Action in the North Atlantic


2h 7m 1943
Action in the North Atlantic

Brief Synopsis

A Merchant Marine crew fights off enemy attacks at the start of World War II.

Film Details

Also Known As
Heroes Without Uniforms
Genre
Drama
Adventure
War
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Jun 12, 1943
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 7m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
11,455ft

Synopsis

Joe Rossi is chief executive officer on the Merchant Marine vessel captained by Steve Jarvis. When their ship is torpedoed by the Germans while traveling in the North Atlantic, Steve vows retribution. After Joe, Steve and the other survivors are rescued, they return home to wait for assignment to another ship. Steve's wife Sarah is glad to have him back, although she knows that waiting and worrying are part of being married to a seaman. Joe heads for his favorite bar, where he meets singer Pearl O'Neill, whom he marries shortly before he is recalled to sea. The men learn that their new ship, the Sea Witch , is to be part of an international convoy bringing supplies to Murmansk in the Soviet Union. As the convoy heads into the open sea, it is attacked by several German submarines. United States naval destroyers engage the submarines in battle, but one singles out the Sea Witch . Steve orders his men to lure the submarine away from the convoy. The submarine follows the Sea Witch just out of range of its guns, waiting for its chance to attack. Joe suggests that they cut the engines and maintain complete silence, hoping that the submarine's sound sensors will not be able to track them. The ruse works, but the captain of the submarine is able to determine where the ship is headed and radios a request for airborne bombers. The airplanes and the ship engage in a battle, during which Steve is seriously wounded and several other sailors are killed. When the submarine torpedoes the ship, Joe, who has been named acting captain, orders the men to start a fire, hoping to lure the submarine to the surface, where the ship's guns can hit them. After the submarine surfaces, Joe orders the ship to ram it, and the submarine is destroyed just before Russian airplanes appear overhead to welcome the Sea Witch and her crew.

Cast

Humphrey Bogart

Joe Rossi

Raymond Massey

Captain Steve Jarvis

Alan Hale

"Boats" O'Hara

Julie Bishop

Pearl O'Neill

Ruth Gordon

Sarah Jarvis

Sam Levene

"Chips" Abrahams

Dane Clark

Johnny Pulaski

Peter Whitney

Whitey Lara

Dick Hogan

Cadet Robert Parker

Minor Watson

Hartridge

J. M. Kerrigan

Cavier Jinks

Kane Richmond

Ensign Wright

Art Foster

Pete Larson

Chick Chandler

Goldberg

George Offerman Jr.

Cecil

Ray Montgomery

Ahearn

Glen Strange

Tex Mathews

Elliott Sullivan

Hennessey

Ralph Dunn

Quartermaster

Creighton Hale

Reynolds ("Sparks")

Syd Saylor

Jim

Lew Kelly

Tony Gonzales

Dick Wessel

Cherub

Russ Powell

"Slops" Denton

Alec Craig

McGonigle

Frederick Giermann

German submarine captain

Walter Soderling

Pop

Bill Crago

Newsreel man

Joseph Bernard

Editor

Virginia Christine

Pebbles

Irving Bacon

Bartender

Harry Seymour

Piano player

Leah Baird

Mother

Jack Mower

Dispatcher

Iris Adrian

Jenny O'Hara

George Kirby

Pilot Johnson

Victor Kendall

Lieutenant McIntosh

Frank Puglia

Captain Carpolis

Ludwig Stossel

Captain Ziemer

Jean Del Val

Captain La Pricor

Charles Trowbridge

Rear Admiral Williams

Roland Varno

Gunnery captain

Daniel De Jonghe

Lookout

Bill Nind

Limey

Sven-hugo Borg

Norwegian seaman

Rudolf Myzet

Russian seaman

Arthur Dulac

French seaman

Carl Ekberg

Dutch seaman

Edward Foster

American seaman

Carlos Barbé

Brazilian seaman

Manuel Lopez

Mexican seaman

Archie Got

Chinese seaman

Pedro Regas

Greek seaman

Henry Guttman

Nazi submarine officer

Tom Miller

Boy

William Haade

Customer

Dewolfe Hopper

Canadian soldier

George Neise

German lieutenant

Al Winters

German lieutenant

Sigurd Tor

Helmsman

Nari Drevjen

Norwegian gun captain

Tony Marsh

English gun captain

Gordon Hayes

American gun captain

Kirk Alyn

Brazilian gun captain

Juan Varro

Greek captain

George Blagoi

Russian sergeant

Sam Waagenaar

Steward

William Yetter

German Air Force captain

Peter Auerbach

German Air Force N.C.O.

