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Tense RN B/W epic -classic
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.