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Battle Hell (1957)
"Yangtse Incident: The Story of H.M.S. Amethyst" (original title)

 -  Drama | History | War  -  14 June 1957 (Denmark)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 336 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 2 critic

While sailing lawfully up the Yangste river in 1949, the British warship Amethyst found its return to the open sea blocked by Communist Chinese shore batteries that unexpectedly opened fire... See full summary »

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(book), (idea: and Official Admiralty Records), 1 more credit »
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Title: Battle Hell (1957)

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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Lt. Cmdr. Kerans, RN
...
Leading Seaman Frank
...
Col. Peng
...
Lt Weston RN
...
Capt. Kuo Tai
Sophie Stewart ...
Miss Charlotte Dunlap
Robert Urquhart ...
Flt Lt Fearnley RAF
James Kenney ...
Lt Hett RN
Richard Leech ...
Lt Strain RN
Michael Brill ...
Lt Berger RN
...
PO McCarthy RN
Thomas Heathcote ...
Mr. Monaghan RN
Sam Kydd ...
AB Walker RN
Ewen Solon ...
ERA Williams RN
Brian Smith ...
Boy Martin
Edit

Storyline

While sailing lawfully up the Yangste river in 1949, the British warship Amethyst found its return to the open sea blocked by Communist Chinese shore batteries that unexpectedly opened fire. In charge, Lieutenant Commander Kerans was not however prepared for his crew and his ship to remain as a hostage for the Chinese to use as an international pawn. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 June 1957 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Battle Hell  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The real life Jack French (b. Teignmouth, Devon), the only telegraphist on board HMS Amethyst, died on May 4th 2011 at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire aged 84. During the highpoint of the siege, he stayed at his post for 6 days without sleep, kept awake through the aid of Benzedrine. Following the successful liberation of the ship he was awarded an immediate Distinguished Service Medal and ordered to take a complete rest. Having joined the Royal Navy aged 17 in 1942, French retired after 22 years service as a Chief Petty Officer. On his retirement from the navy, he took up a post at the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham. See more »

Goofs

Towards the end of the film, shortly before Amethyst rejoins Concord, we see a scene with Kerans standing on the bridge of Amethyst. The see in the background is obviously a still image painted on the background. The waves are static. There is however light smoke which is moving between the bridge and the sky. See more »

Crazy Credits

[The film closes with King George VI's words following the incident]: "Please convey to the Commanding Officer and ship's company of H.M.S. Amethyst my hearty congratulations on their daring exploit to rejoin the fleet. The courage, skill and determination shown by all on board have my highest commendation. Splice the mainbrace". George R. See more »

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User Reviews

 
As good as I had recalled
16 June 2004 | by See all my reviews

I recently got a copy of this film on VHS. I was expecting to be disappointed as I haven't seen this film in about 35-40 years! I often get a film I once enjoyed find it doesn't live up my memories. But, I was pleasantly surprised with this film.

There are, of course, some period stereotypes, especially racial (Akim Tamiroff again plays the evil oriental....), but they are minor annoyances as the story unfolds.

I had read that H.M.S. Amethyst had actually been used for the film and was so badly damaged during the filming due to underwater explosions that she was soon scrapped. I can now see why this might have happened. There are quite a few detonations in the water very close to the hull.

While watching the film I felt it could just as well have been a good story from Hornblower, Aubrey etc. Take away the modern vessel and replace it with a wooden ship and you have a timeless (true) tale.

Richard Todd (who served as a paratrooper on D-Day) plays with the authority he often gave to many similar roles (like the Dam Busters).

It was fun to see that Bernard Cribbins and Ian Bannen were unlisted in the role list. They were novices, and were actually both quite good in this film.

I highly recommend seeing this film!


26 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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