George Adrian

German naval officer

Stanley Blystone

U.S. Commander

Edwin Mills

Naval radio operator

Alan Robert

German gunner

George Sorel

German bombardier

Arno Frey

German pilot

Bob Thom

Man on bow of boat

Bob Duncan

Signal man

Horace Brown

Semaphore signal

Carl Roth

German naval N.C.O.

Anthony Marlowe

German N.C.O.

Richard Woodruff

Squadron leader

Walter Rode

Russian Air Force captain

Dennis Moore

Signal man

Eddie Coke

Signal man

Richard Abbott

Officer on Dutch boat

William Castello

Sailor on Dutch boat

Louis Arco

Submarine commander

James Flavin

Lieutenant-commander of Merchant Marine school

Kurt Kreuger

Submarine lieutenant

Fred Wolff

N.C.O.

Hans Furburg

German officer

Rolf Lindau

Radio operator on submarine

Frank Mayo

Major

Hugh Prosser

Lieutenant-commander

Gene O'donnell

Lieutenant-commander

Edward Dow

Lieutenant-commander

Lee Phelps

Lieutenant-commander

Don Douglas

Lieutenant-commander

Hooper Atchley

Lieutenant-commander

William Forrest

Lieutenant-commander

Hans Schumm

Lieutenant-commander

Grandon Rhodes

Lieutenant-commander

Monte Blue

Seaman

Bill Edwards

Seaman

Frank Mills

Seaman

Herschel Graham

Seaman

Paul Panzer

Seaman

Bob Kimball

Seaman

Cliff Saum

Seaman

Gordon Murray

Seaman

Bill Phillips

Seaman

Frank Mayo

Seaman

Eddy Chandler

Seaman

Allen Mathews

Seaman

Charles Sullivan

Seaman

Harry Mckee

Seaman

George Davis

German sailor

Albert D'arno

German sailor

Joe Ploski

German sailor

Walter Thiele

German sailor

Peter Pohlenz

German ensign

Peter Van Eyck

German ensign

Louis Adlon

German ensign

John Royce

German ensign

Ernst Hausserman

German ensign

David Willock

Ensign

John Estes

Ensign

Gary Bruce

Ensign

Robert Kent

Ensign

Ross Ford

Ensign

Earl Kent

German

Robert Stevenson

German

Paul Gilbert

German

Hans Von Morhart

German

Hans Heilbronne

German

Edward Goedeck

German

Kurt Neumann

German

Charles Flynn

German

George Sherwood

German

Peter Michael

German

Peter Dunne

German

Ferdinand Schumann-heink

German

Frank Alten

German

Sam Wren

Chief petty officer

Bill Hunter

Chief petty officer

Warren Ashe

U.S. sailor

John Whitney

U.S. sailor

Ted Jacques

Ship's officer

Hal Craig

Ship's officer

William Vaughn

German lieutenant-commander

John Epper

German lieutenant-commander

Otto Reichow

German petty officer

Hans Moebus

German petty officer

George O'hanlon

Navy pilot

Warren Douglas

Navy pilot

David Gaylord

1st Lieutenant

Maurice Murphy

1st Lieutenant

Joe Allen Jr.

U.S. naval petty officer

Victor Kilian Jr.

U.S. naval petty officer

Howard Mitchell

Janna Deloos

Vera Richkova

Christine Gordon

Photo Collections

Action in the North Atlantic - Movie Posters
Here are a few American release movies posters from Action in the North Atlantic (1943), starring Humphrey Bogart.

Videos

Movie Clip

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
Heroes Without Uniforms
Genre
Drama
Adventure
War
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Jun 12, 1943
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 7m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
11,455ft

Award Nominations

Best Writing, Screenplay

1944

Articles

Action in the North Atlantic


Action in the North Atlantic (1943) was conceived as a short film tribute to the Merchant Marines, but it was soon expanded into a full-length feature. Because of the immediacy of the heavy losses incurred by the merchant marine ships in the early days of America's involvement in World War II, producer Jerry Wald had Action in the North Atlantic in production just five weeks after being given the assignment. Remarkably, two ships were built on Warner stages before screenwriter John Howard Lawson even completed the script for the film, which bore the working title "Torpedoed."

