Cast & Crew
In 1941 an Italian submarine damaged by depth charges and surrounded by mines tries to pass from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic by crossing the Straits of Gibraltar, a mission considered impossible. Submarine Commander Leonardi realizes that English spies have alerted British anti-submarine craft of his plans, and Commander Blayne waits to destroy the submarine when it reaches the mouth of the Straits. Traveling cautiously through the water, Leonardi decides to surface and fight Commander Blayne's craft when he sees no escape. He realizes upon surfacing that he has reached neutral waters in the international zone of Tangiers. A Spanish cruiser signals the two crafts to halt hostilities, and the commanders dock their ships. The Italians are ordered to remain in port for 2 weeks and then either leave or sink the ship and accept internment, while the British have orders to guard the Italian ship and blow up the harbor if it tries to leave. Onshore, Blayne and Leonardi and their crews become acquainted and develop a mutual respect for each other. Leonardi falls in love with Lygia, a doctor who urges him to accept internment rather than risk battle. He suspects Lygia is a collaborator, however, when British Intelligence Officer Hodges pressures him to surrender the submarine. Actually, Lygia had refused to cooperate with Hodges, and she manages to delay the explosion of the mines when the submarine leaves port. The two ship captains reluctantly face each other again in battle, and Leonardi defeats the British.
Renato De Carmine
Released in Italy in 1963 as Finchè dura la tempesta and Beta Som; running time: 105 min; opened in Paris in February 1964 as Défi à Gibraltar. Some sources credit Charles Frend as director, while others credit Bruno Vailati as producer-director. French sources claim only French participation in the film.