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Seas Beneath (1931)

Passed | | Action, Drama, War | 29 March 1931 (USA)
In the waning days of WWI, a U.S. "Mystery Ship," sets sail for the coast of Spain towing a submarine. Their mission is to find and sink a U-boat that has been especially effective in ... See full summary »


John Ford


Dudley Nichols (screenplay), James Parker Jr. (story) (as Comdr. James Parker U.S.N. Ret'd)


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Complete credited cast:
George O'Brien ... Cmdr. Robert 'Bob' Kingsley
Marion Lessing ... Anna Marie Von Steuben
Mona Maris ... Fraulein Lolita
Walter C. Kelly Walter C. Kelly ... Chief Mike 'Guns' Costello
Warren Hymer ... 'Lug' Kaufman
Steve Pendleton ... Ens. Richard 'Dick' Cabot (as Gaylord Pendleton)
Walter McGrail ... Chief Joe Cobb
Larry Kent ... Lt. 'Mac' McGregor
Henry Victor ... Baron Ernst von Steuben (U-boat commander)
John Loder ... Franz Shiller


In the waning days of WWI, a U.S. "Mystery Ship," sets sail for the coast of Spain towing a submarine. Their mission is to find and sink a U-boat that has been especially effective in attacking Allied shipping. Posing as a harmless schooner, the mystery ship is in fact fitted with a formidable gun capable of sinking a U-boat. Stopping in the Canary Islands to refuel, the crew interacts with locals involved with Germans, and with Germans themselves, including the sister of the U-Boat commander, who is lurking offshore waiting for the coming battle. Written by Ron kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Thrill after thrill will hold you breathless in Fox Movietone Drama (Print Ad- New York Evening Post, ((New York NY)) 3 February 1931)


Action | Drama | War



Parents Guide:

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English | German | Spanish

Release Date:

29 March 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Seas Beneath See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fox Film Corporation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The submarine depicted as U-172 in the film is the USS Argonaut, SS-166, Ex V-4. At the time the largest submarine in the world! The real German WW II U-Boat U-172 was not launched till July 31, 1941. See more »


Written by Manuel M. Ponce
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User Reviews

The Mystery Ship
18 September 2014 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

From the beginning of the sound era until he won his Oscar for The Informer John Ford turned in an interesting body of work. Some of his films are good, others less so. It seemed to me it took him a bit longer than some of his peers to master the technique of sound on film.

Case in point is this World War I naval story Seas Beneath. An interesting and fine war film, it's hampered a great deal by a rather unrealistic romance between the sister of a U-Boat commander Marion Lessing and George O'Brien the American captain of the mystery ship.

O'Brien is in command of the so-called mystery ship which has a pair of big guns camouflaged on board. The object is to look like a harmless American schooner and play decoy until the U-Boat comes in range and then cut loose. When the schooner puts into the Canary Islands for provisioning and to pick up any loose information, the Germans have the same thing in mind. In fact a female spy played by Mona Maris seduces young officer Steve Pendleton and finds out he's a lieutenant. Pendleton redeems himself in a most spectacular incident.

The battles at sea are staged very well. Surprising that other than star George O'Brien none of the known regulars from the Ford stock company are here. Walter C. Kelly plays the CPO of the ship and he's kind of a poor man's Victor McLaglen.

John Ford completists will like the film and it's all right, but nothing more.

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