15 August 2014 | l_rawjalaurence
Well-Shot Wartime Action Movie
Anthony Asquith's wartime action film is surprisingly good, given the constraints under which it was made. The battle sequences are well staged, with stock footage intercut with interior sequences taking place in the submarine. Asquith captures the claustrophobic life of the crew at sea, with each man trying to live as best they can under highly cramped conditions, while remaining loyal to their captain, Lt. Taylor (John Mills). Everyone accepts that death might occur at any time, yet they try their best to extricate themselves from a difficult situation, after trying to torpedo a German battleship, the Brandenburg. WE DIVE AT DAWN is an interesting example of a wartime propaganda film in which every social class is represented, from the upper class officer Lt. Gordon (Jack Watling), to the no-nonsense working class L/S Hobson (Eric Portman), who believes that his wife Alice (Josephine Wilson) has left him for the local fish-and-chip shop owner. Once aboard the submarine, however, social divisions are forgotten: everyone is committed to the cause of destroying the battleship and returning home safely. This message of all people pulling together was one of the most familiar refrains of World War II, both on the home and the battle fronts. In the end the crew succeed in their task, but not without a daring raid on a Danish port in order to purloin some fuel oil, which they achieve in the face of spirited resistance from the Germans. It is chiefly due to Hobson's resourcefulness that the crew succeeds. WE DIVE AT DAWN might seem a little antiquated now, its social attitudes redolent of a bygone age, but it still stands up as an effective piece of wartime propaganda.