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Western Approaches (1944)

A wartime film, made under the auspices of the Crown Film Unit, served as a tribute to the Merchant Navy. During WWII, they kept the lifeline to America and the Commonwealth open so that ... See full summary »


Pat Jackson


Pat Jackson




Cast overview:
Eric Fullerton Eric Fullerton ... Convoy Commodore
Duncan MacKenzie Duncan MacKenzie ... Convoy Naval Captain (as Captain Duncan MacKenzie)
W. Kerr W. Kerr ... Convoy Naval Captain (as Captain W. Kerr)
Eric Baskeyfield Eric Baskeyfield ... Chief Officer on Leander
Dick Longford Dick Longford ... Wireless Officer on Leander
Bart Wadham Bart Wadham ... Wireless Officer on Leander
H.S. Hills H.S. Hills ... Gunner on Leander (as Chief Petty Officer Hills)
Pat Jackson Pat Jackson ... Gun Crew Officer on Leander
P.J. Pyecraft P.J. Pyecraft ... Lifeboat Captain (as Captain P.J. Pyecraft)
Chief Engineer Russell Chief Engineer Russell ... Lifeboat Chief Engineer
Fred Armistead Fred Armistead ... Lifeboat Steward
Jim Redmond Jim Redmond ... Sparks


A wartime film, made under the auspices of the Crown Film Unit, served as a tribute to the Merchant Navy. During WWII, they kept the lifeline to America and the Commonwealth open so that this little island could fight on. Even as late as 1943/4 when this was made the convoys still provided vital essential supplies as well as the materiel necessary to take the fight into Europe. This film dramatizes the experiences of many merchant seamen. Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

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The Surprise Film of the Year!


Drama | War


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Did You Know?


This film received its earliest documented telecast in USA in both New York City and Baltimore Sunday 2 January 1949 on Film Theater of the Air on WCBS (Channel 2) and on WMAR (Channel 2); in Los Angeles it was first seen by television viewers Thursday 8 September 1949 on KNBH (Channel 4). See more »


Featured in Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (2010) See more »


Composed by Clifton Parker
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User Reviews

Recommended reading "Retake Please Night Mail to Western Approaches" by Pat Jackson
1 September 2008 | by carol-andrewSee all my reviews

Very worthwhile reading Pat Jackson's memoir of his beginnings in film, in "Retake Please - Night Mail to Western Approaches" Conversational style easy to follow, and fascinating to learn how he and his crew achieved what they did, sometime through great hardship. He gives a lot of detail as to how effects were achieved, or not as the case may be. Reading his accounts brings home how ground breaking he was in creating his "documentary" style. Much criticism has been levelled at other war documentarians (EG Frank Hurley, II World war, Antarctic, photographer) for falsifying photos in order to achieve the romance of or horror of what they wanted to convey. It is clear in this memoir that Pat Jackson saw himself as having a "rallying the troops" job to do and he had no qualms using the illusions capable in the film technology of the time to get his message across. The most satisfying aspect of this memoir is his warmth and fondness for the people he met along the way, he often quotes from their first meetings in great detail, particularly the non professional casts he employed in Western Approaches. A wonderful read.

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Netherlands | UK



Release Date:

December 1944 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Battle for the Atlantic: Greyhound vs Wolfpack - Western Approaches See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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