|The Sea Shall Not Have Them|
VHS movie cover
|Directed by||Lewis Gilbert|
|Produced by||Daniel M. Angel|
|Written by||Lewis Gilbert|
|Music by||Malcolm Arnold|
|Edited by||Russell Lloyd|
|Distributed by||Eros Films (UK)|
United Artists (USA)
|30 November 1954|
The Sea Shall Not Have Them is a 1954 British war film starring Michael Redgrave, Dirk Bogarde and Anthony Steel. It was directed by Lewis Gilbert and is based on the 1953 novel by John Harris, about a North Sea rescue during the Second World War. The musical soundtrack is by composer Malcolm Arnold.
It is the autumn of 1944. Allied armies are sweeping through France towards Germany. A British Lockheed Hudson has been damaged in aerial combat with a German Messerschmitt, with both aircraft ditching in the North Sea, twenty miles off the Dutch coast. The four crew from the British aircraft are unable to send a complete mayday alert, although a signal fragment reaches England. Among them is Air Commodore Waltby (Michael Redgrave) who has a briefcase containing secret German plans related to rocketry. Flight Sergeant Mackay (Dirk Bogarde) assumes a leading role in the rescue dinghy, tying everyone together to prevent anyone falling overboard, and sharing his boots with the pilot despite the cold. As the weather closes in and a freezing cold night descends, aircraft suspend their search, leaving the now waterlogged dinghy to face the sea alone. Cryptically, Waltby orders the crew members that if he dies, they must get the briefcase to London or throw it overboard should they face capture.
An RAF Air Sea Rescue sea launch is deployed to the search. Commanded by Flying Officer Treherne (Anthony Steel), Launch 2561, or "Sixty One" in radio signals, struggles against the bad weather, mechanical problems and a fire in the galley. Second in command, Flight Sergeant Singsby (Nigel Patrick) dominates the crew, playing a benevolent but demanding hand with the questionable seamanship of junior ranks. On the second day, updated intelligence about the dinghy's likely location is received from the downed German Messerschmitt pilot, who the RAF has since rescued. RAF Air Sea Rescue is now aware the dinghy has drifted inshore, far from its ditching point. As the weather clears, "Sixty One" sights the dinghy and approaches for rescue, negotiating fire from enemy shore batteries and a mine field. Launch 2561 safely returns to England where the briefcase with secret documents is delivered. An injured Flying Officer Treherne and Flight Sergeant Mackay are applauded by senior officers.
- Michael Redgrave as Air Commodore Waltby
- Dirk Bogarde as Flight Sergeant Mackay
- Anthony Steel as Flying Officer Treherne
- Nigel Patrick as Flight Sergeant Singsby
- Bonar Colleano as Sergeant Kirby
- James Kenney as Corporal Skinner
- Sydney Tafler as Corporal Robb
- Griffith Jones as Group Captain Todd
- Jack Watling as Flying Officer Harding
- Guy Middleton as Squadron Leader Scott
- Ian Whittaker as A.C.2 Milliken
- Paul Carpenter as Lt. Patrick Boyle, Sea Otter Pilot
- George Rose as Tebbitt
- Victor Maddern as Gus Westover
- Eddie Byrne as Petty Officer Porter
- Anton Diffring as German Pilot
- Gudrun Ure as Kirby's Fiancee
- Rachel Kempson as Mrs. Waltby
- Joan Sims as Hilda Tebbitt
- Michael Balfour as Dray
- Nigel Green as Met. Officer Howard
- Glyn Houston as Knox
- Moultrie Kelsall as Wing Commander Dixon
- Jack Lambert as Squadron Leader Craig
- Michael Ripper as Botterhill
In August 1953 it was announced both Rank and ABPC were competing for the film rights which were expected to go for $20,000.
Producer Dan Angel arranged one of the strongest male casts of the era. It was one of a number of sea-related themes made in Britain following the success of The Cruel Sea. It was one of a number of war movies Anthony Steel made where he was in support of an older British star.
There were six weeks filming on location at Felixstowe followed by studio work at Riverside.
Variety said the film "has several basic ingredients of a boxoffice success; tough but believable plot, a cast too big for the average theatre marquee and exciting action sequences in the climax when the missing air crew is picked up with- in range of enemy shore batteries."
The film performed poorly at the US box office, like most British war movies of this era.
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- "The News BOOK REVIEWS". News. 61, (9, 406). South Australia. 2 October 1953. p. 19. Retrieved 22 September 2020 – via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
- All English Letter on Books and Then Authors By V. S. PRITCHETTLONDON. New York Times 13 Sep 1953: BR18.
- "London Film Notes". Variety. 5 August 1953. p. 15.
- "PRODUCER'S SUCCESS STORY". The Sun (13760). New South Wales, Australia. 18 March 1954. p. 46 (LATE FINAL EXTRA). Retrieved 22 September 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
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- Vagg, Stephen (23 September 2020). "The Emasculation of Anthony Steel: A Cold Streak Saga". Filmink.
- "Special Effects Rule the Waves at Riverside". Kine Wekly. 13 May 1954. p. 22.
- The Guardian: Sexy self-image that revved up Dirk Bogarde
- A. H. Weiler (13 June 1954). "By Way of Report: Disney Cameramen to Go to Far Places For New Nature Studies -- Addenda". The New York Times.
- Review of film at Variety
- "British War Themes Disappoint". Variety. 8 August 1956. p. 7.