Crash Dive

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Crash Dive
Theatrical poster
Directed by Archie Mayo
Produced by Milton Sperling
Written by W.R. Burnett (story)
Jo Swerling
Starring Tyrone Power
Anne Baxter
Dana Andrews
Music by David Buttolph
Cinematography Leon Shamroy
Edited byRay Curtiss
Walter Thompson
Color process Technicolor
20th Century Fox
Distributed by 20th Century-Fox
Release date
  • April 28, 1943 (1943-04-28)(New York City)
Running time
106 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2,646,000 (US rentals) [1]

Crash Dive is a World War II film in Technicolor released in 1943. It was directed by Archie Mayo, written by Jo Swerling and W.R. Burnett, and starred Tyrone Power, Dana Andrews and Anne Baxter. The film was the last for Power, already enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, before assignment to recruit training.



US Navy submarine USS Corsair, operating in the North Atlantic, hunts out German merchant raiders preying on Allied shipping. Its new executive officer, Lt. Ward Stewart (Tyrone Power), has been transferred to submarines after commanding his own PT boat. At the submarine base in New London, Connecticut, he asks his new captain, Lieutenant Commander Dewey Connors (Dana Andrews), for a weekend leave to settle his affairs before taking up his new assignment. On a train bound for Washington D.C., Stewart accidentally encounters New London school teacher Jean Hewlett (Anne Baxter) and her students. Despite her initial resistance to his efforts, he charms her and they fall in love.

His infatuation with PT boats irritates Connors but the two become friends after engaging a Q ship in which Connors is injured and Stewart sinks it. Connors, unbeknownst to Stewart, is already in love with Jean but delays marrying her until he gains a promotion to commander, and the commensurate pay raise it provides, so he can properly support her. Tension between the men ensues when Connors discovers that the woman Stewart is wooing is Jean. The film culminates in a commando raid by Corsair on an island supply base for the German raiders. After the raid, the two men make peace, and after the Corsair's return to New London, Stewart and Jean are married. [2]


As appearing in screen credits (main roles identified):

Tyrone Power Lt. Ward Stewart
Anne Baxter Jean Hewlett
Dana Andrews Lt. Cdr. Dewey Connors
James Gleason Chief Mike "Mac" McDonnell
Dame May Whitty Grandmother
Harry Morgan Lt. J.G. "Brownie" Brown
Ben Carter [3] Oliver Cromwell Jones


Part of the movie was filmed at Submarine Base New London, Connecticut. A few naval combatants rarely seen in Technicolor are visible in the early part of the film. The PT boats seen near the beginning are the 77-foot Elco type. The submarine primarily featured as Corsair was the experimental USS Marlin, with a conning tower modified to resemble her sister USS Mackerel. A few O-class and R-class submarines, built in World War I and used for training in World War II, are visible in the background of some shots. For wartime security reasons, no submarine classes used in combat in World War II appear in the film. USS Semmes is seen in one shot; there are probably not many good Technicolor views of a four-stack destroyer available today. Semmes was being used as a sonar testbed at the time.

One of the scenes in the movie was similar to that in the film Destination Tokyo (1943) starring Cary Grant, where the submarines follow an enemy tanker into their naval base through a minefield. Another similar plot theme was in the 1954 movie Hell and High Water about an island base to be used to launch a Boeing B-29 Superfortress in U.S. markings for an atomic bomb attack.

One interesting feature of the film is the significant role of African-American actor Ben Carter as messman Oliver Cromwell Jones. While most World War II movies (particularly those made during the war) feature few, if any, African-American characters, Crash Dive is a notable exception. Although Carter plays a stereotypical role as a low ranking sailor, his character is more developed than most African-American characters of the time by being shown to be a confidant to a higher ranking crewmember. Jones (Ben Carter) also participates in a commando raid late in the film. A scene which subtly comments on the racial mores of the time depicts the white sailors blackening their faces in preparation for that nighttime raid. Upon walking in and seeing them Jones laughs then reports loudly "I'm the only born commando here!".


The film won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects (Fred Sersen, Roger Heman Sr.) at the 16th Academy Awards. [4]

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  1. "All-time Film Rental Champs". Variety . October 15, 1990. p. M162 to 166.
  2. "Crash Dive". Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  3. Wartts, Adrienne. "Carter, Ben (1907-1946) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed". Retrieved 2017-11-06.
  4. "The 16th Academy Awards (1944) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2013-06-22.