Corvette K-225 (1943)

96 or 98-98.5 mins | Drama | October 1943

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Corvettes in Action . The film opens with the following written foreword: "This is the story of a Corvette, a little ship, a fighting ship, and of the officers and men of the Royal Canadian Navy, who have made the name Corvette a byword for endurance and sacrifice among the submarine lanes of the North Atlantic...Without the active cooperation of the men and ships of the Royal Canadian Navy this story could not have been told..." The film ends with the following written epilogue: "She will carry on, and those who come after her, for her name is legion, and the legend of her and of those who fight in her is an inspiration for all men who believe in courage and hope."
       According to HR , producer-director Howard Hawks signed a one-picture contract with Universal in Jun 1942. Hawks selected Corvette K-225 as his contract picture, and Robert Rosson as the film's director. Screenwriter Lt. John Rhodes Sturdy, the commanding officer of one of the Canadian corvettes, was also assigned to the film for five weeks as a technical advisor. According to MPHPD , Sturdy, a former Chicago and Montreal newspaper reporter, was loaned to Hawks by Canadian Navy Intelligence. On 11 Jun 1942, HR reported that Rosson was going to be the second unit director on the film, shooting ten days on location in the Atlantic with a convoy, and Hawks was going to direct, as well as produce.
       On 27 Jun 1942, actors Robert Stack, Dick Foran and Patric Knowles were announced as cast members, but none appeared in the ... More Less

The working title of this film was Corvettes in Action . The film opens with the following written foreword: "This is the story of a Corvette, a little ship, a fighting ship, and of the officers and men of the Royal Canadian Navy, who have made the name Corvette a byword for endurance and sacrifice among the submarine lanes of the North Atlantic...Without the active cooperation of the men and ships of the Royal Canadian Navy this story could not have been told..." The film ends with the following written epilogue: "She will carry on, and those who come after her, for her name is legion, and the legend of her and of those who fight in her is an inspiration for all men who believe in courage and hope."
       According to HR , producer-director Howard Hawks signed a one-picture contract with Universal in Jun 1942. Hawks selected Corvette K-225 as his contract picture, and Robert Rosson as the film's director. Screenwriter Lt. John Rhodes Sturdy, the commanding officer of one of the Canadian corvettes, was also assigned to the film for five weeks as a technical advisor. According to MPHPD , Sturdy, a former Chicago and Montreal newspaper reporter, was loaned to Hawks by Canadian Navy Intelligence. On 11 Jun 1942, HR reported that Rosson was going to be the second unit director on the film, shooting ten days on location in the Atlantic with a convoy, and Hawks was going to direct, as well as produce.
       On 27 Jun 1942, actors Robert Stack, Dick Foran and Patric Knowles were announced as cast members, but none appeared in the released film. On 30 Jun 1942, HR reported that Hawks was so impressed with the Universal 1942 film Eagle Squadron (See Entry), that he wanted to use many of the cast members of that film, including Stack, Diana Barrymore, Evelyn Ankers, Leif Erikson , Jon Hall and Nigel Bruce, and that he was willing to change the shooting schedule of Corvettes K-225 to accomplish this. However, none of those actors appeared in the released film.
       On 2 Jul 1942, Hawks sent a revised copy of the script to Admiral Percy W. Nelles, the commander-in-chief of the Royal Canadian Navy, for his approval. According to HR , this revised script was co-written by Sturdy and Edward Chodorov. Sturdy, however, received sole screen credit for original screenplay, and it has not been determined if any of Chodorov's work was used in the released film. Once the script was approved by the admiral's office, Rosson and his crew were to shoot at one of the Canadian ports, then accompany a convoy to England. On 31 Jul 1942, HR announced that Rosson, along with business manager Vernon Keays, chief cameraman Harry Perry, crew members Len Powers, Bert Eason, Roland Smith and Harry Gudstram, as well as actors Robert James Hale , Rex Lease and Orville R. O'Connell were currently with a Canadian convoy, and that they would remain at sea for two to four weeks. While Lease is credited in SAB as appearing in the picture, it has not been confirmed if either Hale or O'Connell appeared in the released film.
       A 17 Dec 1942 HR news item stated that Rosson was finally ready to begin principal photography on Corvette K-225 , having returned from shooting over 40,000 feet of footage while on location with the Canadian convoys. Later HR news items, however, raised the estimate of footage shot on location to 77,000 feet, adding that Rosson had accompanied five cross-Atlantic convoys over a three-month period. In mid-Jan 1943, it was announced that Harry Perry, who had been borrowed from Paramount, was being made director of photography on this film, based on his excellent work while on location with the convoys. In early Feb 1943, however, just prior to the commencement of principal photograpy, Perry was replaced as director of photography by Tony Gaudio, who was borrowed by Universal from Warner Bros. Gaudio received an Academy Award nomination for his cinematography on the film, but lost to Arthur Miller and his work on The Song of Bernadette (See Entry).
       Actress Ella Raines made her feature film debut in this film, after having been discovered by Hawks and his then-business partner, actor-producer Charles Boyer. According to HR , Universal purchased her contract from Hawks and Boyer, based on her performance in this film. HR also reported that actor James Brown was borrowed from Paramount for the film. According to HR news items and Universal press materials, the Canadian corvette The Kitchener , which was used extensively in the picture, had been cited three times for valor at the time of the film's release. Among other accomplishments, The Kitchener was responsible for the rescue of seventy-three merchant sailors, whose ship sank after striking a reef.
       While MPH gives Corvette K-225 's national release date as 1 Oct 1943, HR news items state that the film's world premiere was held on 19 Oct 1943 at the Central Theatre in Ottawa, Canada, with the proceeds being donated to the Navy League of Canada. According to HR , singer Kate Smith hosted a coast-to-coast radio broadcast of the premiere, which was attended by Rosson and actor Randolph Scott, as well as Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King and Princess M. Juliana of the Netherlands. Three trans-Atlantic radio broadcasts were also held in conjunction with the premiere of the film, which coincided with the Fifth Canadian War Loan Drive. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
9 Oct 1943.
---
Daily Variety
21 Feb 1943.
---
Daily Variety
24 Sep 43
pp. 3-4.
Film Daily
27 Sep 43
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jun 42
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jun 42
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jun 42
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jun 42
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jul 42
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jul 42
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jul 42
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Dec 42
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jan 43
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Feb 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Feb 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Feb 43
pp. 9-10.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Apr 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jun 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jul 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jul 43
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Sep 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Oct 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Oct 43
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Oct 43
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Oct 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Oct 43
p. 11.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
2 Oct 43
p. 1565.
New York Herald Tribune
17 Oct 1943.
---
New York Times
21 Oct 43
p. 30.
Variety
29 Sep 43
p. 8.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Bob Mitchum
James Dodd
Oliver Prickett
Joseph Haworth
James Butler
John Walsh
Eddie Dew
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Convoy photog
Crew, Convoy photog
Crew, Convoy photog
Crew, Convoy photog
Crew, Convoy photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus score
SOUND
Dir of sd
[Sd] tech
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Bus mgr
SOURCES
SONGS
"Bless 'Em All," words and music by Jimmy Hughes, Frank Lake and Al Stillman.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Corvettes in Action
Release Date:
October 1943
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Ottawa, Canada: 19 October 1943
New York premiere: 20 October 1943
Production Date:
4 February--early May 1943
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
13 October 1943
Copyright Number:
LP12315
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
96 or 98-98.5
Length(in feet):
8,861
Country:
United States
PCA No:
9514
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Lieut. Commander MacClain and the remainder of his crew return to Canada after his ship, a corvette, is destroyed by a German submarine's torpedo while accompanying a convoy. Although he is being offered a leave by his admiral, Mac insists on returning to sea as soon as possible in order to avenge his men, as many were machine-gunned to death by the German U-boat. While waiting for his new ship, Mac meets Joyce Cartwright, whose brother Dick, an officer, was killed under Mac's command. Though she initially blames Mac for her inexperienced brother's death, Joyce and Mac begin seeing each other and quickly fall in love. Mac's new ship is christened the HMCS Donnacona , and it is soon commissioned for service with a crew of sixty-five, including officer Paul Cartwright, Joyce's younger brother, who complains to his sister about the inability of the new crew to satisfy their commander. The next convoy, under the direction of Commodore Ramsay, leaves Canada for Europe with a cargo which includes gasoline, tanks and airplanes. German submarines are sighted off the coast of Newfoundland, near a point known as "Ethel," and after a non-convoy ship is torpedoed in that area, Mac's ship comes across a lifeboat filled with dead sailors from the sunken vessel. On its ninth day at sea, the convoy is hit by a ocean storm, and the Donnacona becomes separated from the other ships. Three hundred miles from the Irish coast, Mac meets up with some of the convoy's other lost ships, including the tanker Egyptian Star . The captain of the tanker, however, warns Mac that he thinks ... +


