6.9/10
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15 user 3 critic

Battle Hell (1957)

Yangtse Incident: The Story of H.M.S. Amethyst (original title)
Approved | | Drama, History, War | 14 June 1957 (Denmark)
In 1949, during the Chinese Civil War, British warship H.M.S. Amethyst sails up the Yangtse river but on the return trip finds its way blocked by a barrage fire from the Communist Chinese shore batteries.

Director:

Michael Anderson

Writers:

Lawrence Earl (book), Franklin Gollings (idea: and Official Admiralty Records) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Todd ... Lt. Cmdr. Kerans, RN
William Hartnell ... Leading Seaman Frank
Akim Tamiroff ... Col. Peng
Donald Houston ... Lt Weston RN
Keye Luke ... Capt. Kuo Tai
Sophie Stewart Sophie Stewart ... Miss Charlotte Dunlap
Robert Urquhart ... Flt Lt Fearnley RAF
James Kenney ... Lt Hett RN
Richard Leech ... Lt Strain RN
Michael Brill Michael Brill ... Lt Berger RN
Barry Foster ... PO McCarthy RN
Thomas Heathcote Thomas Heathcote ... Mr. Monaghan RN
Sam Kydd ... AB Walker RN
Ewen Solon ... ERA Williams RN
Brian Smith ... Boy Martin
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Storyline

While sailing lawfully up the Yangste river in 1949, the British warship Amethyst found its return to the open sea blocked by Communist Chinese shore batteries that unexpectedly opened fire. In charge, Lieutenant Commander Kerans was not however prepared for his crew and his ship to remain as a hostage for the Chinese to use as an international pawn. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The true story of one of the most daring actions in modern Royal Navy history.

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 June 1957 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Battle Hell See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

HMS Amethyst was brought out of storage to participate in the film. See more »

Goofs

When Lt Cmdr Kerans is approaching the Amythest, he looks at the damage through his binoculars. The Union Flag is upside down. Although flying the Union Flag upside down is a sign of distress, this is probably how it was unfurled at the start of the Action which would have been incorrect. See more »

Crazy Credits

[The film closes with King George VI's words following the incident]: "Please convey to the Commanding Officer and ship's company of H.M.S. Amethyst my hearty congratulations on their daring exploit to rejoin the fleet. The courage, skill and determination shown by all on board have my highest commendation. Splice the mainbrace". George R. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tale of the true exploits of Lieut-Cmdr. J.S. Kerans, D.S.O., R.N. and the crew of H.M.S. Amethyst at the conclusion of the Chinese civil war in 1949.
1 February 2005 | by scotsdominieSee all my reviews

Excellent Black and White movie showing the courage and resourcefulness of the Royal Navy. Richard Todd's portrayal of Lieutenant Commander J.S. Kerans conveys the essence of what a British Naval Officer is, and has been since the time of Nelson.

The only character who is poorly portrayed is the Chinese PLA Colonel, as this part was played by an obviously made up non-Chinese actor, weakening what is otherwise an outstanding film.

The action scenes realistically convey the sense of uncertainty that occurs during a naval engagement in confined waters. The style is a good hybrid of documentary and typical 1950's WW2 movie, which works better than one might think. The use of the tattered "White Ensign" and the RN's song "Hearts of Oak", for the title music give the movie an old fashioned patriotic feel. Furthermore, the signals between the "Amethyst" and the Navy's C-in-C Far East Station, Hong Kong help avoid a tone of mawkishness or propaganda.


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