VCI Entertainment and The Rank Collection presents "THE SILVER FLEET" (1943) (88 min/B&W) -- Starring: Ralph Richardson, Googie Withers, Esmond Knight, Beresford Egan, Frederick Burtwell, Kathleen Byron, Willem Akkerman, Dorothy Gordon, Charles Victor, John Longden
Directed by: Vernon Campbell Sewell & Gordon Wellesley
(VCI's slant on the synopsis)
Set during the occupation of Holland during World War II, Ralph Richardson, in a very charismatic role, stars as the owner of a Dutch shipyard who pretends to collaborate with the Nazis in order to protect his wife and fellow workers. Inspired by the memory of the Dutch historical hero Piet Hein, he forms a complicated plan to double cross the Nazis and to sabotage the two submarines he's been ordered to build for them.
The Silver Fleet a lesser known World War II film, but very well done with an excellent cast, great direction and a screenplay that has non-stop scenes loaded with tension. Ralph Richardson gives one of his best performances of his career.
A truly rousing and patriotic WWII film, with an ending that is quite moving. This film has long been under appreciated.
Special footnote: ~ Esmond Knight, who had lost an eye during the war, had not yet regained the use of his remaining eye when he played the role of Von Schiffer. Playing his part completely blind, there is only one scene when the audience can guess Knight's disability. It occurs quite briefly when Knight, about to go through a doorway, is gently steered through the door by a fellow actor.
1. Ralph Richardson
Date of Birth: 19 December 1902 - Tivoli Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, UK
Date of Death: 10 October 1983 - Marylebone, London, England, UK
2. Googie Withers
Date of Birth: 12 March 1917 - Karachi, British India. [now in Pakistan]
Date of Death: 15 July 2011 - Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
3. Esmond Knight
Date of Birth: 4 May 1906 - East Sheen, Surrey, England, UK
Date of Death: 23 February 1987 - London, England, UK
4. Vernon Sewell (Director)
Date of Birth: 4 July 1903 - London, England, UK
Date of Death: 21 June 2001 - Durban, South Africa
5. Gordon Wellesley (Director)
Date of Birth: 8 December 1906 - Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Date of Death: October 1980 - London, England, UK
Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 5 Stars
Performance: 5 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 5 Stars
Overall: 5 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]
Total Time: 88 min on DVD ~ VCI Entertainment ~ (November 15, 2011)