Lieut. Commander MacClain and the remainder of his crew return to Canada after his ship, a corvette, is destroyed by a German submarine's torpedo while accompanying a convoy. Although he is being offered a leave by his admiral, Mac insists on returning to sea as soon as possible in order to avenge his men, as many were machine-gunned to death by the German U-boat. While waiting for his new ship, Mac meets Joyce Cartwright, whose brother Dick, an officer, was killed under Mac's command. Though she initially blames Mac for her inexperienced brother's death, Joyce and Mac begin seeing each other and quickly fall in love. Mac's new ship is christened the HMCS Donnacona , and it is soon commissioned for service with a crew of sixty-five, including officer Paul Cartwright, Joyce's younger brother, who complains to his sister about the inability of the new crew to satisfy their commander. The next convoy, under the direction of Commodore Ramsay, leaves Canada for Europe with a cargo which includes gasoline, tanks and airplanes. German submarines are sighted off the coast of Newfoundland, near a point known as "Ethel," and after a non-convoy ship is torpedoed in that area, Mac's ship comes across a lifeboat filled with dead sailors from the sunken vessel. On its ninth day at sea, the convoy is hit by a ocean storm, and the Donnacona becomes separated from the other ships. Three hundred miles from the Irish coast, Mac meets up with some of the convoy's other lost ships, including the tanker Egyptian Star . The captain of the tanker, however, warns Mac that he thinks his ship is being followed by German submarines. Their ships soon come under attack from a squadron of German bombers, but the Germans are repelled by one of the convoy's fighter planes. That night, the Egyptian Star is sunk by a torpedo, and the Donnacona engages the responsible submarines. The first submarine is sunk by depth charges, but the Donnacona is crippled in a surface battle with a second U-boat. The injured Mac attempts to ram the submarine, but when it begins to dive, Paul and seaman Stooky O'Meara set off depth charges, which strike the sub. As it breaks up, Mac recognizes the German U-boat as the one which had machine-gunned to death his men in the prior convoy. The corvette, along with six merchant ships, arrives safely in Ireland, but before it sets anchor, it is asked to sail past the other ships in the harbor, so that its crew may be saluted for their bravely. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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