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A U.S. submarine and its crew are captured by the Japanese on the eve of a major World War II battle.
On Mar 14, 1942, three days after the fall of Corregidor, the United States Naval submarine the U.S.S. Dragonfish , commanded by Jeff Conway, completes a reconnaissance mission scouting Japanese war ships along the Philippine corridor. Upon returning to base, Conway and his crew are assigned to ascertain the location of the Japanese war fleet headed to attack Port Moresby, New Guinea. The capture of the port would insure the Japanese supremacy over the Coral Sea. With information supplied by Conway, the Navy hopes to attack and destroy the fleet. Handed a sealed envelope containing his orders, Conway is told that he is to open the envelope on his eighth day at sea and warned that the orders must not fall into enemy hands at any cost, even if that means scuttling his own ship. Conway follows orders to maintain strict radio silence and heads out the next day with his trusted crew of Lt. Len Ross, torpedo man Bates and yeoman Halliday. Using a camera attached to the ship's periscope by the ingenious Ross, they take photographs of the enemy ships headed for Port Moresby. On the eighth day, Conway opens the envelope and learns that the Naval strike force is scheduled to rendezvous on May 4th to formulate their strategy for attacking the Japanese fleet, thus necessitating that he transmit any information gathered by that date. To obtain close-up photographs of the enemy fleet, the Dragonfish threads its way through a treacherous mine field. While navigating through the field, the submarine hits an inoperative mine, and the resulting sound waves alert the enemy to their presence. The Japanese respond by dropping depth charges that knock out the submarine's power, jam its rudders and flood its torpedo room. When the bombing suddenly stops, the Americans spend tense hours trapped in the submarine as the air supply is slowly depleted. After connecting some microphones to the hull of the sub, the Japanese commander declares that he has attached a depth charge to their vessel and will detonate it unless they surrender within five minutes. In the remaining minutes, Conway burns his orders and jettisons the photographs through a torpedo tube. After his crew has been safely transported onto the enemy ship, Conway rigs the Dragonfly with explosives, then detonates them as he jumps overboard. Plucked out of the sea and taken aboard the enemy ship, Conway is reunited with his friends and introduced to Comm. Mori, the genial Intelligence officer who has been assigned to interrogate them. They are taken to an island interrogation camp where Mori warns them that escape is impossible. After the Americans meet fellow prisoners Maj. Jimmy Harris and Lt. Peg Whitcomb of the Australian army, Capt. Yamazaki, the brutal head guard at the camp, arrives with his interpreter, Karen Phillips. Yamazaki vows to execute anyone trying to escape, then orders Karen to take Conway to see Mori. On the way, Karen explains to Conway that she has maintained her neutrality during the war and is on the island only because her family owns it. In his office, Mori warns Conway that he will extract the information he seeks by any means necessary. Mori then puts Conway in charge of a grueling labor detail in which his men are forced to peddle a water wheel in the burning sun. When Ross contracts pneumonia from the strain, Peg advises Conway to tell Mori everything he wants to know if he hopes to save his men. With three days left before May 4th, Conway determines to hold on until after the deadline. Soon after, Bates is insubordinate to a guard, who then challenges him to a wrestling match. After Bates thrashes him, the guard picks up a rifle and shoots Bates in the back. Mori, who has set up the match, thinking that Bates would lose and thus demonstrate Japanese superiority, is chagrined by its dishonorable outcome. In his office, Mori concedes that his psychological methods have failed and that he is being replaced by his predecessor, the sadistic Capt. Takahashi, who favors torture. As Conway and his comrades bury Bates, Karen gives them a bible and admits that she is beginning to question her neutrality. When Conway asks for her help, she offers to supply some knife blades. Later, Karen stages a fight with Peg and tells her to grab the large straw hat she is wearing. Upon dismantling the hat, the prisoners find several knife blades hidden inside. Using the blades to cut slivers of wood from their bunks, Ross fashions a bow and arrow. When Yamazaki pays a surprise visit to announce that Takahashi will be arriving in the morning, the prisoners realize that they must escape that night. As night falls, Karen diverts a guard, then cuts the generator lines that power the search lights, leaving the camp in darkness. After Ross uses his bow and arrow to shoot the watchtower guard, he and Harris seize the guard's machine gun and sneak though the fence surrounding the camp to attack enemy headquarters. Ross is killed in the crossfire, and when Harris tries to flee, he too is cut down by enemy bullets and later dies in Peg's arms. The survivors gather at the water to await Karen. With daylight coming, Conway sends the others to board one of the Japanese boats while he waits for her. Running for her life from the crazed Yamazaki, Karen stumbles into the clearing, allowing Conway to gun down the captain. After joining the others on the boat, they speed away from the island. Soon after, they are fired on by an American Naval seaplane that mistakes them for the enemy. Conway signals the plane in code, after which it lands and rescues them. Conway then relays his intelligence to Naval command, thus enabling United States bombers to destroy and disable the enemy fleet.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||not available|
|Release Date:||1959||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Columbia Pictures Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Morningside Productions, Inc.|
|Duration(mins):||80 or 86||Country:||United States|
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