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In March 1943, in the World War II, the Germans use the neutral harbor of the Portuguese colony of Mormugoa to transmit information to a U-Boat about the allied ships to sink them in international waters. In Calcutta, the British Intelligence assigns Colonel Lewis Pugh and Captain Gavin Stewart to spy in Goa and they discover that there are three German vessels anchored in the area and the famous spy Trompeta is based in Goa. They kidnap Trompeta to interrogate him but Lewis accidentally kills the spy after fighting with him in the runaway car. Meanwhile Gavin has one night stand with the gorgeous and elegant Mrs. Cromwell, who is the partner of Trompeta. They fail in their mission, but Lewis and Gavin convince their chief to use the veterans from Calcutta Light Horse led by the retired Colonel W.H. Grice to travel to Goa on board of the old ship Phoebe, pretending to be drunken businessmen on holiday. They prepare to destroy the Ehrenfels and the two other Nazi radio ships and get ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Entertaining and Historical -- Falls a Little Short on Both
I would concur with the previous reviewers comments, though perhaps a little less enthusiastically. The Sea Wolves is entertaining, owing largely to a cast of good British actors. I saw this film on the History Channel, and as World War II buff, my interest in the film is largely around its wartime premise. I don't mind that the film makers have exercised minor artistic license with some of the story. It's often essential for good film storytelling.
In this case, the true story, which was declassified by the British government in 1978, two years before the making of the film, is such a good story that little embellishment is needed to make a good film. I suspect that in this film the romantic exploits of Roger Moore are fiction, but no matter. My favorite films of the war genre, "Force 10 from Navarone" and "The Dirty Dozen" are historical fiction. The Sea Wolves has a similar element of misfit commandos, which is really tautology. Both Force 10 from Navarone and The Dirty Dozen are wildly humorous. Having served in two wars, I recall much of what happened as humorous to the point of farce, equally mixed with the parts that were serious, including a few terrifying experiences. A few brief moments of terror can go a long way, when experienced in real life, but not nearly as far when watched on the screen. Therefore, film makers typically alter the mixture, adding more action to keep us riveted. Like the historical epics films, based on the books of Connelious Ryan ("The Longest Day" and "A Bridge Too Far"), The Sea Wolves seems to strive to be faithful to the actual events, and in doing so, ends up being a little slow in the start.
My harshest criticisms of the Sea Wolves are that its cinematography is rather uninspired, and its costumes are a disappointing to the historical enthusiast. Some of the uniforms and civilian clothes appeared to be reproductions in synthetic fabrics not used at the time. Also, as is typical of studio productions, some of the hairstyles were more influenced by contemporary styles than faithful renditions of the styles of the period. The film was shot entirely on location in India, where the authenticity of the sets and extras offer some consolation for the film's other failings.
In summary, The Sea Wolves, while having the makings of two kinds of great war movies-- the entertaining all-star blockbuster and the ultra-accurate historical epic-- but fails to fully deliver either. Still, a good story and competent acting make it work a look. In doing a little research on the Web, I was able to locate a book, entitled "Boarding Party: The Last Action of the Calcutta Light Horse." The reviews of the book on Amazon are very promising for both entertainment and history. The film has got me interested, so I'll be sure to read it.
11 of 14 people found this review helpful.
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