6.9/10
385
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
Edit

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:

DANGERS OF DEVOTION! to a woman DISGRACE! to a man DISHONOR! 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

This opening prologue is a quotation from writer John Webster (1580?-1634) from his play The Duchess of Malfi, Act IV, Scene 2. It states: "I know death hath ten thousand several doors. For men to take their exits." 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

 
" ....Piet Hein, Piet Hein, your name will always shine...."
16 January 2019 | by Brucey_DSee all my reviews

Dutchman Van Leyden (Richardson) knows his shipyard will be used by the Germans whether he like it or not, so chooses to play a dangerous double game, ostensibly playing along with the Germans -earning the ire of his countrymen who think he is a Quisling- whilst anonymously organising acts of sabotage under the name 'Piet Hein' -a historic Dutch naval hero.

Powell and Pressburger's film was made as war propaganda and it shows; however it is both a good film in its own right and it portrays the Germans in a less bad light than was originally intended.

The script is credited to Sewell and Wellesley, but the first draft was written by Emeric Pressburger, who had been forced out of Germany by the Nazis and had first hand experience of what they were like. He originally wrote it not only with threats of Nazi reprisals, but reprisals on civilians made real. He refused to have his name put to the script once these had been edited out by Sewell.

The story is inspired by real events; Dutch dockyard workers did hijack a Nazi submarine during WWII. Much of the film was shot at Denham studios, with dockyard scenes in Dundee and some street scenes in King's Lynn. Oddly enough parts of King's Lynn were built with Dutch-made bricks and tiles (they were brought back as ballast by ships exporting wool from East Anglia) so the resemblance to Dutch streets is more than coincidental.

It would have been easy to make every part in this film a mere caricature (as many are) but Richardson's role is much more nuanced than that. Nothing of course could do justice to the many selfless acts carried out by partisans during WWII but this does more than make a token gesture in that direction.

Overall this probably isn't one of P&P's best films but that certainly doesn't make it a bad film in absolute terms; it is a lofty canon. For what it was and when it was made it gets eight out of ten from me.


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