6.6/10
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15 user 5 critic

Hell Below (1933)

Passed | | Romance, Drama, War | 9 June 1933 (USA)
In 1918, U.S. Navy Lt. Tommy Knowlton participates in dangerous submarine missions, disobeys orders, gets court-martialed and romances a married woman who happens to be his C.O.'s daughter.

Director:

Jack Conway

Writers:

Laird Doyle (adapted by), Raymond L. Schrock (adapted by) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Montgomery ... Lieut. Thomas Knowlton USN
Walter Huston ... Lieut. Comdr. T.J. Toler USN
Madge Evans ... Joan Standish
Jimmy Durante ... 'Ptomaine' - Ships Cook
Eugene Pallette ... Mac Dougal - Chief Torpedo Man
Robert Young ... Lieut. (JG) 'Brick' Walters
Edwin Styles Edwin Styles ... Herbert Standish - Flight Comdr.
John Lee Mahin ... Lieut. (JG) 'Speed' Nelson
David Newell ... Lieut. (JG) Radford
Sterling Holloway ... Seaman Jenks
Charles Irwin ... Buck Teeth British Sergeant
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Storyline

On leave in Italy, Lt. Tommy Knowlton falls in love with Jean Standish, who's not only married, but is the daughter of his submarine's commander. Friction between the two officers becomes intolerable once at sea and after Commander Toler is forced to abandon Tommy's best friend topside while the sub dives to escape enemy planes, Tommy is no longer able to contain his anger. Written by Chris Stone <jstone@bellatlantic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

1933 will be famed for one picture !

Genres:

Romance | Drama | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | Italian

Release Date:

9 June 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pigboats See more »

Filming Locations:

Honolulu, O'ahu, Hawaii, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$895,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The destroyer shown sinking in the movie is an actual decommissioned WWI destroyer, USS Moody. Additions were made to the superstructure to replace missing sections, and scuttling charges simulated the torpedo hit. See more »

Goofs

The clothing and hairstyles of Madge Evans and the rest of the female members of the cast, are all strictly in the 1933, not 1918 mode, despite the tremendous changes that had taken place in those fifteen intervening years. See more »

Quotes

Mac Dougal - Chief Torpedo Man: You hit a Limey and you hit a Marine all at the same time. What could be sweeter?
Chief Engineer Hendrickson: Now that's what I call efficiency.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Dedicated to those officers and men of the United States Navy, who, in peace and war, volunteer their lives in one of the most hazardous branches of its service: submarines. See more »

Soundtracks

If I Had You
(1925) (uncredited)
Music by Ted Shapiro
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Damn Austrians!
11 November 2018 | by DWellECONSee all my reviews

Everyone jumps to the conclusion that since this is a World War I picture the enemy the Americans are fighting must be the Germans. However, since the setting of this movie is the Adriatic, the enemy is actually the Austrians (or to be more exact, the Austro-Hungarians). You can just make out the Austrian Naval Flag on the sterns of the enemy ships in several scenes. The climactic battle is an attack on Durazzo (Durres in Albania) which was a major Austro-Hungarian naval base in WWI and the site of two battles in that war, the second battle in 1918 being a major allied victory which undoubtedly served as the historical basis for the battle shown in this movie. Some may be thrown by the "Iron Cross" type markings on the attacking enemy airplanes, but these were in fact the markings used on WWI Austrian aircraft. I only gave this movie a 5 because frankly I found the part about the romance between Montgomery and Evans poorly written and overly melodramatic. But I was impressed by Walter Huston's performance, which gave dimension to a character who could have been played as only a martinet. The real standout of this film were the battle scenes. As some have noted, actual WW I footage was woven into some scene, though others were obviously done using models. The battle scenes were uniformly quite grim and therefore realistic, equal or better to similar scenes in WW II films. Others have mentioned the memorable scene with Sterling Holloway (I was afraid it would give me nightmares) but I also was struck by the cries for help from sailors diving into the sea in a panic from torpedoed and sinking ships. In this movie, the combatants were neither extraordinary heroes nor snide villains, but just ordinary men doing their jobs in a nasty, nasty business.


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