5.9/10
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20 user 10 critic

Hell Below Zero (1954)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 15 January 1954 (Japan)
The captain of an Antarctic whaling ship falls overboard in mysterious circumstances and his daughter, aided by a sympathetic American, decides to investigate the accident.

Director:

Mark Robson

Writers:

Alec Coppel (screenplay), Max Trell (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alan Ladd ... Duncan Craig
Joan Tetzel ... Judie Nordhal
Basil Sydney ... Bland
Stanley Baker ... Erik Bland
Joseph Tomelty ... Capt. McPhee
Niall MacGinnis ... Dr. Howe
Jill Bennett ... Gerda Petersen
Peter Dyneley ... Miller
Susan Rayne Susan Rayne ... Kathleen
Philo Hauser Philo Hauser ... Sandeborg
Ivan Craig Ivan Craig ... Larsen
Paddy Ryan Paddy Ryan ... Manders
Cyril Chamberlain Cyril Chamberlain ... Factory Ship Radio Operator
Paul Homer Paul Homer ... Kista Dan Radio Operator
Edward Hardwicke ... Ulvik
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Storyline

Duncan Craig signs on a whaling ship, partly because his own business deal has fallen through, partly to help Judie Nordhall find her father. Rumor has it that her father may have been murdered by Erik Bland, son of her father's partner and her one-time lover. Duncan and Erik find themselves on rival whaleboats and, ultimately, on an ice floe. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Actually filmed with the whaling fleet in the raging Antarctic! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 January 1954 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

The White South See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Colour by) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Opening credits: Any resemblance of character in this story to any persons living or dead is purely coincidental. See more »

Goofs

When Eric falls into the sea at the end of the fight, the loose 'ice' is floating much too high, showing that it is actually expanded polystyrene. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Cubby Broccoli: The Man Behind Bond (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A very strange Alan Ladd flick
11 July 2007 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This is an odd Alan Ladd film from his years appearing in a few British productions. Most of these British films are pretty dull (such as THE BLACK KNIGHT and THE RED BERET), though this one is just a little bit better--but not so much that you should rush out to find a copy. In some ways it's very much like most of his films, as the pugnacious near-midget acts tough and beats up all his diminutive enemies (as Hollywood had a habit of co-starring him with other short actors). However, it is a bit different due to the locale of the film and the oddness of the plot.

Ladd is on his way to South Africa just to beat someone up. Sure, the guy deserves it but to travel 7,764 miles (more or less) just to do it seemed odd, as he COULD have paid some locals to do it instead (and for a lot less money)! On the way to clobber this crook, Ladd sits next to a lady on the plane and is instantly smitten with her. Later, after applying this butt-kicking, he meets up with her again and finds out that she's on her way towards Antarctica to discover how and why her father (a ship's captain) was killed. The official story is that he either killed himself or it was an accident but she doggedly is determined to find the real cause. Considering that Ladd is not doing anything (i.e., there is no one in the country he needs to beat up), he signs aboard as a first-mate and goes with her.

The rest of the film is set either at sea or on the ice--a definite change of pace for Ladd. But the biggest change is just how odd the plot becomes and all the bizarre and rather difficult to anticipate action. It's not really bad, but it's so weird and difficult to believe that it's not all that good either. Still, for fans of Ladd, it's worth seeing and others might see it as just another time-passer.

By the way, those who are members of PETA and soft-hearted souls should NOT watch the film as there is a lot of whale killing in the film and it's pretty graphic. Seeing it, it shows just how much sensibilities have changed in the last half century.


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