Hell Below is about a submarine crew during World War I. A United States submarine pulls into port in Italy. Thomas Knowlton (Robert Montgomery) was supposed to have Liberty leave but it was taken away from him and his fellow sailor Brick Walters (Robert Young). Both sailors are forced to go to an officer’s ball. They have to dance with the high ranking officers’ wives. They were going to duck out of the party early until Thomas sees a nice looking young woman named Joan (Madge Evans).
Thomas and Joan go out for the night to a local carnival. All the sudden there is an air raid. Thomas takes Joan back to his place. Brick comes looking for Thomas at his place with orders to report back to the sub it is under attack by the enemy planes.
The next day Thomas goes to see Joan who is a nurse. He finds out she is married and is shocked. He is upset because he really loves her. He also finds out that Joan is the daughter of Captain Toler, the captain of his submarine. Out on the submarine Thomas defies orders and shoots at a destroyer. He is thrown in his room in his room as punishment. Soon after the submarine is hit and water begins to come in. Thomas finds a hole in floor that is leaking chlorine. He manages to plug the hole but eight men still die from breathing in the chemical. After all Thomas did with plugging the hole and saving the submarine he is still placed under arrest for torpedoing the destroyer. He is dismissed from the Navy.
Thomas goes to see Standish, Joan’s husband. He was wounded in action. Despite his possible permanent paralysis Standish is very optimistic he will walk again. Thomas goes to see Joan and Toler at their house. He is mean and violent which upsets Joan. She does not want to see him again. Toler can see Thomas did what he did in front of Joan to send her back to her husband.
Thomas sneaks onto the submarine for its last mission. The mission will be sending the crew to their deaths. When the submarine surfaces Thomas throws Toler overboard so he will not have to die when the submarine goes to blow up the enemy.
Hell Below was boring and not too interesting. It was a waste of the actors’ talents. The cast was very good despite the boring story. They all fit their parts very well you could believe Robert Montgomery, Robert Young, and Walter Houston (as Toler) were officers in the Navy. I will only recommend watching Hell Below if you either like watching films about submarines or the actor otherwise skip this film.