Crash Dive


1h 45m 1943

Brief Synopsis

Against his personal preference, PT boat commander Ward Stewart is made executive officer of the submarine USS Corsair. On leave before sailing, he meets schoolteacher Jean Hewlett and gives her a romantic rush...unaware that she's the sweetheart of Dewey Connors, his new commander. At sea, the men bond while fighting German Q-ships. When will they discover their mutual romantic rivalry? Will it interfere with a spectacular commando raid on a secret German base?

Film Details

Also Known As
SS 111, Submarine School
Release Date
May 14, 1943
Premiere Information
World premiere in New York: 28 Apr 1943
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
New London, Connecticut, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,552ft (12 reels)

Synopsis

Lt. Ward Stewart delights in the maneuverability and speed of his PT boat, and is disappointed when his uncle, Admiral Bob Stewart, asks him to join the submarine branch of the Navy. Stewart agrees that it is his duty to serve where he is most needed, but requests a weekend leave before assuming his new post as executive officer aboard the Corsair , which is captained by Dewey Connors. During his train trip to Washington, D.C., Stewart meets teacher Jean Hewlitt. Stewart is instantly attracted to Jean, but his rakish behavior irritates her. He persuades her to go to a party with him, but she does not keep their dinner date for the following evening. Undeterred, Stewart is pleased to discover that she teaches at the Bromley School for Girls, located in New London, Connecticut, which is also the site of the Naval submarine base. Unknown to Stewart, Jean is Connors' girl friend, and after her return to New London, Jean, who wants to believe that she prefers the stable Connors to the devil-may-care Stewart, asks Connors if they can marry before he leaves on his next mission. Connors wants to wait until after he receives a promotion, however, so he tells Jean that they can marry when he returns. The Corsair sails that night, and during the journey, black messman Oliver Cromwell Jones discovers that his friend McDonnell is secretly taking nitroglycerin pills for a heart condition. One afternoon, the sub is fired upon by a German Q-boat disguised as a Swedish scow, and Connors decides to play "possum" and allow the Germans to think that they have been sunk. The strategy pays off and the Corsair sinks the Q-boat, then returns to New London. After their arrival, Connors goes to Washington, where he receives a promotion, while Stewart continues his pursuit of Jean, who does not know that he serves under Connors. Meanwhile, McDonnell explains to Oliver that he needs to go on one more mission to atone for his cowardice during World War I, and Oliver promises to keep McDonnell's condition a secret. One evening, Stewart takes Jean to meet his feisty grandmother, then proposes to her the next morning on their way back to the school. Deeply in love with Stewart, Jean accepts, but when Stewart learns soon after that Connors intends to propose to her as well, he informs Jean that they can no longer see each other. As Jean is telling Stewart that he is the one she loves, they realize that Connors has overheard their conversation. Before the situation can be resolved, the men are sent on a mission to find a secret German naval base. Stewart tries to explain matters to Connors and maintain their friendship, but Connors coldly repulses him and attends only to business. Just as the Corsair is getting low on fuel, they find the base and follow a tanker into the mine-strewn harbor. Stewart leads the landing party, which blows up the ammunition dumps as the Corsair fires on the anchored ships. McDonnell is killed in the raid while saving Oliver and Stewart, who swim through the oil-covered, flaming water back to the sub. Because the periscope has been damaged, the fleeing sub cannot resubmerge, and Connor is forced to stay on deck and guide her through the mines and bombardments from land and sea. He is wounded but not fatally, and Stewart gets him below just before the Corsair submerges. The men make peace, and soon after the Corsair 's return to New London, Stewart and Jean are married.

Film Details

Also Known As
SS 111, Submarine School
Release Date
May 14, 1943
Premiere Information
World premiere in New York: 28 Apr 1943
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
New London, Connecticut, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,552ft (12 reels)

Award Wins

Best Special Effects

1944

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working titles of this film were SS 111 and Submarine School. On August 25, 1942, after Crash Dive had been selected as the film's title, Twentieth Century-Fox announced that it was considering renaming the picture again, because of fears that "the ticket buyers might connect the title with an airplane story." After the opening credits, a written prologue reads: "The cooperation and assistance of the officers and men of the U.S. Navy submarine base, New London, Connecticut, is gratefully acknowledged." Tyrone Power's credit reads "Tyrone Power U.S.M.C.R."
       On September 12, 1942, Pittsburgh Courier stated that the film would "touch lightly on the seaman life of Dorie Miller," an African American messman who was awarded the Navy Cross for his heroic actions aboard the U.S.S. Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Although Miller is not directly portrayed in the picture, Pittsburgh Courier noted that Ben Carter's character, "Oliver Cromwell Jones," would be depicted as "a heroic mess attendant, very much a part of the plot, and a fighting man among fighting men." According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, John Payne and Randolph Scott were originally set to star in the picture. Another Hollywood Reporter news item noted that William Perlberg was scheduled to produce the film. He was replaced by Milton Sperling, who, on September 10, 1942, left the studio to join the Marine Corps. Lee Marcus then stepped in to act as producer while the film was still shooting. The picture was also Tyrone Power's last before enlisting in the Marine Corps as a private. Although Power was originally set to report for duty on October 1, 1942, he was granted a deferment to finish the picture. He did not make another film until 1946, when he starred in The Razor's Edge. Much background footage was shot on location at the U.S. Naval submarine base in New London, CT, and the Navy supplied equipment and granted access to submarines and servicemen. Although Hollywood Reporter production charts include Charley Grapewin in the cast, he is not in the completed picture. Information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library indicates that prints of the picture were made with an incorrect certificate number-8371-instead of the correct one-8731. A Hollywood Reporter news item noted that Norman Nesbitt was to be the narrator of a "special trailer" for the picture. Hollywood Reporter also reported that in conjunction with the film's opening at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on May 27, 1942, the Navy would be "setting up a recruiting station in the lobby" and would "keep it there all through the run of the film." The picture received an Academy Award for special effects (Fred Sersen, photography, and Roger Heman, sound).