(director: Anthony Asquith; screenwriters: J.B. Williams/Val Valentine/Frank Launder; cinematographer: Jack Cox; editor: R.E. Dearing; music: Hubert Bath; cast: John Mills (Lt Freddie Taylor – Captain), Eric Portman (On Hydrophones – L / S. Hobson), Louis Bradfield (Lt. Brace, First Officer), Ronald Millar (Lt. Johnson, Third Officer), Jack Watling (Lt. Gordon, Navigating Officer), Reginald Purdell (Coxwain, C/P.O. Dabbs), Caven Watson (Chief Engine Room Artificer, C/P.O. Duncan), Niall MacGinnis (Torpedo Gunner’s Mate, C/P.O. Mike Corrigan), Josephine Wilson (Mrs. Hobson), Leslie Weston (LS Tug Wilson); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Edward Black; Better Television Distribution ; 1943-UK)

“Better than average understated WWII submarine drama from England.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Better than average understated WWII submarine drama from England. Director Anthony Asquith’s (“Underground”/”Tell England”/”Pygmalion”) solid submarine pic has fallen under the radar and not received its just due for its solid craftsmanship. It’s shot in a taut semi-documentary tone and its talented ensemble cast offer fine performances. Writers J.B. Williams, Val Valentine and Frank Launder keep the tension mounting and do a good job realistically showing the men at work in the engine room under fire.

The crew of the HMS Sea Tiger have just docked in London to enjoy some well-deserved shore leave. The ship’s young skipper, Lt. Freddie Taylor (John Mills), is looking forward to running around with the ladies. Torpedo gunner’s mate Mike Corrigan (Niall MacGinnis) is trying to dodge his planned wedding ceremony, while not letting on his change of mind to his would-be brother-in-law, the ship’s coxswain Dickie Dabbs (Reginald Purdell). The taciturn veteran seaman Jim Hobson (Eric Portman) heads home to make a last-ditch plea to his estranged wife (Josephine Wilson) in order to save their marriage. But the crew is soon summoned back to the ship on orders to attack the new German battleship Brandenburg, which is putting out for the Baltic Sea via the Kiel Canal of the Danish peninsula. The attack is planned before the Brandenburg reaches the canal.

With the rescue of a trio of German airmen from a buoy in the North Sea, who are taken prisoners, the Sea Tiger’s mission is delayed and can’t reach the battleship at its planned attack point. Nevertheless Taylor risks circling Denmark and braving nets and minefields, so he can meet the Brandenburg on its emergence from the canal. Upon confronting the battleship with torpedoes, it’s not possible because of poor conditions for the British crew to know if they met with success.

Now stuck somewhere off the Danish coast in enemy waters without enough fuel to return home, as the Sea Tiger was hit with depth charges from accompanying destroyers and this caused leakage in the sub’s oil tanks. Hobson, who can speak German, volunteers to go ashore in one of the German prisoners’ uniforms and discovers a Danish tanker in the dock willing to supply the Brit submarine, and thereby signals the Sea Tiger to proceed into the shore. The Nazis discover the submarine while it is refueling but can’t prevent it. This allows the Sea Tiger to return home safely to an English port as a conquering hero, as they discover that they sunk the Brandenburg.

We Dive at Dawn PosterREVIEWED ON 5/27/2009 GRADE: B

Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”