Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 1943. Twentieth Century Fox. Original story by W.R. Burnett, Screenplay by Jo Swerling. Cinematography by Leon Shamroy. Produced by Milton Sperling. Music by David Buttolph. Production Design by Richard Day, Wiard Ihnen. Costume Design by Earl Luick. Film Editing by Ray Curtiss, Walter Thompson. Academy Awards 1943.
Tyrone Power pulls off a daring rescue while commanding a PT boat, and for his excellent work is reassigned by the army to a submarine led by Dana Andrews. The USS Corsair travels beneath the surface looking for German ships that are attacking Allied vessels, and Power is disappointed by the new post but decides to keep his chin up and do his duty. Taking a quick weekend leave before beginning the job, he goes to Washington where he meets Anne Baxter and is immediately smitten, having no idea that she is already Andrews’ fiance. After his return, the men complete another successful mission and become fast friends, then just before having to take out a German island base discover their romantic connection. Made at the height of morale-boosting war propaganda films, it’s fun to see how the drama of a complicated love affair is treated when there are more important things to worry about; all emotional expression is kept to a minimum and the result of their affairs are put aside because the country’s needs must be put ahead of the individual. Because it’s so badly written and the direction is so lackluster, the personal angle being left behind in favour of the action sequences is a relief. Baxter meeting Power on a train by accidentally getting into his bed is corny nonsense, while the stuff involving the submarines is beautifully photographed and exciting enough to justify the running time. May Whitty provides the film’s best moments as his ornery grandmother