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The Enemy Below

The Enemy Below(1957)

Remind Me

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The film closes with the following written acknowledgment: "Twentieth Century-Fox wishes to thank the Department of Defense and the United States Navy for their assistance in the production of this motion picture." According to studio production notes in the AMPAS Libary production file on the film, the destroyer escort U.S.S. Whitehurst, a battle-scarred veteran of World War II that was stationed in Pearl Harbor, HI, was the ship used for the film's fictional U.S.S. Haynes. Lt. Cmdr. Walter Smith, the skipper of the Whitehurst, served as a technical advisor on the film. According to studio publicity, Smith also played a bit part as the ship's chief engineer. However, the CBCS credits Robert Boon in that role. The actors spent a month aboard the Whitehurst during filming. Albert Beck, a former German submarine sailor, worked as technical advisor for the U-Boat sequences. The rescue sequence was filmed at Long Beach, CA aboard the U.S.S. Alfred E. Cunningham.
       According to a July 1957 Hollywood Reporter news item, the ending originally shot called for "Captain Murrell" and "Von Stolberg" to drown after Murrell plunges into the ocean to save Von Stolberg. Believing that this ending was too bleak, producer-director Dick Powell decided to film the alternate ending in which both commanders survive. The two endings were then shown to preview audiences, who preferred the more upbeat one. The Enemy Below marked the film debuts of Doug McClure, former Fox messenger boy Ted Perritt and Al Hedison, who later changed his name to David Hedison. It also marked the American-film debut of Curt Jurgens. Dan Tana, who later opened a famous eatery in Los Angeles, also made his screen debut in the picture. In a July 1977 New York Times article, Jurgens stated that "this was an important picture for me because it was the first film after the war in which a German officer was not interpreted as a freak." Other reviews commented that the film was notable because the clash between the captains was not portrayed as black and white or good and evil. Walter Rossi won an Academy Award for Best Audible Special Effects for his work on the production.