15 user 5 critic

Hell Below (1933)

Passed | | Romance, Drama, War | 9 June 1933 (USA)
In 1918, U.S. Navy Lt. Tommy Knowlton participates in dangerous submarine missions, disobeys orders, gets court-martialed and romances a married woman who happens to be his C.O.'s daughter.


Jack Conway


Laird Doyle (adapted by), Raymond L. Schrock (adapted by) | 3 more credits »




Complete credited cast:
Robert Montgomery ... Lieut. Thomas Knowlton USN
Walter Huston ... Lieut. Comdr. T.J. Toler USN
Madge Evans ... Joan Standish
Jimmy Durante ... 'Ptomaine' - Ships Cook
Eugene Pallette ... Mac Dougal - Chief Torpedo Man
Robert Young ... Lieut. (JG) 'Brick' Walters
Edwin Styles Edwin Styles ... Herbert Standish - Flight Comdr.
John Lee Mahin ... Lieut. (JG) 'Speed' Nelson
David Newell ... Lieut. (JG) Radford
Sterling Holloway ... Seaman Jenks
Charles Irwin ... Buck Teeth British Sergeant


On leave in Italy, Lt. Tommy Knowlton falls in love with Jean Standish, who's not only married, but is the daughter of his submarine's commander. Friction between the two officers becomes intolerable once at sea and after Commander Toler is forced to abandon Tommy's best friend topside while the sub dives to escape enemy planes, Tommy is no longer able to contain his anger. Written by Chris Stone <jstone@bellatlantic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


EVERYTHING ONE COULD WANT IN A PICTURE!!! (Print Ad- New York Sun, ((New York, NY)) 2 June 1933) See more »


Romance | Drama | War


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This film received its initial television broadcast in Los Angeles Friday 31 May 1957 on KTTV (Channel 11); it first aired in Philadelphia 28 August 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6), in Chicago 23 June 1957 on WBBM (Channel 2), in Memphis 5 July 1957 on WHBQ (Channel 13), in both New Haven CT and Miami 11 September 1957 on WNHC (Channel 18) and on WCKT (Channel 7), in Altoona PA 29 September 1957 on WFBG (Channel 10), in Tampa 9 October 1957 on WFLA (Channel 8), in Akron 20 October 1957 on WAKR (Channel 49), in Baltimore 5 November 1957 on WJZ (Channel 13), in Norfolk VA 23 November 1957 on WTAR (Channel 3), in Cleveland 27 November 1957 on KYW (Channel 3), in Phoenix 28 November 1957 on KPHO (Channel 5), in Honolulu 4 January 1958 on KHVH (Channel 13), and, eventually, in New York City 1 June 1958 on WCBS (Channel 2), in Minneapolis 3 August 1958 on WTCN (Channel 11), and in San Francisco 7 November 1958 on KGO (Channel 7). See more »


As the picture begins, there is no indication that it is set in the past. A submarine blows up a ship, and there is a conference of worried officers. Only then is there a title reading "1918." See more »


Lieut. 'Brick' Walters: [commenting on their new commanding officer] Boy, he acts like he wrote the book of regulations.
Lieut. 'Speed' Nelson: No, but he lives up to it, and he'll see that you do too. Yes, sir, that's "Dead Pan" Toler. If he smiles, it's only a gas pain.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Dedicated to those officers and men of the United States Navy, who, in peace and war, volunteer their lives in one of the most hazardous branches of its service: submarines. See more »


Anchors Aweigh
(1906) (uncredited)
Music by Charles A. Zimmerman
Played during the opening credits
See more »

User Reviews

Great Action Among the Awful Acted Love Triangle
23 July 2014 | by LeonLouisRicciSee all my reviews

It Seems that MGM was Determined to give Audiences Their Moneys Worth when They Bought a Depression Era Ticket to this WWI War Movie. If You Look for the Kitchen Sink in this don't be Surprised if You find it.

The Most Impressive Elements of this Mostly Exciting Entertainment are the Battle Sequences that Play Realistic and Pack Quite a Wallop. There are Air Raids that Almost Destroy a City, Submarine Peril, Machine Gun Battles with Bi-Planes, Destroyers being Destroyed, Death, Poison Gas, and some Undersea Suspense that has become the Staple of Every Submarine Movie to Follow.

The Comedy Bits, mostly with Jimmy Durante, are OK but Overdone. But it is the Romantic Subplot that Keeps this from becoming Great Cinema. The Lovers Speeches are Badly Written and Delivered by the Actors even Worse. The Triangle is so Melodramatically put in Place for who knows what Reason, is a Show Stopper and not in a Good Way.

The Cast of Walter Huston, Robert Montgomery, and Robert Young, Among Others, do Their Best Work away from the Awful Acting of the Female (Madge Evans) Central to the Overwritten Plot. The Movie is just too Full of too Many Things to be a Coherent Whole. But the Best Parts are Outstanding and Manage to Compensate for all of the Extra Ingredients.

Note...Some prints (like the one on TCM) are Re-Release versions and have some dialog clipping to satisfy Hays Code requirements that is abrupt and intrusive at times.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 15 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.





English | German | Italian

Release Date:

9 June 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pigboats See more »

Filming Locations:

Honolulu, O'ahu, Hawaii, USA See more »


Box Office


$895,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed