Two-Man Submarine


1h 2m 1944

Brief Synopsis

A film that is among the umpteen hundred films that some source has given Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco a "credited" composers credit, although his name appears actually nowhere in connection with the vast majority of these umpteen hundred films, and one of four films that Tom Neal and Ann Savage were in together. This one has Robert B. Williams as some kind of scientist on an unnamed South Pacific island and he is making penicillin out of jungle mold at a time when penicillin was so new that all the players in the film pronounce it as "pey-nen-sol-lon" or something like that. Tom Neal is also there as some kind of guard or protector of Williams' work and is hacked off something fierce about it as his goal if to get off the island and into hand-to-hand action "against the japs." Before long an unidentified plane flies over the island and Neal has his pistol at the ready to shoot it down in case it is an enemy plane but a figure parachutes out and in parachutes none other than Ann Savage, who is there as Neal's replacement, although Neal now isn't as ready to leave as he was before. Then a man, George Lynn, washes ashore and is accepted as a crewman from a torpedoed American ship. Later, Williams is murdered, after some of his "pey-non-sol-len or whatever" samples disappear, and Neal concludes that either Savage, island-doctor J.Carroll Naish or Abner Biberman is the guilty party working for the Axis to get the penicillin formula. This isn't exactly Holmes-or-Chan sleuthing on his part as he knows he isn't guilty and the only people on the island, with the exception of three natives, are those he names as suspects. He doesn't know that a two-man Japanese submarine (with five or six Germans on board plus the two Japanese crewmen)is lurking offshore, but his list of suspects is basically correct, as none of the people from the sub have come ashore yet. Well, one has but he floated in. Discounting the floater, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that between Savage, Naish and Biberman, which one who can least bear scrutiny.

Film Details

Release Date
Mar 16, 1944
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 2m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

Medical researchers Jerry Evans and Walt Hedges are assigned by a pharmaceutical company to work at a secret laboratory on a remote South Pacific Island in order to produce penicillium, the mold from which the magic drug penicillin is derived. Also on the island is Augustus "Doc" Hadley, a grizzled recluse, and Gabe Fabian, the researchers' Eurasian assistant. The routine of the island is disturbed one day when Pat Benson, Jerry's replacement, parachutes down. Jerry, who has been impatient to trade in his test tubes for the battlefield, has requested a transfer. That night, when three bottles containing the penicillium filtrate are discovered missing, Walt goes to investigate and is murdered. Motivated by Walt's murder, Jerry announces that he will stay on the island until the crime is solved. The following evening, an intruder breaks into the laboratory and steals all the records. Realizing that the intruder was searching for the penicillin formula, Jerry, who has committed it to memory, burns the formula. Soon after, when Fabian makes romantic overtures to Pat, she becomes suspicious of his motives but pretends to encourage him. The next day, one of the natives reports that a man parachuted from the sky and landed in the ocean. They rescue the man, Norman Fosmer, but although Doc treats him, the man remains unconscious. That night, Pat is having dinner with Fabian when a native interrupts to deliver a secret message. When Fabian hastily excuses himself, Pat hurries over to the laboratory to find Jerry. Together, they rush to the beach and find Fabian signalling a Japanese submarine surfacing from the depths. As two Japanese officers join Fabian on the beach, Jerry emerges from behind some bushes and covers them with his revolver. A moment later, a voice orders Jerry to put his hands up. Wheeling around, Jerry is confronted by Fosmer, who is really Nazi U-Boat commander Capt. Von Spanger. Marching Jerry back to the compound, Fosmer, Fabian and the Japanese torture Jerry, trying to force him to divulge the penicillin formula. Wandering into the laboratory, Doc spits contemptuously at Jerry and offers to sell Fosmer the formula. While Doc writes out the formula, Jerry, no longer being watched, loosens his bonds and escapes through a window. In the ensuing manhunt, Jerry doubles back to the laboratory, grabs a grenade and assures Pat that Doc's formula was phony. When Pat informs Jerry that Fosmer's U-Boat is attempting to refuel in the bay, Jerry returns to the beach, kills Fabian and swims to the middle of the bay. Finding the fuel line attached to a bobbing buoy, Jerry unscrews the cap and stuffs the grenade into the fuel line, thus insuring that the boat will explode as soon as it refuels. Preparing to leave the island, Fosmer takes Pat hostage and heads for the submarine. After they depart, Doc finds Jerry and together they swim out to the sub to prevent it from refuelling. Upon reaching the submarine, the two stealthily climb onboard and capture the crew, one by one. Finding himself a prisoner on his own ship, Fosmer agrees to free Pat if Doc and Jerry promise to leave the boat. As the three of them swim away, Doc treads water and silently returns to the boat, arriving just in time to prevent Fosmer from machine-gunning Pat and Jerry in the water. In the ensuing fight, Doc kills Fosmer and forfeits his own life. A subordinate officer then orders the boat to be refuelled, but when the sailor connects the fuel line, the sub explodes, leaving the bay in an inferno of flaming oil. After Jerry and Pat return to the island, they ask a rescuing Navy commander to perform their marriage ceremony.

Film Details

Release Date
Mar 16, 1944
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 2m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The Variety review incorrectly lists director Lew Landers as camerman. Although a Hollywood Reporter production chart lists Lloyd Bridges in the cast, he could not be identified in the viewed print.