Hell Below Zero

Hell Below Zero (1954) is a murder mystery Technicolor film, starring Alan Ladd in the second of his films for Warwick Films.

Hell Below Zero
Hell Below Zero FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed byMark Robson
Produced byIrving Allen
Albert R. Broccoli
Written byRichard Maibaum
Screenplay byAlec Coppel
Max Trell
Based onThe White South
1949 novel
by Hammond Innes
StarringAlan Ladd
Stanley Baker
Music byClifton Parker
CinematographyJohn Wilcox
Edited byJohn D. Guthridge
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
Running time
90 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom
United States
Budget$1 million (approx)[1]

The film was directed by Mark Robson, and was written by Alec Coppel and Max Trell. The film was based on the 1949 novel The White South by Hammond Innes, and presents interesting footage of whaling fleets in action.[2]


The plot revolves around the death of Captain Nordahl, on a factory ship in Antarctic waters, lost overboard in mysterious circumstances. Captain Nordahl is an associate in a Norwegian whaling company, Bland-Nordahl.

Duncan Craig (Alan Ladd), an American, meets Judie Nordahl (Joan Tetzel), the captain's daughter on his way to South Africa, where he gets even with a business partner who cheated him. With little money left and a desire to see Judie again, Craig signs on to be a mate on the ship taking Judie to Antarctica.

On arrival in Antarctic waters, Craig finds suspicious evidence that seems to implicate skipper Erik Bland (Stanley Baker), the new captain of the factory ship, in a conspiracy. Another murder follows and the film concludes with a dramatic showdown on the ice.



The movie was part of a two-picture deal Ladd made with Warwick Films, following The Red Beret.[3][4][5] Ladd was paid $200,000 against 10% of the profits.[1]

During production it was known as White South and White Mantle.[6]

The film included location footage shot in Antarctic waters. Albert Broccoli accompanied a second unit crew down there for over three months.[7]

Shooting took place at Pinewood Studios.[8]

Director Mark Robson wanted Eugene Pallette to play a role but Pallette was unhappy with the size of the part in the script.[9]


  1. ^ a b Scheuer, Philip K. (June 13, 1954). "A TOWN CALLED HOLLYWOOD: Producers Want English Clear--Even in Oklahoma". Los Angeles Times. p. D4.
  2. ^ IMDB entry
  3. ^ Broccoli, Albert R. & Zec, Donald (1999). When the Snow Melts: The Autobiography of Cubby Broccoli. Trans-Atlantic Publications.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ "STUDIOS PLANNING 2 ALAN LADD FILMS: Warwick and Columbia to Join in Offering 'The Red Beret' and 'The White South'". New York Times. July 15, 1952. p. 17.
  5. ^ "LADD PLANS MOVIE OF A WHALING TRIP: Actor to Make 'White South,' About Antarctic Expedition, Abroad for Irving Allen". New York Times. Nov 3, 1952. p. 36.
  6. ^ "ROBSON TO DIRECT WHALING PICTURE: Ladd Stars in 'White Mantle,' to Be Filmed in England for Warwick Productions". New York Times. Dec 3, 1952. p. 45.
  7. ^ Hopper, Hedda (Feb 6, 1953). "Looking at Hollywood: Alan Ladd and Stanley Baker to Co-Star in Movie of Antarctic". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. b4.
  8. ^ "The Future Programme", Kinematograph Weekly, 31 May 1956 p 14
  9. ^ Schallert, Edwin (Feb 7, 1953). "Freeman Gives Light on New 3-D Process; Ryan Set for 'Inferno'". Los Angeles Times. p. 13.

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