Cast & Crew
Just before the end of World War II, approximately two hundred Allied prisoners are assembled on the docks of the small island of Karaku in the Dutch East Indies. The starving, harried captives are interrogated by a Japanese official, who is searching for war correspondent Anne Graham. Her presence is not detected, and the prisoners, including American Tom Jeffries, Dutchman Jan Van Steen, Pierre "Frenchie" LeBlon, and vaudevillians Jim Priestley and Winnie DeVoe, are hurried aboard an ancient Japanese freighter. Once they are incarcerated in cells below the deck, Anne removes her disguise and thanks Jan, who protected her despite being threatened with torture. Jan, who helped operate a secret radio station in the jungle, reveals to the others that Anne is being sought because she photographed atrocities committed by the Japanese upon civilian and military prisoners. The others worry that Anne's presence will endanger them further, especially as she carries her rolls of film with her, but Anne points out that they have a far more important concern: none of the portholes are blacked out. This means that the ship is clearly visible to any passing ship or submarine, thereby putting it in serious danger of attack. Anne relates how the Japanese, unable to feed their island prisoners, put them on ships supposedly bound for Tokyo, but in reality are setting them up as targets for American submarines. The alarmed captives resolve to take control of the ship, and although they succeed in making a copy of the cell door key by luring a guard into the cell, a number of them are shot in retaliation for the guard's death. The deaths greatly upset Anne, but Jan and Tom are still determined to escape. Hoping to save the others, Anne demands to be taken to Captain Osikawa, to whom she offers her film in exchange for the prisoners' lives. Osikawa refuses her deal and prepares to torture her into revealing the film's location. Anne is rescued by Jan and Tom, who used the duplicate key to escape. While Jan makes an unsuccessful attempt to infiltrate the arsenal, Anne and Tom, with Osikawa as hostage, go to the radio room. There, Anne transmits an SOS, which is received by the American submarine that has spotted and followed the freighter. The Americans believe Anne's partial message to be a trap, however, and she is cut off when a Japanese sailor cuts the radio antenna. When the other prisoners are forced to the deck and assembled before the machine gun, Anne and Tom are compelled to set Osikawa free. The captain orders the gunner to open fire, but before he can, the American submarine starts shelling the freighter. In the confusion, the prisoners succeed in overpowering their captors, and Jan strangles Osikawa before dying from a gunshot wound inflicted by the captain. Using Winnie's white slip, the prisoners signal the submarine to stop firing, and soon the Americans board the ship and restore order. As Tom and Anne embrace, their celebration is made bittersweet by memories of their fallen comrades.