An American tanker is sunk by a German U-boat and the survivors spend eleven days at sea on a raft. They're next assigned to the liberty ship "Sea Witch" bound for Murmansk through the sub-stalked North Atlantic.
Lieutenant Joe Rossi is 1st Officer on a Liberty Ship in a great convoy bound from Halifax to Murmansk. After German subs crushed the convoy his ship loses the convoy and is heading alone to Murmansk. In spite of attacks by German planes and subs he get the ship safely to Murmansk...Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reportedly Warner Bros. had originally intended to make only a two-reel documentary on the Merchant Marines, but as the war progressed, it was decided to make an entire feature film instead, the result of which was this film. See more »
Control wires for the German sub model are visible in the underwater shots. See more »
So you want a safe job, hunh? Go ask the Czechs and the Poles and the Greeks. They were figuring on safe jobs. They're lined up in front of guns digging each other's graves. The trouble with you, Pulaski, is you think America is just a place to eat and sleep. You don't know what side your future's buttered on.
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Raymond Massey and Humphrey Bogart as captain and first mate of a merchant marine ship, see their first ship sunk by a German U-boat. They get a second ship and with some of their surviving crew from the first ship join an international convoy taking supplies to the Soviet Union.
From Halifax to Murmansk quite a flotilla of merchant ships from a whole lot of countries that had declared war on the Axis. The convoy was something like a sea going wagon train which was developed because individual ships were easy prey for submarines. The seagoing wagon train got a destroyer escort and they were armed now as well.
The merchant seaman were not technically part of the armed forces. But that didn't mean they weren't seeing a lot of action as Action in the North Atlantic so clearly demonstrates. Bad enough when the Lend lease was to Great Britain, but when we became allies with the Soviets the only places it could go were the ports of Murmansk and Archangel when they were ice free. That meant a voyage along the long Norwegian coast line which was occupied by Germany.
Bogart and Massey give strong portrayals of dedicated merchant seaman whose life is tough enough in peace time. But they certainly have the right stuff in time of war. Some of the crew of their ship is Dane Clark, Sam Levene, Peter Whitney, and Alan Hale who really steals every scene he's in.
Action in the North Atlantic is filled with a lot of the flag waving that characterized Hollywood era World War II films. The derring do heroics are kept to a minimum. The situations the seaman encounter are quite real for the perilous undertaking they were involved in.
It could probably be remade today and maybe with some of today's stars showing a new generation what it was like to be a merchant seaman in World War II>
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