Warner Bros. veteran Lloyd Bacon was assigned as director and the whole film was shot on a Warner sound stage. The film required a great deal of elaborate special effects that needed to be housed in a controlled environment that only a sound stage could provide. The old freighter that is destroyed in the film burned brightly for several days before sinking, all in a tank on the studio's "Stage Nine." The effect of the burning ships was achieved by dozens of gas jets controlled at a set of valves that looked like an organ console. This was operated by a "smoke bum" who played the valves with such precision that the actors appeared to be walking through flames. But others on the set got closer to the flames than comfort and safety would allow. Director Lloyd Bacon and his assistant often had to don masks because of the intense heat and smoke emanating from the arc lights and special effects fires and on one occasion Bacon almost choked to death from smoke inhalation. It's no wonder the special effects frightened many in the cast and crew and forced them to stay on their toes.

The production eventually went 45 days over schedule. Jerry Wald, completing his last movie before going into the service, produced a few ulcers as well. Some speculated whether it was the fear of military service that gave him ulcers, or the protracted production of Action in the North Atlantic. At the New York premiere, more than a dozen merchant mariners and several hundred U.S. sailors presented Jack Warner with the Merchant Marine Victory Flag. Henry J. Kaiser, the ship-building magnate, thought the film was such a morale booster that he wanted it shown to all his war builders.

Despite the undeniable patriotic fervor on display in Action in the North Atlantic, there was a politically combustible side to John Howard Lawson's screen story. Appearing in 1943 when America and Russia were still friendly allies, the film occasionally focused on our ties with the Soviet Union. But in the postwar era of chilly American-Russian relations, parts of the film would prove to be an embarrassment to Warner Brothers, namely the climactic "tovarich" (comrade) scene, in which the heroic Bogart and his men are greeted by Russians cheering wildly. Bogart does not return in kind, prompting a crewman to ask why he remains silent. Bogart says, "I'm just thinking about the trip back." That line served a dual purpose. Indeed, the trip back home would be rough going, but it also implied that the comrade stuff is acceptable up to a certain point. The Cold War validated the line's prescience. In fact, the line was often omitted from Action in the North Atlantic when it used to play on broadcast television.

But the Cold War's worst effect was not on a single line of dialogue in a wartime picture. It was its impact on the lives of filmmakers like John Howard Lawson whose career came to abrupt end in 1948 when, as one of the Hollywood Ten, he was sentenced to a year's imprisonment for refusing to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee. Blacklisted by the film industry, Lawson continued to work while in self-exile in Mexico and authored several books on drama and cinema including Film: The Creative Process (1964).

Director: Lloyd Bacon, Byron Haskin (uncredited), Raoul Walsh (uncredited)
Producer: Jerry Wald, Jack L. Warner
Screenplay: A.I. Bezzerides, W.R. Burnett, Guy Gilpatric (story), John Howard Lawson
Cinematography: Ted McCord
Music: Adolph Deutsch, William Lava (uncredited)
Art Direction: Ted Smith
Cast: Humphrey Bogart (Lieutenant Joe Rossi), Raymond Massey (Captain Steve Jarvis), Alan Hale (Boot O'Hara), Julie Bishop (Pearl), Ruth Gordon (Mrs. Jarvis), Sam Levene (Chips Abrams).

BW-128m. Closed captioning.

