USS Whitehurst Logo by: Pat Stephens, Webmaster DESA

Whitehurst "Stars" in Film

The Movie, "The Enemy Below", made using the Whitehurst, is a WWII, DE versus U-Boat thriller. Robert Mitchum and Curt Jurgens play the leading roles as skippers of the opposing vessels. It was released in 1957 and took and academy award for special effects.
You can see several of your old shipmates playing bit parts, a few of whom speak a line or two. There are many good shots of the ship. The film is still available in the "War Section" at the major Movie Rental stores.  If it isn't on their shelves, they can order it.

The movie has been re-released twice recently.  In December of 2003 and in May of 2004.  The 2004 release is on DVD in Wide Screen & Surround Sound.  Both DVD & VHS versions were available for purchase for about $15. (May 2004)

In May of 2002, the readers of Sea Classics Magazine responded to a poll selecting their top 10 and personal favorite sea films.  The Enemy Below took second place, just slightly behind The Cane Mutiny and well ahead of Das Boot and Mister Roberts in the 3rd and 4th spots.  
Denys Rayner, Author Book, "The Enemy Below"
           Notes about the Author of the Book                     

  Still Shots Taken During the Filming of "The Enemy Below"
 Pictures preserved,  provided, and
 captioned  by Ken "AK" Baroa RD2

Ken Baroa RDSN, 1955


                    Official Movie Poster of "The Enemy Below"


The 20th Century Fox crew with movie equipment on what we called "Baker Docks" in Pearl Harbor. 
It is now called "Bravo Pier".  Notice man with the bull horn... Director, Dick Powell


                                                         Mounting movie equipment on the bridge of Whitehurst


                                                       A depth charge explodes too damn near the surface

(Although planned as part of the movie, the violence and proximity of this explosion took everyone
by surprise.  It was picked up by the Associated Press and forwarded all over. The picture below
was clipped from the Spokesman Review, Spokane, WA. 
 It was preserved and contributed by Hugh Toney BT3...(max crow)



The caption reads: Exploding depth charges send water 100 feet into the air near the Navy's Destroyer
Escort Whitehurst 18 miles from Pearl Harbor.  A Hollywood movie crew aboard the ship narrowly
escaped what the captain said could have been a serious accident.  Among well known persons working
on the film were actor Robert Mitchum, director Dick Powell and actress June Allyson.  Eleven charges
exploded prematurely  (AP)

             Comments on the explosion by Chief Gunner's Mate Tim Lake:

As well as I remember the depth charges are supposed to have a safety not letting them explode before 50 ft. We never dropped charges doing less than 18 knots even then at 50 ft there were a lot of light bulbs to be changed. The 300 lb "Ash Can" charges which were rolled off the fantail sank more slowly than the tear drop charges. So you had better be moving on. Our Skipper never dropped charges doing less than 20 knots no matter what depth setting because some always explode too soon. He said,  "Better safe than sorry". 

Abandon ship scene.  On left, feet about to enter water is Adrian "Flip" Filipiak RM2.  In center, arms even with life lines is Ray Nowacki ET2.  Next man who has just jumped, Frank "Aggie" Aguilar SN.  The sailor standing on deck looking down is unidentified.  On right about to climb over, Jim Burroughs RD3.  (this data is subject to correction)


    Actor Robert Mitchum, star of the movie in the role of Captain Murrell, Commanding     
        Officer  USS Haynes DE-181.  Kurt Jügens co-starred as CO of the German U-Boat.

The following comments by Ken "AK" Baroa

This movie was quite clever unlike other WWII movies where

the radar would make a sound upon a contact.


We Radarmen showed the sound guy that radar does not make any sounds and the movie

(very clever) just accented the background music when we got the sub on the radar.


Unlike other WWII movies, they didn't call the contact a Blip which is incorrect. Pip is

the correct term for establishing contact. Bogie is used if identified as a enemy aircraft

and Skunk for a enemy surface craft. 

This movie received excellent technical advice from the old man* (LtCdr Walter Smith) , the Radarmen, and

Hendricks BM1, regarding the ship's proper voice procedure on the P.A., and the Quartermasters

for Helm steering commands.

*note: The term "old man" is the sailor's normal language for
referring to their Commanding Officer.  It is not disrespectful. mc

   E-mail Max Crow Site Author 

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