This is a pretty good story of the hunt for the Bismark, the largest German battleship of WW2. I don't know if everything is absolutely true, but it must be pretty close! It's a good story, presented much like a documentary, but also including details of the lives of the men and women involved.
There is some action, but remember this is an old movie, don't expect today's dazzling SF!
A must see if you are interested in WW2.
on June 1, 2004
This fine film, made in 1960, does a fine job of re-creating the events surrounding the search for and eventual destruction of the pride of the German navy: the Bismarck. Veteran British actor Kenneth More stars as Captain Jonathan Shepard, a new officer who gets placed in charge of the hunt for the Bismarck in Britain's Naval Operations center. Shepard has a personal stake in seeing the Bismarck sunk. Bismarck's commander, Admiral Gunter Lutjens, played by Karel Stepanek, sunk Shepard's vessel earlier in the war. Dana Wynter stars as 2nd officer Anne Davis, an assistant to Capt. Shepard. A fictional implied but never shown romance develops between Shepard and Davis throughout the course of the film. Carl Mohner stars as Bismarck's Captain Lindemann.
The battle scenes are excellent. One must remember when viewing this film that the special effects are from the 1960's, but that does nothing to detract from the excitement of the ship-to-ship combat scenes. The fight between the HMS Hood and Bismarck is the high point of the film. It was exciting to see the ships being straddled by the other's shells, and seeing the Hood blow up was especially thrilling.
The historical correctness of the film was excellent except for a few minor details. For example, during the attack on the Bismarck by the British Swordfish torpedo planes, the movie shows two being destroyed when in reality none were lost. Also, the movie depicts a British destroyer being sunk by Bismarck. This is also incorrect as the Hood was the only British loss. Finally, the movie depicts Admiral Lutjens as being a staunt supporter of the Nazi party. This is also false. Lutjens was against Naziism, and refused to give the Nazi salute, instead preferring to use the old German navy salute. The movie also depicted a rather close relationship between Lutjens and Lindemann. This was also not the case. In reality, the two German commanders disagreed on many topics, and at one point during the heat of battle, Lindemann said to Lutjens that he refused to sit by while his ship was shot out from underneath him. Aside from these points, the historical aspect of the movie is very well done.
I highly recommend this film. The acting is excellent and the battle scenes will keep you on the edge of your seat. Watch this great movie and experience the hunt for the most feared ship in the German navy.
on January 13, 2004
This was a very-good effort, pretty-convincing special effects, good script, looks right, feels right, sounds right, but does divert from authentic fact in some regards to sex it up a little. Moores character is fictional, as final credits admit.
Script sounds right, and may delight both British and non-British viewers:
Suffolk /Norfolk shadowing cruisers Jack Tarr crewmen:
'Oy,you know, we might as well throw crumpets at the Bismarck for all the good our little guns would do!
Crewman 2 'I wish someone would throw a bleedin' crumpet at me!
The destroyer 'Solent' destroyed by a salvo from the Bismarck after the Captain beautifully-Britishly declares
' NOW WE'RE FOR IT!'
as a searchlight clicks onto the sneaky brave little British -ship trying to angle for a night-torpedo attack, never existed. Vians tribal destroyer-flotilla 2 and a Polish-destroyer 'Paiun' did attempt a night attack in heavy seas the night before Bismarcks destruction, but despite considerable gunfire exchanged with the rudder-crippled Nazi collossus, neither Bismarck nor its small tormentors suffered much damage, let alone sudden shattering obliteration like this imaginary 'Solent'.
And as the final-scene suggests, despite all the invincible unsinkable ballyhoo, Bismarck was silenced relatively quickly by two British heavy ships. Then saturated by torpedos from destroyers and cruisers once silenced, this was thought to have been the reason it was finished-off, but strong evidence now suggests the surviving German crews scuttled the blazing listing hulk, rather than risk its capture as a trophy- not a practical possiblity for the British force assailing it, as it now turns out.They were low on fuel, apprehensive of U-boats, just coming into range of the Luftwaffe, and were inclined to 'bounce' as soon as Bismarck was done for, not take 45 000 tons of admittedly good German scrap-metal under tow.
For the war-bird buffs, the 2 'Swordfish' attacks are actually rather fabulous, look absolutely great from all camera-angles, including plumetting torpedoes. Once again the film sexes up the truth, showing 1 or 2 Swordfish blown to pieces by flak in each attack, miraculously, no 'Stringbags' were shot down in either attack, one suffered a near-miss flak-burst and the crew wounded by splinters but survived.( Its thought the normally excellent German gunners missed and missed because they couldnt judge the speed of the 100 mph WW1-performance biplanes.)
But this is a good one, and I can recommend without reservation, it stands-up and impresses easily today.Certainly its worth 5 or 10 'U571s' or 'Pearl Harbors'....
If you want to read the factual story of Bismarck , its hunting and sinking, out of the several books Ive read, I would glowingly endorse 'Pursuit', by Ludovic Kennedy, for this is a great unput-downable sea-story in its own right, 'Pursuit' would be available on Amazon,probably cheap 2nd hand H/C, and you wouldnt regret its purchase, trust me.