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The Enemy Below - Movie of the Month for May 2024


Admiral_Karasu

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Movie of the Month for May 2024

The Enemy Below

Try having the movie watched by the next weekend or so, that's SAT/SUN May 11 to 12.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QziIyrnLtvY&list=PLBFa2yUBFRr5KGwTtkN3scQv1jIuaESCk&index=2

Note! Recommended that you use the link to watch the movie in an adjacent tab or new window for ease of reference.

 

The Enemy Below on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Enemy_Below

And on IMDB:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050356/

 

Spoiler Warning!

If you have no clue about the movie previously, watch the movie first before going into the discussion.

General discussion of the movie to follow below. I will set up a separate thread for technical aspects to discuss.

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"... course one-four-zero ..."

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I forgot how good of a movie this is.  Glad it was picked out in your poll.

I won't spoil it for others, but the dialogue between Robert Mitchum and Curd "Curt" Jürgens at the very end of the movie is great.

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At 37 minutes 47 seconds into the movie, there is what I consider a "Birmingham Brown" moment, a kind of "trope", of was once considered comedic activity in the face of a sudden scarey phenomena.  😄 

 

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I've seen it in the past, but the movie was worth re-watching.  🙂 

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From Wikipedia

The destroyer escort USS Haynes (DE-181) was represented in the film by the USS Whitehurst (DE-634),  Many of the actual ship's crew appear in the film, such as the phone talkers, the gun and depth charge crews, and all of the men seen abandoning ship. The Whitehurst's commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Walter Smith, played the engineering officer. He is the man seen reading comics (Little Orphan Annie) during the lull before the action while an enlisted man is reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The real DE-181 was USS Straub (DE-181), a Cannon-class destroyer escort.

Despite being set in the South Atlantic, filming of the open ocean scenes took place in the Pacific Ocean near Oahu, Hawaii. A ship collision set and filming of the abandon ship scenes took place off of Los Angeles.

For the audio effects, Walter Rossi received the 1958 Academy Award for Best Special Effects. The film was also awarded as the best sound-edited feature of 1957 by the Motion Picture Sound Editors.

  • The 1966 Star Trek episode "Balance of Terror" is closely based on the film, with the USS Enterprise cast as the destroyer and the Romulan vessel, using a cloaking device, as the U-boat.
  • Nicholas Meyer has cited the film as an inspiration for The Wrath of Khan.
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I have a feeling everyone's already managed to watch our movie, The Enemy Below, but, just in case someone hasn't, I'm going to put a question of sorts here with the appropriate level of

SPOILER ALERT!

image.jpeg.8c2a3507789bb4c0ee2070c8438b02c9.jpeg

Spoiler

Do you guys think the movie qualifies for a 'happy ending' since they kind of got each other in the end?

On a more serious note, though.

Think if the movie had ended differently, might you for reason felt some disappointment over it?

I had a look at the bio of Curd Jürgens. At the time the movie was made, he would have been about 42 years old. His career spanned about 47 years starting in 1935. Prior to that he had been in a bad car accident, and while he was working in Vienna he ticked off the wrong people and wound up in a labor camp... from which he escaped. Later on, he also went to hell and back, sort of.

In his later years he was still active acting among other things in an out-of-this-world kind of a gem called 'Why the UFOs steal our lettuce', ...uhm... he played the part of another authority figure there, the UFO commander.

I think, however, I've only seen him in two movies, the Enemy Below here and about 20 years later in the Spy who loved me.

 

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2 hours ago, Admiral_Karasu said:

I have a feeling everyone's already managed to watch our movie, The Enemy Below, but, just in case someone hasn't, I'm going to put a question of sorts here with the appropriate level of

SPOILER ALERT!

image.jpeg.8c2a3507789bb4c0ee2070c8438b02c9.jpeg

  Reveal hidden contents

Do you guys think the movie qualifies for a 'happy ending' since they kind of got each other in the end?

On a more serious note, though.

Think if the movie had ended differently, might you for reason felt some disappointment over it?

I had a look at the bio of Curd Jürgens. At the time the movie was made, he would have been about 42 years old. His career spanned about 47 years starting in 1935. Prior to that he had been in a bad car accident, and while he was working in Vienna he ticked off the wrong people and wound up in a labor camp... from which he escaped. Later on, he also went to hell and back, sort of.

In his later years he was still active acting among other things in an out-of-this-world kind of a gem called 'Why the UFOs steal our lettuce', ...uhm... he played the part of another authority figure there, the UFO commander.

I think, however, I've only seen him in two movies, the Enemy Below here and about 20 years later in the Spy who loved me.

 

Two endings of the movie were filmed. 
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050356/trivia/?item=tr0769275&ref_=ext_shr_lnk
A test audience preferred the happy ending and that was the ending released as part of the film.
The Director's instincts paid-off, in my opinion.

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21 minutes ago, Wolfswetpaws said:

Two endings of the movie were filmed. 
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050356/trivia/?item=tr0769275&ref_=ext_shr_lnk
A test audience preferred the happy ending and that was the ending released as part of the film.
The Director's instincts paid-off, in my opinion.

Hadn't looked at the information, but it's a pretty standard practice to have two alternate endings with a test audience. I think the fact the audiences get to see so much of what goes on in the U boat and not just on the US Navy destroyer that kind of 'mandates' that kind of a solution. Though... in other movies we've seen very different outcomes as well.

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BTW, learned something new. The US Navy uses terms like Left and Right rudder. For real.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/5/2024 at 7:25 AM, iDuckman said:

Many of the actual ship's crew appear in the film, such as the phone talkers, the gun and depth charge crews, and all of the men seen abandoning ship. The Whitehurst's commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Walter Smith, played the engineering officer. He is the man seen reading comics (Little Orphan Annie) during the lull before the action while an enlisted man is reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

This is awesome. I just love that real crews were involved on set.

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2 points nag a bit at my mind, and 1 more really upsets me.

1) Yes, that heading. I mean, if you're in a dogfight why do the predictable. You may have somewhere to go, but it don't do you good to get there dead. So why wouldn't the sub meander, why always get back within a short time to the 140 heading?

2) How could Capt. Murrell calculate the timings so precisely? How could he work out, for instance, to 10 min to torp detection at the beginning? Sure, experience. But the Brits had teams of folks working on analyzing u-boat strategy and then they needed multiple ships and attack patterns to score kills reliably.

3) I am thoroughly upset at the number of real ships with a real history that get used for target practice, sold for scrap, scuttled. Here the stand-in ship, USS Whitehurst. Used for target practice! What a sad, sad ending.

 

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2 minutes ago, I_cant_Swim_ said:

2 points nag a bit at my mind, and 1 more really upsets me.

1) Yes, that heading. I mean, if you're in a dogfight why do the predictable. You may have somewhere to go, but it don't do you good to get there dead. So why wouldn't the sub meander, why always get back within a short time to the 140 heading?

2) How could Capt. Murrell calculate the timings so precisely? How could he work out, for instance, to 10 min to torp detection at the beginning? Sure, experience. But the Brits had teams of folks working on analyzing u-boat strategy and then they needed multiple ships and attack patterns to score kills reliably.

3) I am thoroughly upset at the number of real ships with a real history that get used for target practice, sold for scrap, scuttled. Here the stand-in ship, USS Whitehurst. Used for target practice! What a sad, sad ending.

 

Hmm... I don't quite follow what you mean by the USS Whitehurst here, but the other things might explained away by the fact that this is a Hollywood movie.

If you want to go beyond that, Germans were known to be sticklers for routine in everything they did.

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1 minute ago, Admiral_Karasu said:

I don't quite follow what you mean by the USS Whitehurst here, but the other things might explained away by the fact that this is a Hollywood movie

Sure, I get that it's a Hollywood movie. But the deadset heading bit lacks a bit of authenticity. Still, to see how much the movie deviates from the book it's based on (by Commander Rayner), I'd have to read it first. Which I haven't... But the author did take part in the battle of the Atlantic, it appears, where U-boats were a real menace and where the tactics used to combat them were worked out. The bit the nags me is thus that none of that made it into the movie...

The bit about the Whitehurst? As @iDuckman said above, she was the stand in for the USS Hayes. But she was active in the war too, I believe. And then she was used for target practice afterward. I just think such ships, and the history surrounding them, approaches something sacred and they deserve to be recorded and preserved for ever... Ok, don't need to mention costs and stuff, I'm off on an emotional tangent right now...

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6 hours ago, I_cant_Swim_ said:

2 points nag a bit at my mind, and 1 more really upsets me.

1) Yes, that heading. I mean, if you're in a dogfight why do the predictable. You may have somewhere to go, but it don't do you good to get there dead. So why wouldn't the sub meander, why always get back within a short time to the 140 heading?

2) How could Capt. Murrell calculate the timings so precisely? How could he work out, for instance, to 10 min to torp detection at the beginning? Sure, experience. But the Brits had teams of folks working on analyzing u-boat strategy and then they needed multiple ships and attack patterns to score kills reliably.

3) I am thoroughly upset at the number of real ships with a real history that get used for target practice, sold for scrap, scuttled. Here the stand-in ship, USS Whitehurst. Used for target practice! What a sad, sad ending.

 

"It's in the script" of the movie.  😉 

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I'm learning that a number of these WWII retrospective movies used the crews of the stand-in ships as cast.  With the blessing of the US Navy.  Consider the crew of the "Graf Spee" (USS Salem), all turned out to gun stations even when there was no point.  But you have several hundred guys eager to do the Hollywood thing, so why not use them?

 

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