The Riddle of the Sands

  • Film
  • Action and adventure
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First published in 1903, Erskine Childers' novel is one of the great adventure classics of English fiction, a tour de force (long a favourite project of Michael Powell's) in which two eccentric young Englishmen manoeuvre a 30-foot yacht around the North Sea German coastline and stumble on a demonic Hun scheme for the invasion of England. Rank's version is faithful enough, but founders on the considerable production difficulties involved: without the resources of Jaws, how do you portray violent storms, wrecks, sea chases, and the whole eerie desolation of dangerous coastal navigation? Although it works hard for authenticity (locations rather than a studio tank), the film is just too pretty to convey a real sense of danger, and too glossy to capture subtleties of atmosphere and characterisation.

Release details

Duration: 102 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Tony Maylam
Screenwriter: Tony Maylam, John Bailey
Cast: Michael York
Jenny Agutter
Alan Badel
Simon MacCorkindale
J├╝rgen Andersen
Michael Sheard
Hans Meyer