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The Riddle of the Sands (1979)

PG | | Adventure, Drama, Thriller | 1979 (UK)
In the early years of the 20th Century, two British yachtsmen (Michael York and Simon MacCorkindale) stumble upon a German plot to invade the east coast of England in a flotilla of ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Carruthers
...
Clara
...
Davies
...
Dollmann
Jürgen Andersen ...
Von Brüning (as Jurgen Andersen)
...
Böhme
Hans Meyer ...
Grimm
Wolf Kahler ...
Olga Lowe ...
Frau Dollmann
Ronald Markham ...
Withers
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Storyline

In the early years of the 20th Century, two British yachtsmen (Michael York and Simon MacCorkindale) stumble upon a German plot to invade the east coast of England in a flotilla of specially designed barges. They set out to thwart this terrible scheme, but must outwit not only the cream of the German Navy, but the feared Kaiser Wilhelm himself. Written by Jonathon Dabell <J.D.@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Men can disappear without a trace...and their secrets with them. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

1979 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A homokpart rejtélye  »

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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The "Dulcibella" sailing yacht seen in the movie weighed seven tons and spanned thirty feet. The boat was discovered in Cornwall and converted for the film's sailing sequences. The yacht was actually built in the same shipyard as the vessel "Vixen" which was a boat owned by original source author Erskine Childers whose experiences aboard her inspired the film's "Riddle of the Sands" source novel. See more »

Goofs

During the scene when Clara is frying Arthur's egg, some twenty minutes or so into the film. See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: Frisian Islands, Germany 1901 See more »

Connections

Version of The Riddle of the Sands (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

Edwardian espionage.
28 January 2000 | by (Derbyshire, UK) – See all my reviews

Tony Maylam (and Christopher Challis - read his autobiography, "Are they really so awful") went all-out in this film to recreate a feel for Erskine Childers's slightly jingoistic novel, and for the joy of messing about in boats. The film achieves much of what it set out to do, but some extra elements grafted on to the original plot slightly spoil it for me.

The plot features Davies, an English amateur yachtsman (brilliantly played by Simon MacCorkindale) who stumbles onto something strange while pottering around the bleak Friesian coast in northern Germany. Mystified, he summons his old friend Carruthers (Michael Yorke) to help uncover the secret.

As a detective tale or spy story viewed through the eyes of either Davies or Carruthers, the film works. The few action sequences, which are almost always seen from the viewpoint of others, tend to fall flat and spoil the overall continuity. The subtitles to scenes in which characters are speaking in German are annoying, since almost everything is also translated verbally for the benefit of Davies who does not speak the language.

That said, this is quite a tense film, and gives a very true rendering of the novel.

The scenery and props are quite superb. Davies's yacht is a joy to look at from the outside and suitable poky in the interior shots. The flat coastal scenery is very atmospherically shot and the costumes are very good.

Except for a rather wooden "Kaiser Bill", the acting is excellent, though this is no less than one would expect from such as Alan Badel and Jenny Agutter.

This film is very enjoyable, but best watched with one's thinking cap on.


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