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
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
CountryUnited Kingdom
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 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 TOWN CALLED HOLLYWOOD: Producers Want English Clear--Even in Oklahoma Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 13 June 1954: D4.
  2. IMDB entry
  3. Broccoli, Albert R. & Zec, Donald When the Snow Melts: The Autobiography of Cubby Broccoli Trans-Atlantic Publications 1999
  4. STUDIOS PLANNING 2 ALAN LADD FILMS: Warwick and Columbia to Join in Offering 'The Red Beret' and 'The White South' Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 15 July 1952: 17.
  5. LADD PLANS MOVIE OF A WHALING TRIP: Actor to Make 'White South,' About Antarctic Expedition, Abroad for Irving Allen By THOMAS M. PRYOR Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 03 Nov 1952: 36.
  6. ROBSON TO DIRECT WHALING PICTURE: Ladd Stars in 'White Mantle,' to Be Filmed in England for Warwick Productions By THOMAS M. PRYOR Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 03 Dec 1952: 45.
  7. Looking at Hollywood: Alan Ladd and Stanley Baker to Co-Star in Movie of Antarctic Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 06 Feb 1953: b4.
  8. "The Future Programme", Kinematograph Weekly, 31 May 1956 p 14
  9. Freeman Gives Light on New 3-D Process; Ryan Set for 'Inferno' Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 07 Feb 1953: 13.
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