The Cruel Sea
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Nicholas Monsarrat's novel is an unflinching, realistic and emotionally involving account of naval life during the Second World War in which the "heroes" are the men, the "heroines" the ships and the "villain" is not so much the German U-Boats lurking below as "the cruel sea" itself. This 1953 film has become a classic of British cinema largely because it is a straightforward, no-frills adaptation of the book and retain's much of the original's compelling yet almost understated dramatic focus. On convoy duty in the North Atlantic, the crew of HMS Compass Rose face as a matter of routine the threat of destruction from U-Boats as well as a constant struggle against the elements. The convoys themselves are Britain's only lifeline and their loss would lead to certain defeat, but in the early years of the war the ships sent to protect them can do almost nothing to prevent the U-Boat attacks. Jack Hawkins gives one of his finest performances as Captain Ericson, the commander who has to balance destroying the enemy against saving the lives of the men under his care. In one unforgettable scene--a crucial turning point for all the characters--he must decide whether to depth charge a suspected submarine despite the presence of British sailors in the water. As with the book, the individual officers and their lives are carefully delineated, helped by the strength of a cast of (then) young actors (notably Donald Sinden and Denholm Elliot). Ultimately what makes The Cruel Sea such an undeniable classic is that it has neither the flag-waving jingoism nor the war-is-hell melodrama so common to most war movies: instead it relates in an almost matter-of-fact way the bitterness of the conflict at sea fought by ordinary men placed in the most extraordinary of circumstances. --Mark Walker
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Top Customer Reviews
"The Cruel Sea", based on the famous Nicholas Monsarrat novel of the same title, lend its story beautifully to the stark contrasts and subtle mid-tones of black and white film (you don't get all those mid-tones of grey in color film). The story is grippingly personal, tragic and redeeming, gradually and painfully building the intense bond of camaraderie that seems to be particularly strong among navy people - probably because the sea can be the loneliest and most unforgiving place on earth (hence the title). Recalling the names Compass Rose and Saltash Castle, you'll taste the freezing brine of the North Atlantic, smell the mix of diesel fuel, blood and cordite, and hear the cries of your mates drowning in your wake. The real deal in black and white.
Most recent customer reviews
A great movie. My Blu-ray players won't play it, but my desktop will.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I enjoy Maritime war stories,The only Corvette left to my knowledge is located In Halifax N.S. Canada HMCS Sackville.
So this was of special interest.
Without realizing it, I received the DVD for The Cruel Sea which was produced for Region 2 and thus will not play on my computer or TV. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Dr.James A. Thomson
I have it on tape & it will put away safe. Great DVD, great classic!Published 5 months ago by Old One 49
I got stiffed like a number of others when I discover the DVD was region 2 and was unable to play it on my DVD. Read morePublished 6 months ago by J. Thompson
Over the years I have watched this movie many times on TV. The DVD is very clear and easy to see and hear. It also arrived on time.Published 6 months ago by MN9130