6.9/10
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14 user 3 critic

The Silver Fleet (1943)

Jaap van Leyden (Sir Ralph Richardson) is in charge of a shipyard in newly occupied Holland. At first he collaborates with the Germans because it is the easiest course to follow. Later, a ... See full summary »

Directors:

Vernon Sewell (as Vernon Campbell Sewell), Gordon Wellesley

Writers:

Vernon Sewell (as Vernon Campbell Sewell), Gordon Wellesley
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ralph Richardson ... Jaap van Leyden
Googie Withers ... Helène van Leyden
Esmond Knight ... von Schiffer
Beresford Egan Beresford Egan ... Krampf
Frederick Burtwell Frederick Burtwell ... Captain Müller
Kathleen Byron ... Schoolmistress
Willem Akkerman ... Willem van Leyden
Dorothy Gordon ... Janni Peters
Charles Victor Charles Victor ... Bastiaan Peters
John Longden ... Jost Meertens
Joss Ambler Joss Ambler ... Cornelis Smit
Margaret Emden Margaret Emden ... Bertha
George Schelderup George Schelderup ... Dirk
Neville Mapp Neville Mapp ... Joop
Ivor Barnard ... Admiral
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Storyline

Jaap van Leyden (Sir Ralph Richardson) is in charge of a shipyard in newly occupied Holland. At first he collaborates with the Germans because it is the easiest course to follow. Later, a child's rhyme reminds him of his patriotic duty, but how best to resist the Nazis without endangering his wife and fellow workers? Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Selected as the First Picture to be Shown at the San Francisco United Nations Conference See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 July 1945 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Srebrna flota See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As Van Leyden leaves his shipyard, the next shot shows him in Queen Mary's Drive, Port Sunlight Village, Merseyside. As this is close to Cammell Laird shipyard which doubled as the Dutch location, the film producers used this location as well. See more »

Quotes

Jaap van Leyden: The truth is that a Nation will only live as long as it has people ready to die.
[spoken and diary entry]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: "I know death hath ten thousand several doors

For men to take their exits". See more »

Soundtracks

Piet Hein's Name Is Short
(uncredited)
Lyrics by Jan Pieter Heije
English Lyrics by Tommie Connor
Music by Johannes Viotta
Arranged by Allan Gray
Sung by the teacher and the students in the school
See more »

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User Reviews

Obvious but rousing little drama
3 February 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

During World War II, Holland is occupied by the Nazi's and the populace splits between those who accept, those who actively resist and those who actively assist - called `quizlings'. One such quizling is naval engineer Jaap van Leyden, who the Nazis use to help build U-Boats. However the efforts of the Germany navy are hampered by the underground resistance, led by the mysterious and unseen Piet Hein.

This film suggests a mystery but, if you haven't guessed the identity of the mysterious Piet Hein within 2 minutes of the film starting then you sir, are a monkey undeserving of a banana! However, given that the film then reveals the identity past the very obvious clues, then this isn't too much of a problem. What the film then becomes is quite a good tale of heroism in the face of the Germans, and of sacrifice and personal strength.

While it is a difficult film with no very easy heroism to get behind - van Leyden is a different character for a piece of propaganda, taking the difficult line of being a double. While the film is a slow starter it does get to quite a heroic level towards the end and makes it's point without fireworks or excessive drum beating. In fact the climax is one of quiet strength rather than action - it suits the film and is quite served considering the films of the time.

Richardson does very well with his role. He is a little dry at the start but once his character becomes clearer then he gets better. I had just watched Shine when I watched this film and it was a surprise to find myself watching a Googie Withers double bill! She is good too, although I would have liked to see her struggle more obviously when doors were closed. The support cast of Germans are good - not too nasty to be caricatures but not likeable enough for us to feel pity for what had to be done. The cast of Dutch (or English rather!) are all OK but none really stand out.

Overall this is quite a low key and obvious film but it no less enjoyable for it. For a propaganda movie made in wartime it is surprisingly restrained and measured and has a quite touching climax of stiff upper lip-ness! Not quite as rousing as many of it's genre but different enough to be worth seeing.


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