by Scott McGee
Action In The North Atlantic

Action in the North Atlantic

Action in the North Atlantic (1943) was conceived as a short film tribute to the Merchant Marines, but it was soon expanded into a full-length feature. Because of the immediacy of the heavy losses incurred by the merchant marine ships in the early days of America's involvement in World War II, producer Jerry Wald had Action in the North Atlantic in production just five weeks after being given the assignment. Remarkably, two ships were built on Warner stages before screenwriter John Howard Lawson even completed the script for the film, which bore the working title "Torpedoed." Warner Bros. veteran Lloyd Bacon was assigned as director and the whole film was shot on a Warner sound stage. The film required a great deal of elaborate special effects that needed to be housed in a controlled environment that only a sound stage could provide. The old freighter that is destroyed in the film burned brightly for several days before sinking, all in a tank on the studio's "Stage Nine." The effect of the burning ships was achieved by dozens of gas jets controlled at a set of valves that looked like an organ console. This was operated by a "smoke bum" who played the valves with such precision that the actors appeared to be walking through flames. But others on the set got closer to the flames than comfort and safety would allow. Director Lloyd Bacon and his assistant often had to don masks because of the intense heat and smoke emanating from the arc lights and special effects fires and on one occasion Bacon almost choked to death from smoke inhalation. It's no wonder the special effects frightened many in the cast and crew and forced them to stay on their toes. The production eventually went 45 days over schedule. Jerry Wald, completing his last movie before going into the service, produced a few ulcers as well. Some speculated whether it was the fear of military service that gave him ulcers, or the protracted production of Action in the North Atlantic. At the New York premiere, more than a dozen merchant mariners and several hundred U.S. sailors presented Jack Warner with the Merchant Marine Victory Flag. Henry J. Kaiser, the ship-building magnate, thought the film was such a morale booster that he wanted it shown to all his war builders. Despite the undeniable patriotic fervor on display in Action in the North Atlantic, there was a politically combustible side to John Howard Lawson's screen story. Appearing in 1943 when America and Russia were still friendly allies, the film occasionally focused on our ties with the Soviet Union. But in the postwar era of chilly American-Russian relations, parts of the film would prove to be an embarrassment to Warner Brothers, namely the climactic "tovarich" (comrade) scene, in which the heroic Bogart and his men are greeted by Russians cheering wildly. Bogart does not return in kind, prompting a crewman to ask why he remains silent. Bogart says, "I'm just thinking about the trip back." That line served a dual purpose. Indeed, the trip back home would be rough going, but it also implied that the comrade stuff is acceptable up to a certain point. The Cold War validated the line's prescience. In fact, the line was often omitted from Action in the North Atlantic when it used to play on broadcast television. But the Cold War's worst effect was not on a single line of dialogue in a wartime picture. It was its impact on the lives of filmmakers like John Howard Lawson whose career came to abrupt end in 1948 when, as one of the Hollywood Ten, he was sentenced to a year's imprisonment for refusing to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee. Blacklisted by the film industry, Lawson continued to work while in self-exile in Mexico and authored several books on drama and cinema including Film: The Creative Process (1964). Director: Lloyd Bacon, Byron Haskin (uncredited), Raoul Walsh (uncredited) Producer: Jerry Wald, Jack L. Warner Screenplay: A.I. Bezzerides, W.R. Burnett, Guy Gilpatric (story), John Howard Lawson Cinematography: Ted McCord Music: Adolph Deutsch, William Lava (uncredited) Art Direction: Ted Smith Cast: Humphrey Bogart (Lieutenant Joe Rossi), Raymond Massey (Captain Steve Jarvis), Alan Hale (Boot O'Hara), Julie Bishop (Pearl), Ruth Gordon (Mrs. Jarvis), Sam Levene (Chips Abrams). BW-128m. Closed captioning. by Scott McGee

Quotes

Trivia

Director Lloyd Bacon's contract with Warner Bros. expired during production. Jack Warner told him, "finish the picture and we'll talk about it," but Bacon wasn't willing to continue without a contract. Warner fired him and brought in Byron Haskin to finish the film.

Notes

The film's working title was Heroes Without Uniforms. An undated press release included in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library notes that twenty-three-year-old technical advisor Richard Sullivan was one of two cadets to survive a U-Boat attack on his Merchant Marine vessel. Another press release announced that Edward G. Robinson and George Raft were to star in the picture. According to a June 24, 1943 Hollywood Reporter news item, this film was used in Merchant Marine schools as a part of their training sessions, because the War Shipping Administration believed that the film contained technical and educational material that would "aid considerably the training program." The studio donated three prints for official use at the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY and at cadet basic schools in San Mateo, CA and Pass Christians, MI. According to a September 26, 1942 article in the Pittsburgh Courier, Humphrey Bogart wanted to include a black Merchant Marine captain in the film, stating: "In the world of the theatre or any other phase of American life, the color of a man's skin should have nothing to do with his rights in a land built upon the self-evident fact that all men are created equal." This character did not appear in the film, however. Writer Guy Gilpatric was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
       Modern sources add the following information about the production: Warner Bros. had originally intended to make a two-reel documentary about the Merchant Marine, but this idea was discarded as the war progressed, providing more opportunities for dramatic action footage. The film was shot entirely on the Warner Bros. backlot using special effects to provide the maritime atmosphere. Raymond Massey and Julie Bishop reprised their roles in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on May 15, 1944, co-starring George Raft.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1943

Tony Gaudio replaced Ted McCord after the latter left production to join the Army.

Released in United States 1943