Crash Dive (1943)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - War Drama, War Romance  |   Release Date - Apr 22, 1943 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 105 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Crash Dive is a thoroughly enjoyable submarine film, provided that one approaches it in the right frame of mind. That frame includes remembering that Crash was made during war time and as such will be regarded (justifiably) by modern audiences as propagandistic. That frame also means accepting that most of the story is merely an excuse to lead up to the climactic battle sequence, and that little of real substance occurs in all the back-and-forth-ing about Tyrone Power and Dana Andrews both being in love with Anne Baxter. Interestingly, there's more substance in sections involving minor characters, especially that played by Ben Carter. A black man, Carter's character is in the film for propaganda purposes, to acknowledge the contributions of African-Americans in the war effort. Being 1943, the film can't go all the way and give him a full-scale hero role or deal with some of the issues faced by servicemen of color, but it does treat the character with more respect than was usual for the time. There's also a moving interaction between Carter and James Gleason. Of the leads, Baxter is a little inexperienced but does well, and Power and Andrews use their skills and personas to good effect. And once the film moves into action gear, it delivers the goods in a big way. The special effects will seem dated to some, but they are exceptional for the period.