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Sink the Bismarck (1960)

The British Navy must find a way to destroy Nazi Germanys greatest battleship.

Directed by:

Lewis Gilbert

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 93 minutes

UK Certificate: U

On DVD

Country: United Kingdom

Kenneth More stars as the fictional Captain Jonathan Shepard, an officer of the British Navy brought in to run the naval war room at the Admiralty in Whitehall during WWII. Shepard has much invested in the war - his wife was killed in an air raid and his son is a naval pilot. Disciplined and sometimes severe, Shepard believes in doing things by the book, and soon gets his people working together well. Shepard's biggest challenge is the newly-launched German battleship Bismarck, the virtually unsinkable supership that quickly becomes infamous for its ability to sink Allied shipping.

When the Bismarck sinks the famous British battleship Hood, with few survivors, it is an enormous blow to national morale and it is soon recognised that the only solution is to find a way to sink the Bismarck. The Bismarck's Admiral Lutjens (Karel Stepanek) is unstable, unpredictable and impulsive, yet the Bismarck will prove to be a challenge to find and to sink. Shepard must put his personal feelings on hold and get on with the job, however attractive 2nd Officer Anne Davis (Dana Wynter) is more than capable of getting his attention.

One of the classic British war films, this story is based on real events, although some dramatic licence has been taken - not only is Shepard a fictional character but Lutjens was far from being the unstable megalomaniac portrayed in the film. Nonetheless, the battle scenes are outstanding and the significant events from history are all present. Kenneth More is outstanding as Shepard, not least because of the human qualities he brings to the role. 'Sink the Bismarck' continues to be one of the definitive naval battle films.

It's Got: Plenty of tension and great sea battles.

It Needs: Lutjens to be more realistic - in reality he was highly competent and a great threat.

DVD Extras In the UK, Sink the Bismarck is only available on DVD as part of a two-disc set with The Enemy Below. Extras: Theatrical trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 1/10

Alternatives:

Pearl Harbour, The Battle of the River Plate, The Longest Day.

Summary

This classic WWII story based on true events contains plenty of action but is most notable for its character-oriented approach to the subject.

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