Edit
The Enemy Below (1957) Poster

Goofs

Jump to: Audio/visual unsynchronised (1)  | Character error (4)  | Continuity (7)  | Errors in geography (1)  | Factual errors (21)  | Miscellaneous (1)  | Revealing mistakes (2)  | Spoilers (4)

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

As the U-boat's destruct charges set by her crew finally explode, the sound is less like bombs and more similar to gunshots, such as those aimed at the DE when she is about to ram the U-boat.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink

Character error 

In the Bridge game dummy is placed on the table before the opening lead. The correct sequence is: opening lead and then the dummy hand is shown.
3 of 11 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
The dealer in the bridge game seems to finish with the player on his right. When dealing, the last card should go to the dealer.
2 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
During the bridge deal, the dealer's partner (player opposite), picks up his cards before the end of the deal. His remaining card is dealt, but then picked up by the player to the dealer's right, resulting in a void hand.
2 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
The bridge game bidding ends with 'pass and double'. The bid should be 'double', and still must be followed by three consecutive 'pass' bids by the other players.
2 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink

Continuity 

When the destroyer re-engages the sub after completing the triangle it drops a depth charge pattern and the sub turns left. The captain calls, "Left standard rudder," and the exec repeats, "Right standard rudder," down the comms tube.
7 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
When Vol Stolberg goes to leave the control room, he sees the word "Furher" on a sign above the doorway. He covers with it with a towel, but in the next shot the position of the towel has changed.
6 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
When Von Stolberg swings across to the Destroyer he is holding the rope with his arm straight in front of him but in the next shot his arm is higher up the rope.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
When the destroyer is depth-bombing the U-boat at hour intervals, the US captain orders the bombs to be fired right on the hour; however, in the U-boat, they hear the bombs going off right on the hour also. There should be some interval of time between the bombs being fired, flying through the air, and then sinking to the preset depth before the explosions. The movie makes the firing of the depth-charges and the detonations virtually simultaneous.
2 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
During the heavy rainstorm there is a shot of the radar antenna against a partly cloudy sky.
2 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
In the card game scene Lt. Ware's body position shifts wildly throughout the bidding dialog - at first sitting upright and slightly hunched over the card table, then slouching to his left with his left arm on the table, then sitting far back in the chair, and finally slouching to his left with chin in hand.
1 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
After one depth charge attack, the captain is notified of a visible oil slick; that same oil slick is visible in an earlier scene prior to that particular attack.
1 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink

Errors in geography 

The opening credits of the film end with "World War II South Atlantic Ocean". Moments later, dialog among the crew reveals that the destroyer left Trinidad that morning. As the South Atlantic is more than 1200 miles from Trinidad, the ship cannot possibly be in the South Atlantic.
6 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink

Factual errors 

When the U-Boat captain first observes the Destroyer, he describes it to his first lieutenant, including the observation that it has "No tubes." The lieutenant refers to the manual and declares that it is a Buckley Class Destroyer. Buckley Class Destroyers were in fact equipped with a triple-mount of torpedo tubes, just aft of the stack.
11 of 11 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
The DE has doctor onboard. A doctor was not part of the standard compliment of destroyer escorts.
10 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
When the U-boat is first sighted the captain says; "We might get close enough to get a shot at him before he pops under." At the reported range of 6,000 yards the U-boat was already an easy shot for the 3"/50 guns of a destroyer escort (14,600 yards max range, about 10,000 yards effective range).
9 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
The crew of the German U-boat was unusually clean shaven. Although some men have stubble, there is not a single full beard among the crew. This would be very unusual unless the crew was fresh from port. This is a fact attested to in the dialogue of 1981's Das Boot which was a much more concerned about historical accuracy.
9 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
When Captain Stolberg orders Lt Von Holem to abandon, he says, "Set the automatic detonators and get the men out of the ship." Submariners, especially those in the Kriegsmarine, refer to submarines as "boats".
8 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
After the u-boat's first torpedo attack on the DE the captain orders 18 knots and turns to attack. No anti-submarine vessel would have increased to this speed, since anything over about 15 knots was too fast for the sonar to work effectively, and the sonar was required for the coming attack.
7 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Right after the burial at sea sequence on board the rescue destroyer, you can see a watertight deck hatch rigged in the open position, with its escape scuttle also open. During wartime cruising, (Condition III) Navy Regulations require all watertight doors, hatches and scuttles on the weather decks to be closed while the ship is underway. Note: any deck exposed to the outside is classified as a "Weather deck".
7 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
When the destroyer escort turns after the U-boat following the first torpedo attack, the DE lowers its sonar dome. As that dome carries both the sonar transmitter and receiver, it would have had to be in the lower / operating position to be used in all the preceding scenes.
6 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
When the German "detonators" are activated, pendulums start swinging. Pendulums are NEVER used aboard ship. The normal rocking of a ship in a seaway makes pendulums an unreliable method of activating a timing device.
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Near the end the destroyer rams the sub as it is trying to descend. The destroyer ran up over it and stayed in that perch as though the sub was lodged on solid ground. If it still had some flotation it would indeed exert some upward thrust on a larger ship but no way would the sub have remained stationary in that manner. Would have made the ensuing dramatic rescue a bit more difficult to stage however.
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Early in the movie the u-boat fires two torpedoes from its stern tubes at the DE. However, the model is clearly a Type VII u-boat, which would have had only a single stern tube.
7 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
During the initial torpedo attack it is stated that the range is 1,000 yards. The speed of the torpedoes is set at 30 knots. The U-boat captain is told the running time for the torpedoes will be 1 minute 40 seconds. At 30 knots it requires only 1 minute to move 1,000 yards. Therefore, even allowing for some additional spread in the range, the run time could not be anywhere near the stated time.
7 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
World War 2 destroyer escorts had two main engines and two propellers. Underwater shots of the model used in the movie show only one propeller.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
In the scene where the man is announcing General Quarters over the 1MC, he is not holding down the talk switch on the 1MC station.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
When the first radar echo is detected, and it is classed as possibly a submarine, the captain doesn't want to spook the (possible) sub into a 'crash dive'. In reality, there is no such thing as a 'crash dive', all dives are performed quickly, as it's good practice.
6 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
German U-Boats required a block and tackle to load torpedoes and were greased since they weighed up to 950 lbs and there are no rollers in the torpedo tube. Reference movie Das Boot for realism. When this U-Boat loaded their torpedoes for the attack, they just pushed it in by hand. with no grease or block and tackle. When the last crewman, who was to close the tube door, saw the torpedo was still sticking out, he pushed it in by himself. A VERY light torpedo indeed.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
After the submarine bottoms, Capt. Murrel orders the engine room to reduce turbine speed slowly, supposedly to fool the submarine into believing the ship has gone away. This would never work, because the only way to slow is to reduce propeller speed. This change is obvious to even the most inexperienced sonar operator, and they would never be fooled into thinking the escort had departed.
3 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
In the bridge game the final card dealt is to the the dealer's right, not to the dealer's hand as it should be. Also, the bid "pass and double" is not a proper bid; one can pass, or double, but not both.
3 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
U-boats were not fitted with scuttling charges; if it became necessary to scuttle the boat they could do so using the normal diving mechanism.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
The U-boat interior is shown to be very spacious, with the captain having his own private cabin with a door, desk, and a full sized bed. Even the most advanced U-boat of World War II, the Type XXI, was not this spacious and the more common Type VII U-boats provided the captain only a small bunk across from the radio room, with a curtain for privacy.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
When the U-Boat makes its first emergency dive after spotting the USS Haynes, klaxons are heard as the diving alarm. In reality, U-Boats used bells to signal a dive.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink

Miscellaneous 

On board the U-boat we hear the sea depth given as "310 meters"; that's equivalent to 170 fathoms or 1,020 feet. We then hear the same depth given on board the destroyer as "150 fathoms". Murrell converts it in his head first to meters, then to feet, even though as an experienced American seaman he would certainly know that 1 fathom is exactly 6 feet. Furthermore, although the fathom depth was wrong, he converts to the right value: "310 meters - that's over 1,000 feet".
11 of 11 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink

Revealing mistakes 

When the switches on the submarine's "attack computer" are turned prior to firing the first salvo of torpedoes, one switch knob flops around, but it is quickly corrected by the actor.
11 of 11 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
After receiving a particularly jarring depth charge attack where several of the U-boat crew are thrown off balance, a few leaks occur within the conning tower. To stop the leaks the Executive Officer reaches for a set of wrenches that are neatly and conveniently laid out on a table despite the submarine having been violently tossed side to side several times.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink

Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Factual errors 

After the destroyer had miraculously placed itself on top of the U-Boat, the German Captain went back into the U-Boat to save his friend. Massive amounts of water was pouring in from many sources, but, the water level never rose. This allowed filming to occur without the actors being inundated by the rising water level. With the massive damage seen here having been made with the initial ramming, the U-Boat should have sank almost immediately. But that would have ended the movie and eliminated the rescue scene.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink

Plot holes 

The U-boat is supposedly intent on making a rendezvous with a surface raider. There are two problems with this. 1) The premise makes sense in the original book when the warship was a British escort earlier in the war, and German surface raiders were active. By the time of the movie, with a US escort later in the war, German surface raiders had all been captured, destroyed, or driven off the seas. 2) A German submarine commander would have referenced a surface raider by its actual name, not by a British style code name such as "Raider M".
10 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Finishing a target on the surface was something a U-Boat did to a merchant ship. No U-Boat would dare surface in the presence of even a heavily damaged destroyer escort as shown in the final battle. Even damaged as shown, most of the escort's weapons would still be operational (no electricity was required) and extremely deadly to a U-Boat. All of the situations in which U-Boats fought significant warships while surfaced during the war were when caught on the surface and unable to safely dive, or when too damaged to remain under water. In the original book, with a smaller British escort, the tactic could have made sense.
8 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
During the chase, Capt. Murrell (US) is worried about being drawn into a trap with Raider M. It is unlikely that a US DE would have a problem with this, since its radar would allow it to detect the raider well in advance, and its speed would be greater than that of any raider, allowing it to evade an attack. The situation would have been a problem in the original book, where the warship was an early war British escort, which would have neither the radar nor the speed of the destroyer escort.
9 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink

See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

Contribute to This Page


Recently Viewed