answer period after it was over that I stayed for. The actors were discussing the roles, and seeking responses from the audience about their reaction to the play.

Klemperer was quite good, portraying the composer of "Peter and the Wolf" as an ailing man, struggling to recover from a stroke, but aware that he and his younger rival Shostakovitch are suspect by Stalin and Zhdanov (Stalin's deputy at the time) of "revisionism" in their music (they are too original in their work - too much "western/capitalistic" influences; Stalin wants Russian folk music used instead - like Amran Khatchaturian's melodies). One watched Klemperer looking physically frail, but trying to retain his dignity (although in one scene he left the room, and vomited in the bathroom due to his fear of the Russian monster he just left).

Werner Klemperer came from a musical background. His father was a great conductor, Otto Klemperer. But the family had to flee Germany in the 1930s, as they were Jewish. Here Werner became an actor (like his older contemporary Walter Slezak, son of the opera star Leo Slezak). In his career as an actor, he would sometimes play people involved in music (in the movie HOUSE BOAT, he is the agent for conductor Eduardo Cianelli). But, like Slezak, he frequently was cast as Germans, especially Nazis. His best recalled performance was in JUDGMENT AT NUREMBURG, where he is an unrepentant Nazi judge (his high point in the film is when he confronts Burt Lancaster's self-condemning judge with cries of "Traitor...TRAITOR!!"). Later on Klemperer would play Adolf Eichman in a film. He played one of the anti-Semitic crew of a German liner in SHIP OF FOOLS. But, of course, he became a television immortal (and Emmy winner) for being Colonel Wilhelm Klink on HOGAN'S HEROES.

How, after being so negative in his portrayals of Nazis (including one of the arch murderers of the bunch - Eichman) could Klemperer play Klink? He explained it on a television talk-show once that he only agreed to play Klink when he told the producers that he did not want those guys (the Nazis) to be portrayed as good guys. Certainly the Nazis on the show are the heavies, but enough humanizing elements are thrown in to make us realize that Klink and Sgt. Schultz (and ...maybe...General Buchalter) are not always villainous, if only villainous in hoping to aid their side to victory. The only really unlikeable Nazi in the show was Howard Caine, as Major Hochstadter, the S.S. man.

This episode of ONE STEP BEYOND allowed Klemperer to portray a totally unrepentant Nazi. It is April 1945, and Klemperer is an S.S. man who is being sent to Argentina by U - Boat. His mission is to help set up (with the aid of the Peron regime, no doubt) that country to welcome Nazi refugees from their destroyed Fatherland. The U - Boat starts it's cruise, but the crew begins hearing a metallic pounding inside the hull every day. It only stops when the sub goes to the surface, but as the war is still going on it is dangerous for the sub to do that. It can be spotted by the Allied air-forces or naval crafts.

The pounding is driving the crew to distraction, but really taking a toll on Klemperer. He acts like he is being pursued by some demons. When it is not pounding he is quite arrogant and a totally committed zealot. But as soon as the sub is underwater again, the pounding begins, and he is a trembling sufferer.

Some allied craft show up while it is underwater. The pounding begins again, louder and louder, and it is attracting sonar in the allied boats. They start using depth charges. Finally, despite Klemperer's threats, the boat surfaces - the Captain would prefer surrender to being sunk. As soon as they surface (and surrender) the pounding ends.

At the tail end, John Newland points out that when the u - boat was scrapped a year or two later, a skeleton was found within the skin of the boat. The u - boats were frequently built with slave labor, and it may have been a slave who had been accidentally caught within the ship's skin and it may have been his/her spirit that was pounding on the hull.

An interesting idea - a similar story (apparently true) is connected to the great 19th Century ocean liner, THE GREAT EASTERN, where two skeletons were found when that ship was finally scrapped in 1888. Klemperer's performance is properly despicable, and the episode was pretty good.


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