Thursday, 28 August 2008

No.48 : We Dive At Dawn

IMDb Link :

John Mills stars as the captain of the submarine ‘Sea Tiger’ whose perilous mission is to sink the German’s new battleship ‘Brandenburg’ before it becomes fully functional.

The first half of this film is all about introducing the crew, who are returning from an uneventful tour of duty. Most of the crew have seven day passes and set off for their various assignations and problems. Captain Mills has an armful of lovelies on the go and a servant to arrange his appointments, whereas the other crewmen have to make do with an estranged wife and a bag of chips.

Their fun is cut short when they are recalled to duty with an urgent mission to locate and sink the enemy’s prize asset a super destroyer, obviously styled on the real life Bismarck. The crew capture a downed German aircrew and learn that their quarry may already be out of reach and in the Baltic Sea. Undeterred our heroes go beyond the sub’s range to engage the ship and its escorts. They get their torpedoes in the water but are soon hunted down in a fashion familiar to anyone who’s ever seen a submarine film.

After a narrow escape the Captain readies the crew to surrender, as they’re out of fuel but one troubled seaman may have a chance at redemption with a daring plan to raid a German held Danish supply depot.

I really enjoyed this film, with it’s cast of salty sea dogs and thrilling action sequences. To be fair most of the ship and depth charge shots were stock footage but what do you expect - there was a war on! Given the time of filming it’s a credit to the production that the captured Germans were shown fairly and not as the monsters the propaganda department may have wanted.

The plot kept me guessing and the rousing raid on the base was edge of the seat stuff. It’s true that all the favourite submarine movie standards were trotted out such as the silent running and the jettisoning of debris to fool the enemy, but it’s films like this that came up with the in the first place.

The camaraderie of the group was well done with the practical jokes and minor disputes set aside when team work was needed. The final revelation may have tided things up somewhat conveniently , but I’d have been disappointed by any other ending. Seeing as clichés have been granted a seven day pass of their own I’ll say ‘We Dive At Dawn’ is gripping ‘Boys’ Own’ stuff.

Best Bit : Danish Harbour Raid

‘W’ Score : 18/23

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