“The Enemy Below” released in 1957, was one of those films directed by Dick Powell, and starring Robert Mitchum, that sparked with genuine realism and utmost attention to detail. This film also showed the harsh realities in war, and the dedication that men on both sides of the conflict can give to the task appointed. Mitchum plays the commander of a US Naval vessel that has the task of seeking out and destroying enemy submarines; having just recently lost one command, he is going to make sure such doesn’t happen twice. The renowned German actor, Curt Jurgens, portrays the submarine commander whose presence has been detected by Mitchum’s destroyer, and the chase is on.
Both commanders, Mitchum and Jurgens, in their characters, reveal that each was firm in their beliefs toward their respective countries. While Jurgens is not a gung-ho Nazi, he does have a firm dedication to his fatherland, and what it was before the war. Mitchum has the same firm devotion to his country, and what he is doing is the right course to bring a successful ending to the war, ultimately. There is a lot of verbal discussion during the course of the film, who is right, why are we engaged in this action, etc., but both commanders are desperately trying to out think and outmaneuver the other.
There were several good movies made during the 50s, this film, “The Enemy Below”,and “Run Silent, Run Deep” come to mind, and are certainly worth a view. This film does give a look at both sides involved in the type of chase done here.