In Which We Serve Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ November 4, 2013
A call to arms for young men unsure about their participation in the war effort which borders on propaganda but it is nonetheless uplifting enough to rally the troops. An epic within an epic conflict.
Super Reviewer
December 28, 2013
A lot of the film is standard wartime propaganda stuff, however Coward's screenplay still manages to find moments of serious humanity in the central characters.
Super Reviewer
½ June 13, 2013
Fun fact: In Which we Serve used condoms as bullets.
This war film directed by David Lean and partner Noel Coward had a lot of cool moments and ideas. If you watch this I'd recommend the Criterion edition as it holds some enlightening interviews. This isn't a great eerie war film and is a bit dated. This patriotic effort would probably be a joy for me if I was a Brit, but I don't have that kind of enthusiasm of British patriotism. This film uses the 40s cliche of flashbacks, but it makes the movie better than it'd would be. I'm didn't like Noel Coward as a ship captain as he didn't feel serious or strict enough. I suggest this if one is looking for a spirited war movie.
Super Reviewer
½ April 3, 2009
A good British war film about a stranded crew of a British Destroyer on a life raft. The whole film is told in flashbacks and that is what I think hurts the film. It was original then, but it takes you out of the story almost every time it happens. Coward's screenplay is great and all of the characters are strong. David Lean helps him with the direction, which makes it look good and really helps the acting. Entertaing film all around, but I wish it was set up a little different without the all of the flashbacks.
August 20, 2009
One of the finest World War II dramas, a superb cast, excellent direction and score. Very moving story. It can be a bit schmaltzy, but then again, it was made at the peak of the war. Exceptional in every aspect.
March 16, 2015
A very respectful wartime based drama featuring Noel Coward playing one of the most classy navy captains in cinema history. I've never really been a huge fan warship/submarine based films as they always seem to have such limited scope, but this is still a very well made film with a few famous up and coming young faces added into the mix, a fair share of action, and is still as watchable now as it was all those years ago. The plot is flash-back heavy as it cuts back and forth giving more insight into the men involved as well as their life before their service on board the almost worshipped destroyer Torrin. This is by all accounts is a propaganda piece, but as far as films of that nature go this is one of the very best.
½ October 14, 2014
Starting the Criterion Collection David Lean Directs Noel Coward boxed set, this British propaganda film was a joy to watch. Sir Noel Coward's many contributions were outstanding and it's clear from this beginning that Sir David Lean would be a great director. Lately in trying to understand the brutality of World War II, I have been watching propaganda films from many countries, including Germany, France and the United States, but this is one of the best.
December 31, 2012
How fascinating that this 1942 "propaganda" movie is long on humanity and teamwork and incredibly short on triumphalism and jingoism. Perhaps reflecting the reality of the war at that stage. Really excellent
½ December 24, 2012
¿Una película? o ¿Propaganda para la guerra?. Al parecer las dos, ya que el maestro David Lean, logra conjugar en su primer trabajo como director una obra acerca de un barco que llevababo tripulación británica y de como ellos sobrevieron (No todos), a ese desastre. El film cimentaba muchos elementos que Lean iba a explotar en futuros trabajos con resultados magistrales, habiendo dicho esto, no quiere decir que este film no es bueno, de hecho es un excelente película, cruda y dura sobre la segunda guerra mundial (Posiblemente una de las mejores representaciones de la guerra en el cine), donde el maestro nos demuestra su capacidad para emocionar, desgarrar al espectador y reir, todo conjugado de una manera esplendida. Posiblemente el mejor film de propaganda que se ha hecho. Un film que vió nacer a uno de los directores mas queridos que ha dado el cine.
April 1, 2012
An interesting British war film. Made around the time of World War II classics like Sergeant York, Casablanca, Mrs. Miniver, and Since You Went Away, this was the British take on World War II. Directed by David Lean (famous for creating Lawrence of Arabia), a great British war film.
½ May 3, 2012
For my review of this, "This Happy Breed," and "Blithe Spirit," check out my review of Blithe Spirit :)
½ January 6, 2012
In Which We Serve is an excellent film that shows honor and loyalty. It is about the British destroyer HMS Torrin that is told by the survivors through flashbacks on a raft. Noel Coward and Michael Wilding give incredible performances. The screenplay is well written. Coward and David Lean did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the drama. In Which We Serve is a must see.
½ January 9, 2010
A World War II propaganda film that actually holds up...nearly 70 years later. A genuinely moving film telling the story of a British ship and its crew in the survivors cling to a life raft. Focuses specifically on the captain, played by Noel Coward (who also produced, wrote and co-directed the film with David Lean) and two of his shipmates...played by John Mills and Bernard Miles. With the exception of his two speeches to the crew, at the beginning and the end of the film, Coward's portrayal is rather wooden. His flashback scenes are definitely the weakest of the three. Mills and Miles' characters you grow to like almost immediately...along with their families. You truly care about them as they deal with triumph and hardships. Although the film was made first and foremost to rally support for the British at wartime, it has heart. Perhaps that is part of why it holds up better today than Mrs. Miniver...the Best Picture winner from 1942. Both films were made with the same purpose...but the heartbreaking moments of "In Which We Serve" hit you straight in the solar-plexus and you grieve for the characters...more so than in Miniver.

The battle scenes are impressive to watch...a mix of actual footage and miniature work. At times, some of these scenes go on rather long though. However, what makes this film are the flashbacks and the two speeches by Coward's character that bookend the movie. Also of note, a young Richard Attenborough playing a sailor who has deserted his post in battle. He only has a couple of lines, but his facial expressions and eyes show the inner torment his character is coping with.

It's too bad the movie didn't come a little earlier. It may indeed have won the Oscar for Best Picture of 1942 over Mrs Miniver. However, this film qualified for the 1943 Oscars. It was nominated for Best Picture, but had the unenviable task of going up against Casablanca!
June 6, 2007
One of the finest World War II dramas, a superb cast, excellent direction and score. Very moving story. It can be a bit schmaltzy, but then again, it was made at the peak of the war. Exceptional in every aspect.
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