Posts Tagged ‘general film distributors’

The Cruel Sea

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

Released - August, 1953  The Cruel Sea The Cruel Sea

Directed By - Charles Frend

Starring – Jack Hawkins (Ericson), Donald Sinden (Lockhart), John Stratton (Ferraby), Denholm Elliott (Morell), John Warner (Baker), Stanley Baker (Bennett), Virginia McKenna (Julie Hallam).

Description – Based on the bestselling novel by Nicholas Monsarrat, this is an impressively accurate account of the British naval officers and seamen who served on escort ships during World War II.

After completing service in the British Merchant Navy, Lt. Commander George Ericson is called upon by the Royal Navy and given command of the HMS Compass Rose intended for convoy escort duties.

Led by mostly inexperienced and newly-commissioned officers the first threat they face is bad weather. Initially, German submarines lacked the ability to strike far into the Atlantic, but after the fall of French ports this all changes. With the advantage of new ports to strike from, the German U-boats can now reach convoys anywhere in the Atlantic.

Months of dangerous crossings of the Atlantic have taken its toll on the crew of the Compass Rose as has the emotional strain of having lost so many convoy ships along with their crew to the relentless German attacks.

Now, the seemingly inevitible happens; the Compass Rose is torpedoed. Most of the crew are lost. Among the survivors are Commander Ericson and First Lt. Lockhart. With the battle for the Atlantic still raging, the Commander and First Lieutenant are given a new ship to command and the vital, but hazardous escort duties must continue.

The Cruel Sea is a gripping adventure filmed in the style of a semi-documentary.

NOTABLE: The Cruel Sea received an Oscar nomination for Best Writing, Screenplay.

The film remains true to the novel which were based on the author’s personal experience serving as an escort vessel officer during the war. However, some of Nicholas Monsarrant’s grimmist images were ommitted from the film. 

49th Parallel

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Released – March, 1942  49th Parallel 49th Parallel

Directed By - Michael Powell

Starring – Eric Portman (Lieutenant Hirth), Raymond Lovell (Lieutenant Kuhnecke), Niall MacGinnis (Vogel), Peter Moore (Kranz), Laurence Olivier (Johnny), Leslie Howard (Philip Armstrong Scott), Raymond Massey (Andy Brock).

Description – A World War II German U-boat has been damaged and stranded in Hudson Bay. Led by their fanatical commanding officer the survivors try to escape capture by crossing Canada with the hope of making it to the then neutral United States.

During the course of their trip they encounter a wide range of people, each of which have their own views of the war with most not too sympathic to the Nazi cause.

A very suspenseful drama with a satisfying final confrontation.

NOTABLE: This film won an Oscar for Best Writing Original Story, and was nominated for Best Picture and Best Writing, Screenplay. These awards are listed under the U.S. release title The Invaders.

Director Michael Powell used this film in an effort to “scare the pants off the Americans”, and bring them into the war.

The 49th Parallel runs along most of the United States and Canadian border.

This British production was the country’s top grossing film of the year.

Actors Olivier, Howard, and Massey worked for half their usual fee in order to help the war effort with this leading propaganda film.

Kind Hearts and Coronets

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

Released – June, 1950  Kind Hearts and Coronets Kind Hearts and Coronets

Directed By - Robert Hamer

Starring – Dennis Price (Louis Mazzini), Alec Guinness (All 8 D’Ascoynes), Valerie Hobson (Edith), Joan Greenwood (Sibella), John Penrose (Lionel).

Description – A hilarious study in the gentle art of murder!

A black comedy that makes  murder funny.  Louis Mazzini stands, along with eight others, to inherit a dukedom.  Louis, however, is not inclined to wait his turn in the long line of succession and plots to murder all eight members of the D’Ascoynes that stand in his way.

A number of complications arise along with a cruel twist of fate.

NOTABLE: Alec Guinness was originally asked to play four roles, but after reading and loving the screenplay he asked to play all eight roles.

Concerned with performing an accident scene in a hot air balloon, Guinness asked for a large amount of insurance to be provided by the studio.  The studio balked at this request and filmed the scene with an experienced balloonist wearing the costume of his character.  His concern turned out to be valid, as the balloonist was blown 50 miles off course and into a river.

In 2004, Total Film voted this the 7th greatest British film of all time.