CRASH DIVE —now, we like our Tyrone Power and our Dana Andrews, but apart from some fiery special effects (snagging an Oscar in that category) this 1943 go-get-’em is not much to agonize over if you have something better to do, like look out the window.
Power is cast with the initials U.S.M.C.R. after his name as this was his last film before reporting to boot camp, and eventual service as a Marine Corps pilot, flying supplies into and wounded men out of the battles of Saipan and Okinawa. Bravo for that, but this silly submarine drama doesn’t exactly roar with realism, as Ty and commander Andrews both fall for Anne Baxter in between missions where they blast Nazi raiders and finally an Arctic (Norway?) base, which blows sky-high in Technicolor.
The heroics are overdone, as per the era, and the love story is perfunctory at best. Archie Mayo directs, other roles are filled by James Gleason, Dame May Whitty, Harry Morgan and Ben Carter. The part Carter plays,’Oliver Cromwell Jones’, is unusual for the time as Carter was African-American and the role isn’t marred by the usual demeaning stereotypes. He’s granted equality among cast and crew, which was done to pay oblique tribute to the heroism shown by Dorie Miller, a messman on the USS Arizona who won the Navy Cross for bravery at Pearl Harbor (played way-up and then some by Cuba Gooding Jr. in Pearl Harbor, sixty years later). 106 minutes of dated action-romance did well at the time, earning $6,380,000, making it Power’s sixth most successful feature picture. It’s not terrible, but it’s too ho-hum to heartily recommend. Cast off!