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San Demetrio London (1943)

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 »


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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Arthur Young ...
Walter Fitzgerald ...
Chief Engineer Charles Pollard
Ralph Michael ...
2nd. Officer Hawkins
Neville Mapp ...
3rd. Engineer Willey
Barry Letts ...
Apprentice John Jones
Michael Allen ...
Cadet Roy Housden
Frederick Piper ...
Boatswain W.E. Fletcher
Herbert Cameron ...
Pumpman Davies
John Owers ...
Messboy John Jamieson
'Yank' Preston
Charles Victor ...
James McKechnie ...
John Coyle ...
Duncan McIntyre ...
Deckhand (as Duncan MacIntyre)


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 <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A great adventure story of the sea


Adventure | Drama | War


See all certifications »




Release Date:

21 February 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

San Demetrio  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Captain E.S.F. Fegen of HMS Jervis Bay received the Vicoria Cross for his attack on the Admiral Scheer. See more »


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 »


R.J.E. Dodds - Shipping Manager: [proposing a toast] I looks towards you.
Captain George Waite: I catches your eye.
R.J.E. Dodds - Shipping Manager: I bows according.
Captain George Waite: Down the hatch.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing credits: This story is based on fact and most of the characters in the film are portrayed from life with their permission. The remaining characters are fictitious, and in such cases any similarity to any incident, name or individual is coincidental. See more »


Featured in Arena: Cinema (1977) See more »


Invitation to the Rhumba
Music by Lou Halmy
Lyrics by Joe Boan
See more »

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User Reviews

Low-key but enjoyable wartime story of soldiering on
4 January 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The San Demetrio is a tanker that is apart of an trans-Atlantic convoy travelling to England from the States. When the convoy is attacked by an U-boat their destroyer is sunk and the San Demetrio is damaged very badly and the crew abandon ship. All the life boats are picked up but one boat drifts and is lost. Weeks later the crew in the lifeboat come across a ship, only to find that the San Demetrio has survived despite burning badly. The crew re-board the ship but find that getting the fire out is only the first of the dangers they must overcome.

I must have read the wrong synopsis when I thought of watching this film – I thought it was a standard action packed film where the crew of a tanker battle against the u-boat. Regardless of this, I was glad I watched it as it was different from the usual wartime propaganda in some ways and was quite enjoyable, if not thrilling. The plot shows the men battle through difficult conditions and being heroes without realy thinking of it – they were just doing their duty and being themselves. This message is still important today and is told in a low-key way with the need for action etc.

However, being low-key means that not all the tension of them being on a burning ship (that could explode) comes through. Likewise the majority of the danger they face remains with them and I never felt gripped or on the edge of my seat – the most I could say is that it was interesting rather than involving. The cast do well despite the irritating addition of an American to the cast (yes, the studios have been doing it that long!), but this is a minor annoyance. The rest are all good British stiff upper lips regardless of class or rank.

Overall this is an enjoyable little film but I wanted it to be as exciting on the screen as it could have been. Sadly the low-key nature of the film makes the tension turn into more interest than edge-of-seat tension.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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