12 user 4 critic

Operation Disaster (1950)

Morning Departure (original title)
The crew of a submarine is trapped on the sea floor when it sinks. How can they be rescued before they run out of air?


(as Roy Baker)


(screenplay) (as W.E.C. Fairchild), (play)

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The attack by British submarines on the German battleship "Tirpitz" in a Norwegian fjord during the Second World War.

Director: Ralph Thomas
Stars: John Mills, John Gregson, Donald Sinden
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

All leave is canceled so that a British submarine can be sent after a new German warship. They chase it so far that they have no fuel to get home.

Director: Anthony Asquith
Stars: Eric Portman, John Mills, Reginald Purdell
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A true WW2 story: the British Navy must find and destroy a powerful German warship.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: John Gregson, Anthony Quayle, Ian Hunter
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Jim Ackland, who suffers from a head injury sustained in a bus crash, is the chief suspect in a murder hunt, when a girl that he has just met is found dead on the local common, and he has ... See full summary »

Director: Roy Ward Baker
Stars: John Mills, Joan Greenwood, Edward Chapman
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A man seeks revenge but will he destroy himself in the process? After a long jail term for a crime he did not commit, a man is torn between revenge (which will probably destroy him) or ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Hamer
Stars: John Mills, John McCallum, Elizabeth Sellars
Adventure | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A cocky German flight officer is shot down over England and makes numerous attempts to escape to fight again.

Director: Roy Ward Baker
Stars: Hardy Krüger, Colin Gordon, Michael Goodliffe
Action | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In the Mediterranean in 1941 the Italians start using underwater chariots to mine the undersides of allied ships. Explosives expert Lionel Crabbe arrives in Gibraltar to organise defenses, ... See full summary »

Director: William Fairchild
Stars: Laurence Harvey, Dawn Addams, Michael Craig
Action | War | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

During WW2, German ships are "safely" docked upriver at Bordeaux, but the British send a team of kayakers to attack them.

Director: José Ferrer
Stars: José Ferrer, Trevor Howard, Dora Bryan
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Life on a British bomber base, and the surrounding towns, from the opening days of the Battle of Britain, to the arrival of the Americans, who join in the bomber offensive. The film centres... See full summary »

Director: Anthony Asquith
Stars: Michael Redgrave, John Mills, Rosamund John
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In British India, a young prince must be taken to safey across rebel-held territory, and an old train is the only way to do it.

Director: J. Lee Thompson
Stars: Kenneth More, Lauren Bacall, Herbert Lom
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

During the 1960s in Britain, tense race relations between whites and blacks are affecting the workplace, the family, the dating scene and the society at large.

Director: Roy Ward Baker
Stars: John Mills, Sylvia Syms, Brenda de Banzie
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

This "story of a ship," the British destroyer HMS Torrin, is told in flash backs by survivors as they cling to a life raft.

Directors: Noël Coward, David Lean
Stars: Noël Coward, John Mills, Bernard Miles


Cast overview, first billed only:
Lieut. Cmdr. Peter Armstrong
Andrew Crawford ...
Cmdr. Gates
Peter Hammond ...
George Cole ...
Able Seaman Nobby Clark
Helen Cherry ...
Helen Armstong
Lana Morris ...
Rose Snipe
Michael Brennan ...
Victor Maddern ...
Roddy McMillan ...
Leading Seaman Andrews
Frank Coburn ...
Leading Seaman Brough


The crew of a submarine is trapped on the sea floor when it sinks. How can they be rescued before they run out of air?

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


THRILLING SEA DRAMA! (ad for "Operation Disaster" - all caps) See more »


Drama | History | War


See all certifications »




Release Date:

18 May 1950 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Operation Disaster  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film's opening prologue states: "This film was completed before the tragic loss of H.M.S. Truculent, and earnest consideration has been given as to the desirability of presenting it so soon after this grievous disaster. The Producers have decided to offer the film in the spirit in which it was made as a tribute to the officers and men of H.M. Submarines, and to the Royal Navy of which they form a part." See more »


In the scene where the destroyers are first seen searching for the Trojan, the pennant letters on the side of one of the destroyers are seen in reverse. See more »


Helen Armstong: Why does the Navy insist on doing everything at the crack of dawn? The sea's there all day.
Lieutenant Commander Armstrong: It impresses the taxpayers.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A challenge that would daunt any captain
6 November 2015 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

One of the finest and most realistic military dramas that ever came out of the English speaking cinema was Morning Departure about Captain John Mills on a British submarine that goes to the bottom, but intact. Mills faces a challenge that would daunt any captain in this drama keeping his crew together until rescue comes.

Some definite influence of In Which We Serve is present here as well, especially accented by the presence of Mills and Richard Attenborough in the cast. The submarine is based in a small English coastal town where the officers and crew live as well. The domestic scenes with some of them including Mills and wife Helen Cherry (who was Mrs. Trevor Howard in real life) are taken straight from In Which We Serve.

When disaster strikes the men with the exception of Attenborough behave like the professional sailors they are. Attenborough who volunteered for submarine duty because of the extra pay suffers from claustrophobia, carefully hidden except in a crisis it comes out. Eventually Attenborough proves to have the right stuff as well.

The film benefits from the highly realistic rescue scenes when the Navy learns of the disaster. It also benefits from the superb playing of Mills and the rest of the cast. No John Wayne heroics here, these are just ordinary people doing their jobs under extraordinary circumstances. Even Mills has some trouble keeping it together, but he does.

The ending is at once harrowing, intense, and sublime. It caps off a fine bit of motion picture film making that everyone associated with this film can be proud.

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
morning departure t class? fvhz
Roy Ward Baker simonrosenbaum
Discuss Operation Disaster (1950) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: