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Sink the Bismarck! (1960) Poster

Trivia

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Esmond Knight (Captain John Leech - H.M.S. Prince of Wales) actually served as an officer on-board H.M.S. Prince of Wales and was injured during the battle.
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To help give this movie a sense of dignity and seriousness, Edward R. Murrow was added to the cast. Murrow was one of the most famous and respected correspondents during (and after) World War II, during which he covered the war raging in Europe, including the North Atlantic. Murrow also shot introductory footage for this movie's trailer.
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Contrary to a previous trivia item implying that the British failed to carry out rescue operations. After the sinking of the Bismack, H.M.S. Devonshire and H.M.S. Maori rescued one hundred eleven German sailors from the sea, (one of whom later died of his injuries), before having to leave the area due to reports of a German U-Boat nearby, as they would have been stationary while getting the survivors aboard and therefore sitting ducks for any torpedo attack. In fact, some of the survivors praised one British Midshipman for trying help a German who had lost both of his arms in the action.
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Producer John Brabourne knew that the use of miniatures and explosions would have to look very realistic to be successful. They hired Howard Lydecker, one of the legendary Lydecker brothers, the other was Theodore Lydecker, who were generally considered to be the best special effects team in the industry. They had spent decades perfecting their craft at Republic Pictures.
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The opening shows actual newsreel footage of the Bismarck when it was launched in Hamburg, Germany, in 1939.
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Kenneth More was offered The Guns of Navarone (1961) because of his work in this movie. However he lost the part due to his drunken behavior at an awards ceremony.
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The closing epilogue states: "This film was based upon actual operations against the German battleship, Bismarck. Grateful acknowledgment is made to the Admiralty for their most generous help, advice, and co-operation. The character called Captain Shepard is completely fictitious and is in no way intended to depict Captain R.A.B. Edwards (now Admiral Sir Ralph Edwards, K.C.B., C.B.E.) who was the actual Director of Operations at the time of the Bismarck engagement."
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According to Special Effects Cinematographer L.B. Abbott, the miniatures were photographed with spherical (non-anamorphic) lenses. This made it easier to force the perspective of the image to make the miniatures appear bigger and further apart. The conversion of the spherical footage to CinemaScope required the use of an optical printer with an anamorphic lens. This method of shooting with spherical lenses, yet converting the footage to anamorphic, is now commonly used, and is called "Super 35".
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Most of the external shots of the battleships were reported to have been shot on-board H.M.S. Vanguard (the last British battleship in service).
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The scene where the navigation bridge of H.M.S. Prince of Wales takes a direct hit is based on accounts from the real battle. A small tube connected the bridge to the plotting room directly beneath it. Although the limitations of black-and-white film make it look like some sort of machine oil is dripping onto the plotting table from the tube, in the actual battle it was blood from the many casualties on the bridge.
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As Germany had so few natural resources they had to be very careful in what they used raw materials on. It has been alleged that Germany's fascination with building large ships greatly hindered war production. Examples cited include the construction of the Bismarck and other ships relative to how many U-Boats could have been built from the same raw materials.
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Bernard Lee (Firing Officer) played James Bond's superior M in the first eleven Bond movies from Dr. No (1962) to Moonraker (1979), and Robert Brown (Gunnery Officer on "King George V") succeeded him in the role in Octopussy (1983), A View to a Kill (1985), The Living Daylights (1987), and License to Kill (1989).
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The movie utilized actual battle footage.
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Prior to the release of this movie, a song of the same title sung by Johnny Horton was released in the United States to promote this movie. This song never appears in the actual movie. Excerpts from the song were used in the U.S. trailer.
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In the final battle Bismarck was alone against 13 Allied ships - an aircraft carrier, two battleships, three cruisers and seven destroyers.
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The sinking of Bismarck was widely overshadowed by the Fall of Crete.
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Tommy Byers, a sailor on the British battleship Rodney, maintained until he died in 2004 that Bismarck hoisted a black flag - the naval sign calling for parley. He and a second seaman also saw a Morse code flash, which they interpreted as surrender, along with a man waving semaphore flags conveying the same message. Royal Navy officers were made aware of the signs but were determined to follow Winston Churchill's order to "sink the Bismarck". Had the Bismarck been captured, the lives of hundreds of Germans could have been saved. The ship would also have been a prized catch, giving Navy engineers an insight into the design of Bismarck's sister ship, Tirpitz.
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Dana Wynter (Second Officer Anne Davis) was born in Berlin as Dagmar Winter.
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Kenneth More, Laurence Naismith, Russell Napier and Michael Goodliffe appeared in another movie about the sinking of a famous ship, R.M.S. Titanic, in A Night to Remember (1958).
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When HMS Sheffield is mistaken for the Bismarck and accidentally attacked by the British, a close up of the Captain (John Horsley) appears to show him muttering (but unheard) "F***ing B*****ds"!
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This was one of the features that reversed 20th Century Fox's policy that all CinemaScope credited features would be in color.
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The last successful film with Kenneth More in a major role.
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Bismarck was scuttled by its crew in the final battle.
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British films about World War II had generally performed less well at the box office after the United States bankrupted the UK in November 1956, although this film was still popular.
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Average Shot Length (ASL) = 7 seconds
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The sinking of the Bismarck, as well as the alleged British failure to rescue survivors, has been called a war crime. However, the British "failure to rescue survivors" has been widely debunked by factual historical reports.
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Uncredited theatrical movie debut of Peter Cellier (First Lieutenant on Destroyers).
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Unusually, although copyright dated 1960, the British Board of Film Censors passed the film with a "U" certificate on 18 November 1959. The London (and world) premiere on 11 February 1960 was held at the Odeon, Leicester Square, where it ran seven weeks before transferring to the Rialto for a further nine weeks, finally closing in the West End on 1 June 1960. The general release at normal prices was from 3 April 1960.
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Bismarck was sailing back to port and its crew tried to surrender, making its sinking a possible war crime.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Of the one thousand four hundred eighteen crew of H.M.S. Hood, only three survived.
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