After hubby downloaded this old war drama and kinda forced me to watch it with him, my first thought was to give this movie a pass. Old crap nobody needs. But then I changed my mind. Haven’t I reviewed Ben Hur and Mutiny on the Bounty as well? And can these old master pieces stand against all the new fangled shit from today? Yes, they kinda can if they are well made. So, here we are with a view at the British movie from 1960, Sink the Bismarck.
Chronicles the breakout of the Bismarck during the early days of World War Two. Seen both from the point of view of the many naval vessels on both sides and from the central headquarters of the British where the search for the super battleship was controlled.
We all know how movies were made back in the 50s and 60s: Add a little fiction, and a romance, to an otherwise more or less accurate retelling of historical happenings. Hmm, not that different from today then, is it? Just thinking about Pompeii … 😉
Anyway, StB is just one of those movies. While Captain Shepard (Keneth Moore) and his 2nd officer Anne Davis (Dana Wynter) are fictional characters, I guess most figures of the British Navy and the German high officers Admiral Lütjens (Karel Stepanek) and Captain Lindemann (Karl Möhner) were real existing persons.
Speaking about those German officers, I guess their portrayal is rather naiive and badly researched. I don’t believe that an Admiral or any nazi officer called themselves nazis in speaches to the crew. If anything they referred to themselves and their soldiers as just that: Soldiers or Comrades. When talking about politics they called themselves Natonalsozialisten, not nazis which is a derogatory term their enemies used.
The portrayal of Admiral Lütjens is pretty bad anyway, as he’s not just brash and reckless and overly optimistic, he behaves like a little boy in the toy store. Not much of the dignity of a high ranking officer noticeable in Stepanek’s bad overacting. Lütjens was portrayed somehow more believable but then he was just the driver for the high and mighty admiral.
Enough of that. Who cares about them fukn jerries, eh? The acting through the British ranks was much better but … well, not as refined and nuanced as we know it from good actors of today. They mostly just said their lines like stage actors, which many of them may very well have been. Theater was still a thing back then.
What’s to say about the rest? The drama and screenplay was entertaining enough not to bore us. Production of the battlescenes was very well done, the model ships filmed in a way it wasn’t too obvious. Camera and lights up to date with the movies of that time.
I bet StB wasn’t a cheap production but a major movie, particularly for the British and allied audiences as it showed one of the British navy’s finest hours. Let’s not forget in 1960 the war was only over since 15 years and most of the veterans were still alive and demanding a well-made movie about the most important days in their lifes.
CONCLUSION: Not quite The Longest Day but good stuff for a war movie.
WATCH IT: It’s one of those rainy Sunday afternoon flics they show on the telly, one can watch without developing a brain tumor.
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