A prototype docudrama, still inspiring in its fusion of entertainment and wartime propaganda, produced by Michael Balcon at Ealing Studios and co-directed by Robert Hamer after Frend fell ill. The San Demetrio is an oil tanker, critically damaged by German gunfire in mid-Atlantic and abandoned to the flames by its crew, then heroically salvaged and brought safely home by part of the same crew when they happen on it, still floating, after drifting for three days in a lifeboat. The ship, in fact, becomes a microcosm or a symbol of the war: the ship is Island Britain, almost sunk (Dunkirk), its salvage the Churchillian ethos in action, with all hands pulling together and without a pompous officer chappie ordering people around. There is even an American aboard (Beatty) to make it an Allied victory. A fascinating and rather neglected picture.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Robert Hamer, Charles Frend|