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During World War One a British aristocrat, an American entrepreneur and the latter's attractive young daughter, set out to destroy a German battle-cruiser which is awaiting repairs in an inlet just off Zanzibar.
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
Classy film-making -- unlike much of today's stuff!
THE SEA WOLVES is a fabulous adventure, based upon the true story of The Calcutta Light Horse, retired British veterans of the Boer War who are called upon to perform a secret mission in India during World War II. (The main historical source is the book, "Boarding Party," by James Leasor.) A witty, well-structured script by Reginald Rose and solid direction by Andrew V. McLaglen make this a good old-fashioned filmgoing experience. (Both were also responsible, along with producer Euan Lloyd, for the excellent THE WILD GEESE.)
The film moves along well, graced by a distinguished cast: Gregory Peck, Roger Moore, Trevor Howard, Patrick Macnee and, in his last major role, the ever-suave David Niven. You'll cheer for the gallery of British supporting players who, fighting age and seasickness, struggle to get in shape for this "last charge" -- patriots whose desire to serve one more time pulls them away from their comfortable world of polo, cricket, and drinks at the club. They face a worthy adversary in Barbara Kellermann.
Perhaps one may quibble with the uneven quality of Peck's British accent, but his customarily dignified presence makes up for it. Moore is rather Bondish here -- the womanizer of the group -- but ironically, more impressive than in his 007 films. (True Bondophiles will notice several 007 veterans among the crew, including editor John Glen, title artist Maurice Binder, and Matt Monro, who sings the closing theme.)
McLaglen makes excellent use of the Indian locations, mainly Goa and Delhi, as he builds his story to an exciting climax. (The perpetrators of OCTOPUSSY should have taken lessons from this film.) The result is a truly classy adventure, without the high-tech noise and hot air of so many films.
NOTE: The Sea Wolves should have shot those responsible for the dim-witted advertising campaign, reproduced on both the VHS and DVD boxes! It is a MAD Magazine-type caricature which would lead anyone to believe that the film is a slapstick comedy.
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