HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
Planet of the Dinosaurs
Gwen
Big Breadwinner Hog
Thunder Road
Moby Dick
Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie
Mad Room, The
Phantom of the Megaplex
Night Sitter, The
Child's Play
Power, The
Midsommar
After Midnight
Dolemite is My Name
Varda by Agnes
Toy Story 4
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy
Man Who Never Was, The
Greener Grass
Scobie Malone
Gangster, the Cop, the Devil, The
Brightburn
Satanic Panic
Claudine
   
 
Newest Articles
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
   
 
  Western Approaches Propaganda with feelingBuy this film here.
Year: 1944
Director: Pat Jackson
Stars: Eric Fullerton, Duncan MacKenzie, W. Kerr, Eric Baskeyfield, Dick Longford, Bart Wadham, H.S. Hills, P.J. Pyecraft, Chief Engineer Russell, Fred Armistead, Jim Redmond
Genre: Drama, Action, War, Documentary, Adventure
Rating:  0 Votes
Review: Don't bother trying to find other films made by the cast of this film. They were all non-professionals, genuine merchant seaman selected by Pat Jackson to appear in a documentary-style drama set in the Battle of the Atlantic.

The part played by the Merchant Navy in the Allied victory in World War Two is one of the most unappreciated in history. Sailors who took part in the Arctic convoys to Russia had to wait until 2013 (sixty-eight years after the end of the war) before being given any kind of award or medal – the Arctic Star.

Pat Jackson's film goes some way towards illustrating the conditions and dangers faced by ordinary sailors on convoy duty. It was very well made, under difficult conditions, and can easily stand alongside The Cruel Sea, San Demetrio London, and other wartime naval dramas.

The story centres on the crew of the merchant ship 'Jason' which has been torpedoed in mid-Atlantic. Twenty-two men (including the captain) have found refuge in a lifeboat. They plot a course for the west coast of Ireland, three weeks' sailing distance away, measure out the rations, and set the sail.

In parallel to this we see a convoy being prepared in New York and given its sailing orders. These are some of the weakest scenes, full of exposition so we know how the convoy system works, and with very awkward 'performances' from the US Navy officers. Once at sea things liven up considerably, as the British convoy leader tries to communicate with a French ship making too much smoke - “Defornce de fumay, see voo play!” (The comedy is intentional.)

The weather takes a turn for the worse, forcing a ship to detach from the convoy and speed up in order to be able to keep under control. All the while, the men in the lifeboat are increasingly desperate, calculating their chances of survival and hoping the radio operator can somehow raise a friendly ship with their small transmitter before the battery dies. The detached ship does catch the last dying signal and sets out to the rescue.

In a twist, however, a U-Boat is shadowing the lifeboat just hoping for another kill when rescue arrives. When it is spotted by the survivors they have to decide to sail away from the rescue ship in order to prevent her falling victim to a torpedo. Of course, all turns out well in the end, but not without some sacrifice.

The film was made by two units. One filmed the convoy scenes, the other the lifeboat. Different qualities of film stock made for a very hard job of editing, and the joins do show, but they are not obtrusive. The lifeboat was actually filmed off the coast of Anglesey, north Wales, and made for a very uncomfortable shoot with the huge Technicolor camera and lighting rigs.

Yes, this film is in colour, and shot by a master of the medium, Jack Cardiff (The Red Shoes, Black Narcissus). Cardiff makes the endless grey of the sea an almost living thing, especially when the tiny red sail of the lifeboat is set against it. He also does an outstanding job of capturing the craggy, weathered faces of men who have spent their lives at sea.

The performances of the cast are, indeed, non-professional, but they are heartfelt and can be genuinely moving. The lone watchman's first glimpse of the rescue ship is a case in point and is emphasised by Clifton Parker's excellent score (is it being an island race that makes British sea music so good?).

This film is now available from the Imperial War Museum (with an excellent commentary by Pat Jackson) and is probably the best film about the war at sea made during the war itself.
Reviewer: Enoch Sneed

 

This review has been viewed 2216 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: