The San Demetrio of the title is a British merchant ship in an Atlantic convoy in 1940. Disabled and left to the mercy of patrolling U-boats the crew must keep her afloat and out of harms ... See full summary »
The San Demetrio of the title is a British merchant ship in an Atlantic convoy in 1940. Disabled and left to the mercy of patrolling U-boats the crew must keep her afloat and out of harms way. Written by
Steve Crook <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The fires on the ship are clearly not burning oil but gas. Otherwise there would be thick black smoke and pouring water on it from buckets would result in an explosive spread (for that same reason one should never try to extinguish burning fat in a frying pan by pouring water on it). See more »
[Looking at deck gun]
A gun is like a woman. You can't tell what it's like until you're in action. Then it's too late.
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Introductory Title: "Dedicated to the officers and men of the British Merchant Navy." See more »
This wartime propaganda film is pretty good in that it focuses on the strengths and determination of the British marine rather than relying on stereotypical portrayals of the enemy to stir up patriotic fervour. What we have here is a display of stiff-upper-lippery right through the ranks, from the plum-voiced officers down to the cor-blimey cockney galley slaves.
The story is a true one: a hardy band of survivors from a tanker under fire from German guns spend two days in a cramped lifeboat before finally sighting a ship only to find that it is the tanker from which they fled, somehow miraculously afloat and, with a little TLC, capable of transporting the crew back to land. I'm not quite sure why they spent two days rowing doggedly admittedly they had to distance themselves form the flaming tanker and its cargo of oil, but surely it would have made more sense to remain reasonably close to where they had been as that would have been and was where the search for them would have begun.
There are a number of situations and obstacles the resourceful sailors have to cope with and, for the most part, they meet each one with jut-jawed resolution. Mervyn Johns, the little man with the loving wife at home encapsulates the spirit of the bulldog breed, battling on even with a tummy ache. His officer wonders out loud at Johns' endurance, prompting the remark from another officer that is something along the lines of 'you can never tell a person's reserves of strength until they're up against it' a rallying call to the British audience fighting alone with no major allies at the time and a warning to their enemies. There's an Irishman amongst the crew, a Scot and a Taff. There's even a Yank, a sop to the US box office, and probably a deliberate attempt to get the film seen as widely as possible in the States to drum up pro-British sentiment.
The film is entertaining enough and you find yourself rooting for the disparate group, even though each is only given the briefest of character sketches before settling comfortably into pre-defined roles designed to appeal to as broad a spectrum of the population as possible, but it lacks any real emotion or depth.
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