The Battle of the River Plate (Pursuit of the Graf Spee) (1956)
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as Capt. F.S. Bell "Exe...
as Commodore Harwood
as Capt. Hans Langsdorf...
as Capt. Woodhouse "Aja...
as Capt. Parry "Achille...
as Capt. Patrick Dove "...
as Mike Fowler American...
as Mr. Millington-Drake...
as Capt. McCall British...
as Lieutenant Commander...
as Dr. Langmann German ...
as Mr. Desmoulins Frenc...
as Ray Martin
as Capt. Varela
as Capt. Stubs
as Manola Cantina Manag...
as Dolores Cantina Sing...
as Dr. Guani Uruguayan ...
as Chaplain "Exeter"
as Pilot "Achilles" Bri...
as Madame X
as German Officer
as British Officer aboa...
as British Officer aboa...
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Critic Reviews for The Battle of the River Plate (Pursuit of the Graf Spee)
The battle sequences, in which the lightweight British cruisers close in on the Graf Spee and force the enemy to take shelter in Montevideo harbor, are powerful, exciting and technically impressive.
Give the British filmmakers a good, rousing subject from their own naval history and they're almost certain to come up with a picture that proudly bespeaks the courage and audacity of a hero breed.
Powell and Pressburger's final collaboration as The Archers was also, perhaps, their dullest.
Though it's mostly a waiting game, the film is tense and involving, thanks to Powell's fluid shifting of the point of view.
The film is adroitly directed by Powell and Pressburger, though the concentration is on the vessels, rather than the men aboard them.
Not Powell and Emeric's greatest work, but still a cut above many '50s war movies.
Audience Reviews for The Battle of the River Plate (Pursuit of the Graf Spee)
During the early days of World War II, the Nazis tried to starve Great Britain by targeting its merchant fleet. One of Germany's deadliest weapons was the pocket battleship Graf Spee, where Captain Langsdorff(Peter Finch) welcomes aboard Captain Dove(Bernard Lee) after sinking his ship, the Africa Spell, in disputed waters off Portugese East Africa. Langsdorff soon fulfills his promise that Dove will have company, but not before one of the survivors gets off a radio message before his ship is sunk. So, now Commodore Harwood(Anthony Quayle) has a pretty good idea where the Graf Spee will be, as he waits with the destroyers Ajax, Achilles and Exeter.
Written, directed and produced by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, "The Battle of the River Plate" gets off to a slow start, with minimal cuts, that serves its purpose in setting the stage for the taut action that is to follow. As such, the movie aims to give a realistic portrayl of naval warfare during World War II with the navies in full seek and destroy mode, armed with equal measures of skill and luck. Surprisingly, the characters are rather fond of rules, which get quoted a lot. Instead of dragging the movie down, this actually helps with adding suspense, especially with the ironic ending. As the story is told mostly from the British side, I do wish more time had been given over to Langsdorff as he does seem interesting in an old school sort of way and therefore something of an anomaly.
A below rate sea battle, the first hour or so is even less satisfactory. This is the start of WWII and the Germans are shown quite hospitable, even to the point of a Christmas celebration with the British prisoners held captive. Tough to understand the dialect of the crews.
[img]http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/xvFgWeuFnRg/hqdefault.jpg[/img] British seamen prisoners in their stocking feet
One important fact: The U.S.S. Salem was used to be the German ship, but the U.S. Navy would not permit anything German on board, not even German helmets or the Swastika. So when you see the introductory scenes on board ship, those helmets are American which had to be weird to audiences!
[img]https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRNFUNcIIv2DfuZugS8GE6BDMteq6TCPVX1QRB_NaHatanzBI6Shw[/img] Note the headline lower left
While inspired by a book of a seaman prisoner, the movie does portray the British side of things but also the human side of capture. The acting by the many extras is not too great and the interior shots just shout out STUDIO compared to the ocean going, exterior shot filming seems stock footage.
[img]http://s3.amazonaws.com/auteurs_production/post_images/1340/Plate_2.jpg?1283186119[/img] Powell/Pressburger films are often thought of as being stylized to the point of near-whimsy.
SEE the entire film here, shot in widescreen its a pleasure for youtube viewers:
REVIEWS by those like us:
This film is dripping in classic a list starts, It tells the true story of In the ensuing battle, Exeter was severely damaged and forced to retire; Aj... More
Watchable, But Nothing Special. Movie was a bit flat & slow in places.
1. The Battle of the River Plate only hints at one aspect of the story: the death of Captain Hans Langsdorff, who committed suicide a few days after he scuttled his ship. Langsdorff is shown as subdued and depressed afterwards.
2 The film devotes nearly twenty minutes to the battle, which actually lasted a little more than an hour before becoming a chase into Montevideo (South America).
[img]http://pixhost.me/avaxhome/c8/8f/001d8fc8_medium.jpeg[/img] Scenes like these appear so studio it's rediculous, these guys are on dry land for sure
John Gregson as Captain Frederick "Hookie" Bell, HMS Exeter
Anthony Quayle as Commodore Henry Harwood, HMS Ajax
Ian Hunter as Captain Charles Woodhouse, HMS Ajax
Jack Gwillim as Captain Edward Parry, HMS Achilles
Bernard Lee as Captain Patrick Dove, MS Africa Shell
Peter Finch as Captain Hans Langsdorff, Admiral Graf Spee
Lionel Murton as Mike Fowler, American radio reporter in Montevideo
Anthony Bushell as Eugen Millington-Drake, the British Minister in Uruguay
Peter Illing as Dr Alberto Guani, Uruguayan Foreign Minister
Michael Goodliffe as Captain Henry McCall, British Naval Attaché in Buenos Aires
Patrick Macnee as Lieutenant Commander Ralph Medley, HMS Ajax
John Chandos as Dr Otto Langmann, the German Minister in Uruguay
Douglas Wilmer as M. Desmoulins, the French Minister in Uruguay
William Squire as Ray Martin, British SIS agent in Montevideo
Roger Delgado as Captain Varela, Uruguayan Navy
Andrew Cruickshank as Captain William Stubbs, SS Doric Star
John Le Mesurier as the Chaplain of HMS Exeter
Christopher Lee as Manolo, bar owner in Montevideo harbour
Edward Atienza as Pop, Mike Fowler's gaucho assistant
April Olrich as Dolores (singing voice by Muriel Smith)
Peter Dyneley as Captain John Robison, SS Newton Beech (uncredited)
[img]https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTrHw1GjrcslLB7JOmd_b3TG2X2p-SqXnI2zs72faQBBe_V-Ht7[/img] A more humane portrayl of a German officer
Rank Film Distributors Ltd.
30 November 1956 (UK)
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