Crash Dive is 20th-Fox’s salute to the submarine crews of the US Navy. It packs terrific wallop.
Endowed with a fine cast, headed by Tyrone Power, it has been directed with consummate skill and artistry by Archie Mayo, unfolds a tense, dramatic series of undersea warfare episodes and, visually, through its excellent Technicolor treatment, is at all times highly distinctive.
True, the script concoted by Jo Swerling from an original by W.R. Burnett can hardly lay claim to originality, with the film having a tendency to slip during its maudlin boy-chases-gal sequences in the early chapters, but once the preliminaries have been disposed of and the USS Corsair starts hitting the high seas, it’s a tense, arresting saga of sub warfare that’s as educational as it is entertaining. When the picture deals with the adventures of the sub’s crew in maneuvering the ship through narrow channels to elude sub nets and a profusion of mines, with only a matter of inches the difference between life and death, it creates an overwhelming suspense.
1943: Best Special Effects (Fred Sersen, Roger Heman)