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Submarine Patrol (1938)

A naval officer is demoted for negligence and put in command of a run-down submarine chaser and with a motley crew.


John Ford


Rian James (screenplay), Darrell Ware (screenplay) | 2 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Greene ... Perry Townsend III
Nancy Kelly ... Susan Leeds
Preston Foster ... Lt. (j.g.) John C. Drake
George Bancroft ... Capt. Leeds
Slim Summerville ... Ellsworth 'Spuds' Fickett - Cook
John Carradine ... McAllison
Joan Valerie ... Anne
Henry Armetta ... Luigi
Dick Hogan ... Seaman Johnny Miller
Warren Hymer ... Seaman Rocky Haggerty
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Seaman Rutherford Davis Pratt - aka 'The Professor'
Douglas Fowley ... Seaman Pinky Brett
J. Farrell MacDonald ... CWO 'Sails' Quincannon
George E. Stone ... Seaman Irving Goldfarb
Jack Pennick ... Bos'un 'Guns' McPeek


A naval officer is demoted for negligence and put in command of a run-down submarine chaser and with a motley crew.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Did You Know?


In a 1984 interview by Claude Ventura & Philippe Garnier, Elisha Cook Jr. described how he lost half the thumb on his left hand making this picture. He was up on deck during a storm scene and they unleashed a ton of water which took him over the side. While trying to catch himself, a piece of piano wire wrapped around his thumb and cut it off. John Ford then comes up to him and says "That was a helluva shot Cookie" to which Cook replied "It sure was Mr. Ford. I just cut my thumb off". Ford then passed out.

Interview is on You Tube under the title: Cinéma Cinémas - Elisha Cook Jr. - 1984. See more »


At a wedding ceremony Perry (Richard Greene) sends a message to say he's been ordered to Malta. As his ship is sailing he shouts a to Susan 'See you in Gibraltar' See more »


Featured in Directed by John Ford (1971) See more »


Santa Lucia
Written by Teodoro Cottrau
Arranged by Charles Maxwell
See more »

User Reviews

John Ford just before "Stagecoach"
2 April 2014 | by kevinolzakSee all my reviews

1938's "Submarine Patrol" was reportedly a personal favorite of director John Ford, rather surprising considering the classic status of his next few pictures, "Stagecoach," "Young Mr. Lincoln," "Drums Along the Mohawk," and "The Grapes of Wrath." It's a watchable but eminently forgettable entry, featuring such dependable 'stock company' members as George Bancroft, John Carradine, Jack Pennick, and Ward Bond. Top billed is newcomer Richard Greene, a holdover from "Four Men and a Prayer," as wealthy yachtsman and playboy Perry Townsend III, who joins the Navy during WW1 in the hope that his father's influence will earn him instant acclaim. Instead, he winds up assigned as Chief Engineer to the smallest craft in the 'Splinter Fleet' (the film's original shooting title), a mere 110 feet, under the supervision of Lt. Drake (Preston Foster), and a crew without any experience on the water, played by dependables like Douglas Fowley, Warren Hymer, Elisha Cook, George E. Stone, and Dick Hogan. Most of the running time is given to Perry's romancing of Susan Leeds (Nancy Kelly), whose disapproving father (George Bancroft) captains a munitions freighter. Her usual companion is first mate McAllison (John Carradine), whose sourpuss demeanor just can't compete with his charming new rival. This was Nancy Kelly's very first adult screen role, quickly followed by similar turns opposite Carradine in "Jesse James" and "Frontier Marshal." His future companion in horror, Lon Chaney, was employed at Fox for three years, rarely in featured roles. At least here his bit was more notable than most, six minutes in, just after Carradine's introduction; as a marine sentry, Lon watches Joan Valerie leave in a fancy car, commenting to Maxie Rosenbloom about the departing vehicle, "some chassy, huh sarge?" to which Maxie responds about the attractive Valerie, "I dunno, she was sittin' down all the time!" (Lon's double take is priceless). Chaney contributed to other Carradine titles at Fox- "This Is My Affair," "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "Jesse James," and "Frontier Marshal." Carradine quickly reunited with Richard Greene in "The Hound of the Baskervilles," while Chaney did the same in 1952's "The Black Castle." John Ford moved on to the classic Western "Stagecoach."

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Release Date:

25 November 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Suicide Fleet See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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