Hell Below (1933)

Passed   |    |  Romance, Drama, War

Hell Below (1933) Poster

In 1918, U.S. Navy Lt. Tommy Knowlton participates in dangerous submarine missions, disobeys orders, gets court-martialed and romances a married woman who happens to be his C.O.'s daughter.



  • Madge Evans and Robert Montgomery in Hell Below (1933)
  • Madge Evans and Robert Montgomery in Hell Below (1933)
  • Madge Evans and Robert Montgomery in Hell Below (1933)
  • Madge Evans and Robert Montgomery in Hell Below (1933)
  • Robert Montgomery in Hell Below (1933)
  • Madge Evans and Robert Montgomery in Hell Below (1933)

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29 May 2011 | AlsExGal
| Well done early sound action film
I say it's an action film rather than a war film because it has a little bit of everything - battle scenes, love scenes, and even some comedy thrown in here and there. It also does something unusual for an MGM film of the era - it doesn't get hammy and it doesn't come up with a contrived happy ending for all involved.

Lt. Thomas Knowlton (Robert Montgomery) and Lt. Brick Walters (Robert Young) are the best of friends and also officers aboard a submarine during WWI. At the beginning of the film they get a new commanding officer - Lt. Cmdr. T.J. Toler (Walter Huston). Toler is a strictly by the book commander and seems to rub Knowlton and Walters the wrong way just a bit, though more from his very formal nature than by any unfairness in his command. Knowlton falls in love with Toler's daughter Joan (Madge Evans). The complicating factor here is that Joan is married - she tells him so upfront. This doesn't seem to bother Knowton too much until he finds out exactly why Joan let her foot slip.

Conflict between Toler and Knowlton builds not only because of Knowlton's romance with Toler's married daughter, but because Knowlton is unfortunately an officer who thinks sentiment has a place on board a submarine in wartime.

Comic relief is provided by long-time MGM contract comedian Jimmy Durante and Eugene Palette as two enlisted men on board the submarine. Sterling Holloway plays what at first seems like comic relief to the comic relief but ends up the centerpiece of a very nightmarish and unforgettable scene that reminds everyone that war truly is hell.

Highly recommended as a good action film and one that plays to the strengths of the entire cast.

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