×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Enemy Below

The Enemy Below is an engrossing tale of a chess-like duel of wits between the commanders of an American destroyer escort and a German U-Boat in World War II, locked in single combat and each intent on blowing the other out of this world.

With:
Robert Mitchum Curt Jurgens Al Hedison Theodore Bikel Russell Collins Kurt Kreuger

The Enemy Below is an engrossing tale of a chess-like duel of wits between the commanders of an American destroyer escort and a German U-Boat in World War II, locked in single combat and each intent on blowing the other out of this world.

Once in a while, the gallantry gets a bit thick, in the style of World War I aviation films of the ’20s and ’30s. However, picture is well-made, with solid action and Robert Mitchum and Curt Jurgens. This is Jurgens’ first American-made film.

Producer-director Dick Powell has lensed two finishes, but studio publicity is carefully non commital on which will be used in final version. However, since upbeat version was used at press review, it’s safe to assume that it’s in the lead.

Fast-paced screenplay, from novel by British Comdr. D.A. Rayner, starts with DE’s radar contact with the surfaced sub, then follows the pursuit, combat, and eventual death of both vessels. Mainly, story concentrates on maneuvers of both captains, as they try for the single mistake on their enemy’s part which will end the contest. Finale has two skippers’ respectful courtesies on board a rescuing Yank destroyer, after Jurgens’ second-in-command Theodore Bikel’s burial at sea.

To soft-soap the German side of the fight for American audiences, Jurgens is quickly established as an anti-Nazi old-line navy man, doing his sworn duty without too much enthusiasm. Mitchum is established as a veteran sub hunter who takes over a new command and has to win his crew’s respect, as well as whip them into shape. He does this with fine results, foregoing most of his usual screen mannerisms.

The Enemy Below

Production: 20th Century-Fox. Director Dick Powell; Producer Dick Powell; Screenplay Wendell Mayes; Camera Harold Rosson; Editor Stuart Gilmore; Music Leigh Harline; Art Director Lyle R. Wheeler, Albert Hogsett

Crew: (Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1957. Running time: 98 MIN.

With: Robert Mitchum Curt Jurgens Al Hedison Theodore Bikel Russell Collins Kurt Kreuger

More Film

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Alien' at 40: Ridley Scott Explains Why 'You Don't Show the Monster Too Many Times'

    It’s difficult to imagine Ridley Scott’s sci-fi/horror classic “Alien” without the clear-minded, strong presence of Tom Skerritt as Dallas, the captain of the ill-fated Nostromo. But originally, the actor turned down “Alien,” which celebrates its 40th anniversary on May 25, though he thought Dan O’Bannon’s script read well. “There was nobody involved at the time [...]

  • The Poison Rose

    Film Review: 'The Poison Rose'

    It is 1978 in the City of Angels and the hard-drinking washed-up sleuth Carson Phillips is having another boozy day through its atmospheric streets. There is a hint of innate coolness and self-deprecation in his elongated voiceover intro — you might even briefly mistake Carson, played by a one-note John Travolta, for a Philip Marlowe [...]

  • 'Chambre 212' Review: A Comedy More

    Cannes Film Review: 'Chambre 212'

    Most of us, in our romantic lives, meditate here and there on the other roads we might have traveled, and movies are uniquely equipped to channel those alternate-universe-of-love possibilities. That’s the idea at the (broken) heart of “Casablanca.” And the fantasy of getting to see the turns your life didn’t take play out right in [...]

  • Zach Galifianakis Jerry Seinfeld Netflix

    Film News Roundup: Zach Galifianakis' 'Between Two Ferns: The Movie' Coming to Netflix

    In today’s film news roundup, “Between Two Ferns: The Movie” is unveiled, “Friedkin Uncut” gets a fall release and Sony Classics buys “The Traitor” at Cannes. MOVIE RELEASES Netflix has set a Sept. 20 release date for Zach Galifianakis’ “Between Two Ferns: The Movie,” based on his 11-year-old talk show. Galifianakis made the announcement during [...]

  • Romanian Crime-Thriller 'The Whistlers' Bought for

    Romanian Crime-Thriller 'The Whistlers' Bought for North America

    Magnolia Pictures has bought North American rights to the Romanian crime thriller “The Whistlers” following its premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Written and directed by Corneliu Porumboiu, the film stars Vlad Ivanov, Catrinel Marlon, Rodica Lazar, Antonio Buil, Agustí Villaronga, Sabin Tambrea, Julieta Szonyi and George Pisterneanu. Magnolia is eyeing a theatrical [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content