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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


The Big Parade of the Navy! (Print Ad- New York Sun, ((New York NY)) 8 December 1938)


Passed | See all certifications »

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 »


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Written by Teodoro Cottrau
Arranged by Charles Maxwell
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User Reviews

World War I navy story
7 December 2014 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

One of the lesser known feature films of John Ford has Richard Greene and Preston Foster co-starring in Submarine Patrol. Foster has been court martialed, reduced in rank and now in command of a submarine chaser which looks to be the equivalent of a PT boat World War I style. He's also been given a really green and rank crew.

Greene is a fresh young squirt with connections and looks like he got a part that possibly Tyrone Power rejected at 20th Century Fox. It's just like the kind of hero/heel role that Power was beginning to make a specialty of. He's not happy being assigned to a submarine chaser, but orders are orders as he's firmly told.

The ship's first job is to escort a convoy and on one of them is Nancy Kelly, daughter of Captain George Bancroft. Bancroft ain't liking Greene no way, no how with his preppy rich boy attitude. But Greene is persistent here and persistent in showing Foster that he can be counted on in a pinch.

A lot of the rest of the crew is made up of Ford regulars like Jack Pennick, J. Farrell MacDonald, and Ward Bond. The usual monkeyshines associated with a Ford military picture are all present here. Take particular note of the harassed cook Slim Summerville who seems only to be able to make and serve lamb stew and the bookish Elisha Cook who actually earns his BA while on board the ship.

Submarine Patrol is not likely to be rated as one of his best, but Ford does not make bad ones for the most part.

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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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