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 <email@example.com>
The colorized version and many b&w TV prints, are edited to fit a two-hour time slot. Most of the cuts involve the interactions of the crew (notably Alan Hale Sr) in the rec room and virtually all of Raymond Massey's domestic scenes with Ruth Gordon with the exception of his actual arrival home. Also omitted are most of the scenes of the cook, extended scenes of the destruction of Massey's ship early on as well as several interstitial and transitional scenes. See more »
The term "propaganda" has taken on a very negative connotation, though propaganda can also be a very positive thing--encouraging the masses through logical and/or emotional appeals to get on the bandwagon on a certain topic. In this case, the effort was noble--encouraging people to understand why we were fighting the Axis powers as well as drumming up their support. Now these types of films were made in the hundreds in the USA during the war and many of them are pretty forgettable. However, this might just be one of the very best due to its magnificent writing and acting. Plus, in many ways it's similar to the British wartime film IN WHICH WE SERVE (1942)--but I think that ACTION IN THE NORTH Atlantic is actually a bit better film. Much of this is because the acting is at least equal to the British film (Humphrey Bogart and Raymond Massey versus Noel Coward and John Mills in the 1942 film) and the story is a bit more exciting in ACTION IN THE NORTH Atlantic. Plus, I admired how the often forgotten men of the merchant marine were shown to be heroes--after all, a lot of them died transporting supplies to Britain during the war.
Both films excelled because unlike some jingoistic wartime films, the Allies were NOT shown as super-humans who could do ridiculous things (like in the movie AIRFORCE where a B-17 shoots down fighter plane after fighter plane--something that just could never have happened). In fact, both films feature ships being sunk right out from under the stars in the first half hour of the film! But here's where the films really succeeded, as they showed the indomitable human spirit that despite losses, continues to bravely and without too much complaint do their job. Balancing this need with the families back at home make these both stellar films. In fact, now that I think about it, I STRONGLY recommend you see both. Yes, they are similar, but also different enough to provide a lot of entertainment and wonderful insight into our history.
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