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The Sea Wolves (1980) Poster

Trivia

The last feature film of Jack Watson.
As indicated in both the film's story and in the real life mission, no medals nor awards nor commendations were issued by the British Government for the successful raid on Goa. James Leasor's book 'Boarding Party' states: "The authorities kept faith with the Light Horse over one particular promise. They would have no credit for what they volunteered to do, and there would be no medals. So closely was this last pledge adhered to that the men who had willingly risked their lives and careers, at their own expense,, to carry out a task which produced unparalleled benefits, were categorically refused the right to wear one of Britain's humbler issue medals of the Second World War, the 1939-45 Star."
Some magazines and newspapers mistakenly announced this production as the new James Bond film because of Roger Moore being in it.
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Charlton Heston had talks to play the lead.
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The movie was dedicated to Lord Louis Mountbatten following his assassination by the IRA. The film's dedication reads: "This film is dedicated to the memory of the last Honorary Colonel of the Calcutta Light Horse - Admiral of the Fleet, The Earl Mountbatten of Burma, K.G. 1900 - 1979." According to Australian movie magazine 'Movie News', Mountbatten "helped with the preparations for the film version before his tragic death. 'The Last Charge of the Calcutta Light Horse' actually took place just before Mountbatten arrived in India in 1943 as Supreme Allied Commander in South-East Asia". Mountbatten wrote the foreword to James Leasor's book 'Boarding Party', of which this film is based. The foreword stated " . . . I immediately saw how valuable were the results of this operation. I am pleased that at last credit may be given to those who planned and carried it out."
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The music score was composed by Roy Budd, who also used a new arrangement based on Richard Addinsell's Warsaw Concerto for the romantic scenes.
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The movie's closing epilogue states: "During the first 11 days of March 1943, U-boats sank 12 Allied ships in the Indian Ocean. After the Light Horse raid on Goa, only one ship was lost in the remainder of that month."
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The film's closing credits pay tribute to Commander B.S. Davies R.N., "...whose skill and courage at the helm of the 'Phoebe' contributed so much to the success of the mission" [as depicted in this film]. Davies was an Assistant Conservator at the Port Commissioners of Calcutta, India.
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This movie's closing credits state the "End titles [feature] pictures of the burning of Ehrentels, Drachenfels and Braunfels (March 10, 1943)."
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This movie marked a reunion for a number of the cast and crew who had previously worked together on The Wild Geese (1978). This included producer Euan Lloyd; actors Roger Moore and Kenneth Griffith, director Andrew V. McLaglen; production designer Syd Cain; screen-writer Reginald Rose; and music composer Roy Budd.
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Many of the lead cast were quite old to be appearing in an action film. Gregory Peck was 64 ; Trevor Howard was 67 ; whilst David Niven was 70. Their ages were reflective though of the movie's unique story
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This movie featured a long subtitle to its main title The Sea Wolves (1980), it being "The Last Charge of the Calcutta Light Horse". This movie's source novel, 'Boarding Party', also had a long subtitle to its book title, it being "The Last Action of the Calcutta Light Horse".
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This movie was filmed in India, Germany and Pinewood Studios as was coincidentally the later James Bond movie, Octopussy (1983). A number of the cast and crew worked on both movies including star Roger Moore, editor/director John Glen, stunt-men George Leech, Martin Grace, and Bob Simmons and titles designer Maurice Binder.
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This movie is set in 1943. The real Calcutta Light Horse disbanded a few years later around 1946 - 1947 when India gained its independence.
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The occupations of the real Calcutta Light Horse who partook in the raid on Goa included civilian businessmen, bankers, merchants, insurance agents, part-time soldiers, jute merchants, lawyers, accountants, and solicitors.
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The Australian video-cassette sleeve notes state: "Such was the secrecy surrounding events which are now depicted in "The Sea Wolves" that it was only in 1978 [two years before this movie was made] that the facts about this carefully guarded operation could be made public following the lifting of restrictions under the [British] Official Secrets Act" whilst the Australian DVD sleeve notes say this movie is the " . . . retelling of true wartime exploits hidden until the 1978 British Official Secrets Act lifted security restrictions."
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This movie represents the re-teaming of stars Gregory Peck and David Niven who had star-teamed together in the classic Alistair MacLean World War II action-adventure movie, The Guns of Navarone (1961) twenty years prior to this film.
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This movie's closing credits state this movie's "End title[s] [feature black-and-white photo] pictures of the burning of [the three German Nazi ships] 'Ehrenfels', 'Drachenfels' and 'Braunfels' ([on] March 10, 1943) and their salvage eight years later [in 1951]."
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Roger Moore's character in this movie, Captain Gavin Stewart, connects somewhat with his James Bond persona. Stewart is involved as a spy in espionage activities, liaises romantically with a female spy, is seen in a tuxedo, gambles at a casino and is consistently suave and debonair. Moore made this movie between making the James Bond movies Moonraker (1979) and For Your Eyes Only (1981).
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The lead character, Colonel Lewis Pugh, was played by Gregory Peck in this movie. The real Lewis Pugh, credited as Major-General Lewis Pugh, CB, CBE, DSO, JP in this movie's closing credits, actually acted as this movie's chief military technical advisor.
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The code-name for the actual 1943 raid on Goa was Operation Boarding Party. Boarding Party is the name of the James Leasor novel to which this film is based.
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Four actual German survivors of the raid on Goa by the Hopper Barge "Phoebe" acted as advisors on this movie.
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The actual Second World War mission to raid Goa didn't just involved the Calcutta Light Horse unit. It also involved some members of the "Calcutta Scottish", a Scottish volunteer infantry regiment of the British Indian Army. Operation Boarding Party utilized fourteen men from the Calcutta Light Horse and four men from the Calcutta Scottish.
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The Boarding Party Operation raid on Goa remained a British Government secret for thirty-five years, from 1943 until 1978.
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Operation Boarding Party was a covert operation set-up by the SOE (Special Operations Executive) in India and was commanded by Lewis Pugh and Gavin Stewart who are played under those real names in the film by Gregory Peck and Roger Moore respectively.
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In this movie, the saboteurs steal the barge 'Phoebe' but in the real life operation the vessel was hired.
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This movie is a partially fictionalized account of the 1943 covert mission to raid enemy ships at Goa.
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Originally the cast was to be a reunited Richard Burton, Roger Moore and 'Richard Harris' (I) formerly of The Wild Geese (1978), also by Euan Lloyd and Andrew V. McLaglen, with Burton playing the role of Lewis Pugh, which eventually went to Gregory Peck and Harris playing Bill Grice, which 'David Niven' played. However, it was felt Harris was too young and Burton eventually refused (something he later allegedly regretted) Harris was still an option however, but was eventually vetoed by Peck, who wanted old The Guns of Navarone (1961) co-star David Niven on board.
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The last of four films that Andrew V. McLaglen directed Jack Watson in.
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Glyn Houston says in his memoirs he was cast after the producer saw him in a Shoestring playing a Army Type.
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Third of four movies that actors David Niven and Roger Moore both worked on. The other films include The King's Thief (1955), Escape to Athena (1979) and Curse of the Pink Panther (1983), though in the latter the pair share no scenes together.
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