There is something about ships and the men that sail them, and this movie satisfyingly fits that wont, and wades into science-fiction for a brief moment.
As it begins, the 1812 war between the States and England is about to begin, and the hero narrowly escapes capture, and being sent back to English soil. When he returns to his superiors, he is given a ship and a special mission to help the Americans win the war. Capt. James Marshall (Mark Stevens) makes the decision to take onboard a previous captain of his, Capt. Ben Waldridge (Patric Knowles), who reluctantly takes on the position, and calls together his previous guncrew. Trouble is, they had all been ousted from the Navy unceremoniously. Captain Marshall puts all his hope into his 'friend,' while the guncrew keep suspicious thoughts to themselves as to why their once-Captain would take on the rank of Commander for this secret mission. Luckily, all goes fairly well until Leslie (Angela Lansbury) comes aboard, and meddles into Commander Waldridge's business. The plot becomes thick as a soap opera, and the keys are all well laid out before hand. The ending is typical of modern movies made after 1990.
This movie has been rehashed in many different forms (Damn the Defiant, U-571, and whatever other turncoat buddy or desperation movie you can think of), but with nothing to redeem it except for the waves and a weird 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea scene. The story has no spark, and the actors never go out of their way. It's great to see some naval action, with special effects above par for the time, and seeing Gene Evans throw his weight around. And with the added bonus of Angela Lansbury in another role she was destined to play - an evil, conniving woman!
Visually decent for a black-and-white, with a few dark scenes due to aging, and some camera turns that aspire to break away from the old ways. Those angles and cues make it worthwhile viewing, though there is no suspense to keep you in your seat.