“ Genre: War & Western - War / Universal, suitable for all / Director: Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell / Actors: John Gregson, Anthony Quayle, Ian Hunter, Jack Gwillim, Bernard Lee ... / DVD released 2007-06-11 at ITV Studios Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: Colour, PAL „
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This is the best Sea movie after "Sink the Bismarck" it concerns the pocket battle ship the Graf Spee and its history of sinking merchant vessels during the Second World War. The film is as close to the actual battle as you could be and has 3 British Cruisers attacking a German Pocket battleship. The events occurred in 1939 and actual film was made in 1956, not long after the end of the second world war.
Three British cruisers are sent to hunt down the Graf Spee and were tasked to shadow her until a larger British force could be brought to arms and outgun the Graf Spee's 11 inch guns. (In context the biggest naval guns in the second world war were 18 inch) The three British Cruisers, Ajax, Achillies and Exeter were armed with 6-8 inch guns which makes for this excellent cat and mouse type film as they pursue the Graf Spee into Montivideo Harbour.
The small British flotilla is led by Commodore Harwood who is played by Anthony Qualye and he manouvers his cruisers in such a way that the Graf Spee cannot turn her fire on all of them at the same time. However due to the difference in caliber of the guns the three cruisers need to get much closer to score hits.
In doing this they themselves take some horrible damage and the Exeter is particularly damaged where she only has one gun firing in true British spirit. The game dosnt finish with the Graf Spee entering the harbour as it is a neutral harbour and she is only allowed to be there to save life and make herself seaworthy again.
This suits the British as they try to get other forces steaming towards the scene to be able to block her in or at least attack her with fire power as she comes out. The Ark Royal is also heading in that direction to provide air cover. There is some annoying reporting by an American newsreporter who sits at a cafe table and reports on the events in the harbour as they unfold.
The ending comes when the Graf Spee puts to see but I wont spoil what happens. The film is of a superior quality for its time and probably one of the few times you will see proper ships of the Royal Navy firing all guns. They just dont have these types of ships anymore. The acting is 1950's so allow for the cheesy lines and the stiff upper lip.
Howwever well worth a watch if you dont know what happened there during the Second World War.