This absorbing WWII film focuses on a deadly contest of wits and cunning between two strong-willed men. Captain Murrell (Mitchum) is the war-weary captain of a destroyer escort. Captain von Stolberg (Jurgens, in his American film debut) is the commander of a German U-boat. The setting for
their struggle is the South Atlantic. The action begins when the sonar operator on Murrell's ship, the Haines, picks up an underwater signal and identifies Stolberg's submarine. The Americans begin tracking the German ship. Captain Stolberg, every bit as war weary as his American counterpart, is
on a desperate mission to rendezvous with a German wolf pack and will not deviate from his course. But no matter how cleverly the German maneuvers, Murrell stays on his tail, running ahead to drop depth charges and then falling back to track. The American captain is relentless but Stolberg is
shrewd and dauntless in this seesaw battle, even after his craft sustains heavy punishment from the Americans.
THE ENEMY BELOW is expertly filmed by actor-turned-director Dick Powell. He builds suspense and excitement in each scene, giving as much attention to the mechanics of war as to his principal actors. He quickly establishes his characters then moves on to the deadly game. Mitchum underplays his role
and his reserved, almost stoic nature perfectly suits his part, while Jurgens is sympathetic as the old WWI submariner who hates the Nazis but loves his ancestral fatherland. This was one of the first films to portray the WWII enemy with some understanding. THE ENEMY BELOW takes an impartial,
almost clinical, look at war.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: This absorbing WWII film focuses on a deadly contest of wits and cunning between two strong-willed men. Captain Murrell (Mitchum) is the war-weary captain of a destroyer escort. Captain von Stolberg (Jurgens, in his American film debut) is the commander of… (more)