Action in the North Atlantic (1943)

126 mins | Drama | 12 June 1943

Director:

Lloyd Bacon

Producer:

Jerry Wald

Cinematographer:

Ted McCord

Editor:

George Amy

Production Designer:

Ted Smith

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

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 24 Jun 1943 HR 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 26 Sep 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 ... More Less

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 24 Jun 1943 HR 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 26 Sep 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 15 May 1944, co-starring George Raft. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Jun 43
p. 215.
Box Office
22 May 1943.
---
Daily Variety
17 May 43
p. 3.
Film Daily
17 May 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Sep 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
17 May 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
25 May 43
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jun 43
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
22 May 1943.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
22 May 43
p. 1325.
New York Times
22 May 43
p. 10.
New York Times
30 May 43
p. 2 (sec 2).
Pittsburgh Courier
26 Sep 1942.
---
Variety
19 May 43
p. 8.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Glen Strange
Joseph Bernard
Bob Kimball
David Willock
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Addl dial
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
MUSIC
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Mont
Dir spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
SOURCES
SONGS
"Night and Day," music and lyrics by Cole Porter.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Heroes Without Uniforms
Release Date:
12 June 1943
Production Date:
3 September--late November 1942
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc
Copyright Date:
12 June 1943
Copyright Number:
LP12095
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
126
Length(in feet):
11,455
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
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 ... +


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. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.