With Kenneth More, Dana Wynta and a few other actors I'd never heard of I prepared to watch this film on my 17th Birthday. Okay so maybe I'd heard of Kenneth More (39 steps) but that was it i swear.
Reluctantly I played the DVD wishing my Birthday could be more exiting than eating ice cream at a cafe and watching a war movie. At the end of two hours however I decided this was a damn good birthday, and all because of watching this film.
With a brilliant script, some truly superb pieces of acting (special note to the two actors mentioned above) I was captivated right from the start. It is brilliantly, paced and presented without the exaggerations, inventions or epic dramas that are invested in many war films of today. I have mentioned on another thread how excellent the British are at putting together films which are neither saturated with patriotic rhetoric or impassioned speeches.
Kenneth More has to deal with some very emotional scenes - namely the possible loss of his son - which he does subtly but extremely touchingly. Less really is more.
Dana Wynta is excellent and more than once I laughed out loud as she proved how spunky she could be with Capt Shepard (More) during her initial disapproval at the coldness of some of his decisions which then gently slides into empathy and compassion.
Once or twice I found myself squealing "Nawwwwww!" when More or Wynta was showing a little compassion towards the other and although the romantic element is all very subltle (and by no means jepodizes the seriousness of the films subject matter) it is all very moving.
Just watch the moment when More realises she has decided to stay on at Naval Operations (rather than be transfered to America) just so that she may continue being a friend to him after he has, in a rare emotional moment confessed that his son is MIA.
Her perception of him changes completely in this scene as she realizes in a moment that he is not nearly as objective and impersonal as she first supposed. Understanding then becomes empathy and admiration. The understated Britishness and impersonality remains in tact for the rest of the film, and quite rightly, but there is a sense the ice has melted for Capt Shepard and there are several glimpses as to his kindness and fairness whilethe story progresses.
Finally, there is a very well staged and believable battle scene at the end as the Bismark and other ships exchange fire
I have watched this film several times over and it has never ceased to impress me. 4 1/2 stars.
I see you spell Dana Wynter as Dana Wynta. Is that a typo, or do you know something about her?