On the H.M.S. Defiant, during the French Revolutionary Wars, fair Captain Crawford is locked in a battle of wills against his cruel second-in-command Lt. Scott-Paget whose heavy-handed command style pushes the crew to mutiny.
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Defiant's crew is part of a fleet-wide movement to present a petition of grievances to the Admiralty. Violence must be no part of it. The continual sadism of Defiant's first officer makes this difficult, and when the captain is disabled, the chance for violence increases. Written by
In the last scene, Alec Guinness orders all larboard (left side) guns to bear on the fire ship. In the next shot, the starboard (right side) cannon fire. Ironically, the term "larboard" was changed by the navy into the current term "port" precisely because it was too easy to mistake it for starboard. See more »
[Scott-Padget turns back to the Captain as he begins to exit]
You may have the power of life and death over every man about this ship, sir, but I warn you: if we come through this voyage safely...
[Crawford looks up from his work]
To have followed Admiralty instructions may not be quite be enough.
[Crawford smacks his desk, jumps up and approaches Scott-Padget]
I will say this to you only once, sir: I will not be bullied or threatened and I intend to be obeyed! Your friends in London mean...
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Opening credits prologue: SPITHEAD, ENGLAND 1797 See more »
I had a chance to catch this well-known film for the first time on the "Action" cable channel and was very impressed all around - script, acting, direction, authenticity, pacing, the whole nine yards. This is a really engrossing story rooted in history with bold characters and lots of naval action; just a rip-snorting good adventure story of a very high calabre. The scenes of 180th century naval action are some of the most impressive I have seen (a letterbox release would be of great benefit in this regard). Guinness is up to his usual high standard, abetted by fine work from Bogarde and Quayle. The tension of the dramatic line never lets up until the heroic conclusion. The movie inspired to do some reading into the story of the Spithead Mutiny, on which the movie is based. Highly recommended.
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