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
The tune to which the sailors dance the hornpipe is Cock O' the North, by an unknown composer. There is no printed record of it prior to 1816, but it is quite possible that it was known as a folk tune during or prior to 1797. See more »
Vizard says "We do a full try out tomorrow, at eight bells", but he doesn't say which eight bells (00:00, 04:00, 08:00, 12:00, 16:00, 20:00 or 24:00). 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 »
excellent performances, historical authenticity and interesting plot
Despite the fact that this film is not as known as some other sea sagas, it has some spectacular battle scenes, which are quite impressive even today. The movie does contain some historical speculations ( like the prevention of France's invasion of England in 1797 ), but overall it is one of the most detailed and authentic depictions of what seamen's life looked like in the 18th century. It is highly recommended to anyone interested in the military history of the period. The primary reason I wanted to see that movie was the fact that Alec Guinness was in it. Needless to say, his portrayal of Defiant's captain is as strong and convincing as ever. Good captain vs. bad second-in-command ( Bogarte )opposition might not seem very original to a modern viewer, but again, excellent performances by both Guinness and Bogarte and many unpredictable plot turns make us forget about this semi-cliche.
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