SEAS BENEATH-a 1931 WWI “John Ford” Movie

This is a very good John Ford Movie. It’s all about a TOP SECRET Mission to lure German U Boats in close enough to sink them. And one Sub in particular U-172. A German Submarine that has a lengthy Success Rate of Ships Sunk by them.

So. The USN sends OUT a Special Schooner, a Mystery Ship, with a Secret hidden Large Gun mounted on her Deck and a 🇺🇸 Submarine tagging along with them. The thing is to lure the Sub in close enough so the USN Schooner can use their Gun which is smaller than what the Sub has. And to use the American Sub as help too.

It works. And it’s got a lot to see in this Movie. Secret Spy Stuff is revealed as well. And it a good seeing the American Captain sharing a Drink with his German Counterparts in a Port used to get Supplies by Ships and German U Boats. It’s a Spy Paradise. Lots of sexy women too. Lots of them. Ten to one Ratio of Women to Men.

At the outset of World War I, German U-boats, though numbering only 38, achieved notable successes against British warships; but because of the reactions of neutral powers (especially the United States) Germany hesitated before adopting unrestricted U-boat warfare against merchant ships

The U-172 used might have been U-272? But I think it was a Hollywood created Submarine. I don’t remember a German Sub that ever looked like the one in this Movie. Especially with two guns mounted on her deck.

In the waning days of WWI, a U.S. “Mystery Ship,” sets sail for the coast of Spain towing a submarine. Their mission is to find and sink a U-boat that has …sunk a ton of Ships.

I really enjoyed this Movie and I think you will too. So, Pop some Popcorn and Enjoy!

In the book, John Ford by Peter Bogdanovich, Ford was interviewed about his memories of directing the film, and he had the following to say about the experience, expressing his annoyance at Lessing being hired as a leading actress:

That was a war story about a Q ship – some good stuff in it – but at the last moment, the head of the studio put a girl who’d never acted before in as the lead because he thought she spoke a few words of German – which she didn’t. We had a scene, I remember, in which the German submarine slips up alongside another submarine to refuel, and this girl comes out onto the bridge chewing gum! Right in the camera. So we had to go to all the trouble of doing it all over again. She just couldn’t act. But we did all the refueling at sea. That stuff was good and so was the battle stuff, but the story was bad; it was just a lot of hard work; and you couldn’t do anything with that girl. Then later they cut the hell out of it.[2]